Heart attacks are less deadly than they have ever been in the US, a new report reveals.
And the number of Americans admitted to hospital for a heart attack has fallen by nearly 40 percent in the last 20 years, according to the analysis by scientists at Yale University.
Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of men and women of all races in the US, but these historic declines are reason for celebrating public health officials.
This is particularly true because decreasing heart attack and increasing survival rates are the result of a record-poor smoking rate, healthier lifestyle in some populations and uniform application by statin and aspirin doctors, according to an expert.
In 1995, 20 percent of heart attack patients died within 30 days, but that number had plummeted by 38 percent and in 2014 the death rate was only 12 percent, the graph shows
Heart disease kills more people worldwide than any other genetics infection, disease, accident or accident.
But it has been particularly devastating for the American population, where western high-fat meals, high smoking rates and sedentary lifestyles have left our heart health in a gloomy state.
It was a tough fight for health officials and clinicians, but the tide can finally turn, suggests the new study published today in JAMA Network Open.
Since the mid-1990s, hospital admissions for heart attacks for people over 65 have fallen by 38 percent in the US, according to the new analysis of Medicare patient data.
And less than a third of patients die from heart attacks, causing the death rate to fall to a low of 12 percent.
It is not so much that we have made medical breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of heart attacks, says lead study author and Yale cardiologist, Dr. Harlan Krumholz, as it is how doctors and patients use what we already know works.
& # 39; It is really remarkable that in the mid-1990s we had many of the powerful treatments and strategies we needed to prevent heart attacks and save patients & # 39 ;, he says.
& # 39; But they were applied inconsistently. & # 39;
The Nobel Prize was awarded to scientists who discovered that Aspirin helped prevent the formation of blood clots that led to heart attacks in 1982.
Apart from a short 30-day hospitalization (light blue) increase in hospital, you repeat heart attacks within a year and death rates while you have died in the hospital
And statins, revolutionary cholesterol-lowering drugs known to reduce the risk of heart attacks, first came on the market in 1987.
Far before, the milestone report confirming the link between smoking and the cessation of heart disease death was published in the 1950s.
Although the American Heart Association (AHA) did not officially recognize obesity as a risk factor for heart disease until 1997, think link had been shown in a number of studies.
American doctors were well aware of these risk factors, treatments and preventive measures by the mid-1990s, but knowing and doing (consistently) are not the same.
& # 39; In the mid-1990s we didn't learn that smoking or high blood pressure or cholesterol were bad – but we started to get better at it & # 39 ;, says Dr. Krumholz.
In addition to the AHA's recognition of the link between obesity and cardiovascular disease and subsequent counseling, Dr. Krumholz says that the association, government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have become a united front and have given clear guidelines to be followed in all hospitals.
At the same time, hospitals came under closer and more extensive control and received & # 39; report cards & # 39; about how well they provided information to and treated patients at risk or who had a heart attack.
And equally important: & # 39; patients became more sophisticated and aware of risk factors & # 39 ;, says Dr. Krumholz.
It is one thing for doctors to know that people should stop smoking, but a completely different thing for the general population to take that advice to heart.
Mortality from heart attacks plummeted across the country, although some areas, shown in red, saw more dramatic falls, while others suffered more subtle falls (green)
Since the 1960s, smoking rates have fallen steadily and since 2010 this fall has only accelerated.
In 2017, smoking reached a low point in the US.
Dr. Krumholz attributes this to both national and international awareness campaigns and to the initiative of patients to prevent a first or repeated heart attack.
But this change is not universal and does not apply so much to diet and exercise.
Dr. Krumholz says that & # 39; parts of the population who have really embraced the idea of a healthy lifestyle & # 39; have contributed to reducing the number of heart attacks and the number of fatalities.
& # 39; It's hard not to say that it probably makes a contribution … but it is mainly those who are economically disadvantaged and lagging behind.
& # 39; So it is not enough, and that contributes to inequalities, because it divides along economic lines. & # 39;
Obesity remains highest among Americans with low incomes and minorities, but it has continued to climb the population, and that does not predict much good for the health of the country.
& # 39; The progress that has been made is at risk & # 39 ;, says Dr. Krumholz.
& # 39; Obesity and diabetes are increasing and we can see the impact ten years later.
In addition, he adds: & # 39; Many people are worried about vapors – we are making progress on tobacco, which we might lose somewhere else.
& # 39; We must remain vigilant because this progress is not certain for the future, and even what progress we have made can be lost. & # 39;