In what is being hailed as a medical miracle, deaths from heart attack and stroke have dropped nearly a third between 1999 and 2006, according to the latest statistics from the American Heart Association. Yet despite gains from better preventive medicine and more effective hospital treatment, one person still dies from cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds. It's the No. 1 killer of men and the third largest killer of women.
Medical experts are concerned that progress against the disease may be undermined by increasing levels of obesity and diabetes. "It's one of the most remarkable achievements of modern medicine to have this kind of decline," said a UCLA cardiologist. "But there is still obviously a lot of work to be done."