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AHA Publishes 2006 Update on Cardiovascular Statistics

Heart disease still number one killer in United States

MONDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Apart from the 1918 flu epidemic, heart disease has been the number one killer in the United States every year for more than a century, and was an underlying cause in 37.3% of all deaths in 2003, according to the American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2006 Update.

Diabetes, obesity and untreated high blood pressure continue to be public health problems, but the quality of care and chances of survival after myocardial infarction have improved. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005 found that 95% of acute heart attack patients received aspirin therapy at admission and discharge, 91% and 93% received beta-blocker drugs at admission and discharge, respectively, and 84% of smokers received counseling to help them quit.

The American Heart Association does not generate the data that appears in the report, but synthesizes the data from many sources. The Update is free and is now available on the American Heart Association's Web site at An expanded version will be published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and will be available online in early January at

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