Heart & Stroke Deaths Plummet

Doctors say improvement is dramatic, but could be short-lived
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 2:54 AM CST
Innovative new treatments are crediting with boosting the survival rate for victims of heart disease and strokes, leading to a dramatic fall in the number of deaths from these causes since 1999.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Deaths from heart disease and strokes have dropped by a quarter since 1999—the biggest decrease on record, reports ABC News. An estimated 160,000 lives have been saved.  "This is the fastest rate of decrease we've seen. It's very meaningful," said a doctor. The American Heart Association credits innovative new treatments like angioplasty, stents and clot-busting drugs—and better prevention—for the big drop.

The number of Americans with uncontrolled high blood pressure is down 16% since 1999, while those with high cholesterol has dropped 19% and smoking has dipped 15%. Doctors warned, however, that with risk factors like obesity and diabetes on the rise, the fall could soon be reserved. Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, and strokes are the third largest cause of death.