Although death rates from heart disease have generally been dropping, more women under the age of 45 are dying, according to the latest research. While the number of deaths is very small—100 more a year in women 35 to 44 years old—health experts worry that the trend shows the impact of increasing obesity and diabetes.
"I view this as a wake-up call that there is a very important segment of our population that needs attention," said the editor of the American Journal of the College of Cardiology, which published the study. The good news is that among everyone over age 35, the mortality rate from blocked arteries was cut in half from 1980 to 2002, the most recent statistics available. Deaths of men under 45 have leveled off.