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Past gains in reducing risk of heart disease have flattened, women especially affected
Date:11/11/2008

NEW ORLEANS - The positive U.S. health trend documented over the past 30 years of reduction in risk for heart disease is not as strong as is widely perceived - and, in fact, the trend has flattened, according to a new analysis of national data by Mayo Clinic.

This suggests that the public health challenge of curbing heart disease may be greater than is commonly thought, says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., cardiologist and lead researcher.

"This study may surprise people because the data show that the risk of heart disease is not going down as we expected," he says. "The estimated risk in our nation was coming down nicely in the 1980s. Then around 2000 it began changing - the trend lines flattened. While we had done a nice job with lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and stopping smoking, over time the improvement in these risk factors slowed and others like diabetes and obesity emerged, threatening to undo the early progress we made in reducing risk of heart disease. Most of the gains in reducing heart disease risk have been offset by the increased prevalence of diabetes and obesity."

Dr. Lopez-Jimenez presents the findings today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008 in New Orleans.

Significance

The study is the first to suggest that not as much progress against heart disease is being made in recent years, despite the efforts by many organizations to promote healthy lifestyles, and the wide availability and lower price of many cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering drugs. "This is highly relevant to public health because most people think the risk of heart disease is going down steadily and has for the past 30 to 40 years - but our data show something different," Dr. Lopez-Jimenez says. "The fact is that despite all the wonderful things we've done - all the changes in fat consumption, the promotion of exercise, the quitting smoking, treatment of high cholesterol and blood pressure - it do
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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