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In the last 35 years, declining deaths from heart disease have translated into 13 million lives saved and extended. Medical treatments and lifestyle changes have dealt successfully with the serious heart problems of US Vice President Richard Cheney, talk show host David Letterman, and countless other less famous people. In the past, those with serious heart disease would have died young, but today can live a long and active life. Few families have not benefited from improvements in the way we treat and prevent heart problems. Yet, we often hear that poor lifestyles and the limitations of modern medicine threaten our health and well-being. Although room for improvement always remains, this book demonstrates the contrary - that we have made and continue to make tremendous progress in dealing with heart disease. In reviewing the progress in dealing with this crucially important area of health, Pampel and Pauley's book offers an optimistic view of the potential for continued improvement and for longer, healthier lives. Despite the prevalence of heart disease, deaths have declined greatly in past decades.
From its peak in 1968, the heart disease mortality rate has fallen by 52 percent for men and 48 percent for women. That translates into over 13 million lives saved and extended.
Fred C. Pampel is Professor of Sociology and Epidemiology Research Associate at the University of Colorado Institute of Behavioral Science Population Program. He has written eight books, including the International Handbook of Old-Age Insurance (Praeger, 1991). Seth Pauley is a copywriter for Facts on File in New York City, and a freelance writer.