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Heart Death Rates Worsening for Middle-Aged Adults
Date:11/19/2007

Gains in the 1980s, 1990s have slowed or even been reversed, experts warn

MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The gains made against coronary death rates in recent decades are starting to slip away for middle-aged Americans, public health officials report.

Overall, the picture looks rosy, said a report that used U.S. vital statistics data between 1980 and 2002 for all people aged 35 and older. The death rate from coronary disease fell by 52 percent in men and 49 percent in women.

"In older age groups, the reduction is still going on," said lead researcher Dr. Earl S. Ford, a medical officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, who co-authored the report with Dr. Simon Capewell of the University of Liverpool in England.

But the picture is more bleak for Americans aged 35 to 54.

For men of that age, the average annual rate of death from coronary disease declined by 6.2 percent in the 1980s but only by 2.3 percent in the 1990s. It then dropped at an annual rate of 0.5 percent between 2000 and 2002.

For women between 35 and 54, the average annual death rate from coronary disease dropped by 5.4 percent in the 1980s but then slowed to 1.2 percent in the 1990s. Between 2000 and 2002, the annual death rate for women in this age group actually increased, by 1.5 percent annually.

"What we are seeing reflects experience among the youngest people we looked at," said Ford, whose team published its findings in the Nov. 27 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Things look better when all patients 35 and older are included. On an annual basis, the coronary disease death rate among men 35 and up declined by 2.9 percent a year during the 1980s, 2.6 percent a year during the 1990s and 4.4 percent a year from 2000 to 2002. For all women aged 35 and over, the annual coronary death rate declined by 2.6 percent, 2.4 percent and 4.4 percent annually for those periods, res
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