When large changes take place in the health of a population, it is up to the epidemiologists to figure out if it is medicine that’s doing a good job, or if people just stopped eating rat poison. A new retrospective study in the New England Journal of Medicine addresses this problem, presented by the fact that between the years of 1980-2000, deaths due to coronary heart disease have decreased by 341,745 per year.
Here is a section of the abstract from the article:
Results From 1980 through 2000, the age-adjusted death rate for coronary heart disease fell from 542.9 to 266.8 deaths per 100,000 population among men and from 263.3 to 134.4 deaths per 100,000 population among women, resulting in 341,745 fewer deaths from coronary heart disease in 2000. Approximately 47% of this decrease was attributed to treatments, including secondary preventive therapies after myocardial infarction or revascularization (11%), initial treatments for acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina (10%), treatments for heart failure (9%), revascularization for chronic angina (5%), and other therapies (12%). Approximately 44% was attributed to changes in risk factors, including reductions in total cholesterol (24%), systolic blood pressure (20%), smoking prevalence (12%), and physical inactivity (5%), although these reductions were partially offset by increases in the body-mass index and the prevalence of diabetes, which accounted for an increased number of deaths (8% and 10%, respectively).
Conclusions: Approximately half the decline in U.S. deaths from coronary heart disease may be attributable to reductions in major risk factors and approximately half to evidence-based medical therapies.
It’s comforting to know that all the stents and interventional treatments we’re throwing around seem to be helping, but then again, statistical analysis has a way of turning around and biting you in the.. back (i.e: Avandia).
Read the article here…