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Half of men, third of women will develop coronary heart disease, study finds

Emergency procedure
A half-million people die each year from coronary heart disease  
January 7, 1999
Web posted at: 8:25 p.m. EST (0125 GMT)

From Reporter Louise Schiavone

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For the first time, medical researchers say they can estimate the lifetime risk of coronary heart disease -- and the results are breathtaking and worrisome for men and women alike.

About one-third of women and fully half of men age 40 or younger are destined to develop coronary heart disease in their lifetimes, according to the results of a study in the British health journal Lancet.

The data came from the Framingham Heart Study, a 50-year examination of more than 7,000 volunteers in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The study also shows that the risks continue for senior citizens.

"If people reached age 70 without having coronary disease, they still had, for men, a one-in-three risk and, for women, a one-in-four risk of developing it subsequently during their lifetime," said Dr. Teri Maniolo, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Every year, roughly 500,000 Americans die from coronary heart disease.

The study "reaffirms the notion that coronary heart disease is the 800-pound gorilla of disease in this country, now and for the foreseeable future," says cardiologist Dr. Stuart Seides.

Researchers and cardiologists say that while cancer, AIDS and other diseases may inspire more fear and funding, coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death and disability in the Western world.

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