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Heart disease deaths up for women, down for men.
The study was done by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Control and Prevention and Britain's University of Liverpool. They looked at U.S. vital statistics for artery-related deaths in adults ages 35 and older for the years 1980 through 2002, the most recent year for which data was available when the analysis was done.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing almost 700,000 Americans each year.
When they compared age groups, they detected the worrisome difference. The study found the death rate for women ages 35 to 44 rose from 1997 to 2002, when the rate was 8.2 per 100,000 women, the highest it's been since 1987.
In actual numbers, the increase amounts to roughly 100 added deaths a year of women in that age group. That's a relatively small impact in the entire U.S. population.
Still, the results are statistically significant and a legitimate cause for concern, said Dr. Wayne Giles, director of the CDC's division of adult and community health.
"That's like an Jumbo Jet full of women crashing every year," .
The rates for men age 35 to 44 were relatively stable in the last few years of the study period. The rate was 26 deaths per 100,000 men in that age group in 2002.
For all ages, the female death rate fell to 261 to 514 per 100,000; the male rate fell to 430 from 898 per 100,000.
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