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How Will You Die? Odds Are It'll Be Cardiovascular Disease

Update Date: Jun 27, 2017 12:11 AM EDT

Eight years ago, as I lay on an operating table minutes away from quadruple bypass open-heart surgery, a single thought went through my head. I looked at the cardiac surgeon and said to myself, "This guy must make a fortune!"

I am sure genetics played a role in my heart attack, but so did my diet and many lifestyle choices.

I am not alone.

A recent report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology states that one-third of all deaths worldwide are from cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2015 alone, 18 million people died of heart and vascular disease.

Dr. Gregory Roth at the University of Washington calls it "an alarming threat to global health."

No area of the world seems immune to the plague of CVD, with Eastern Europe, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia right at the top of devastated populations.

Japan had among the lowest rates of heart and stoke issues, along with France, Israel, Spain, and Peru.

Inroads are being made into better heart health, with improvements shown in wealthier countries over the last 25 years, but even in areas with the best preventative medicine, one-third of all deaths still are from heart issues and stroke. The destruction waged by CVD seems to be egalitarian--it strikes all countries, rich, poor, and everything in between.

The study was massive, with more than 2300 researchers from 133 nations contributing under the aegis of the Global Burden of Disease study.

Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death--mostly by heart attack. In 2015, 7.3 million people die of heart attack, and another 110 million suffered from some form of clogged heart arteries.

In 2015, the latest year for which data was collected, over 9 million people had a stroke for the first time. People are having strokes and heart attacks younger too, everywhere on Earth.

The study will form the basis of national and world-wide health care choices. The data from the GBD group is hard to ignore. This is a modern plague.

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