Will Heart Disease, Cancer, and Dementia Disappear?

 
posted on: July 12, 2016    |    by: Nina Tarnay

Heart disease deaths down 60% since 1970[1].   Cancer occurrences off 23% since 1991[2].    Dementia rates falling 45% since the late 1970s[3].  What’s behind all this good news[4]?  Surprisingly, scientists aren’t entirely sure.  There are many well-understood health trends at play but even working together, these influences don’t fully explain the situation.

 

  • Early detection. Improved screening technologies and better protocol compliance explains much of colon cancer’s 50% reduced mortality rates.
  • Bigger bodies. Weak bones are known to increase the probability of hip fractures.  Today’s heavier bodies mean stronger bones and fewer breaks.
  • Cardiovascular health. Lower cholesterol and well-controlled blood pressure mitigate heart attacks and strokes as well as reduce dementia rates.
  • Advanced medications. Infectious disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease – all have been beaten back with safer, more effective and targeted drugs.
  • The United States’ smoking population has dropped from 42% in the 1960s to just over 16% today, dramatically cutting the incidence of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and a host of other diseases.

 

For more information, check out the New York times article linked below.

 

[1] http://news.heart.org/progress-against-heart-disease-stroke-reflected-in-latest-statistics/

[2] http://pressroom.cancer.org/Cancer-Stats2016

[3] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1504327#t=articleDiscussion

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/upshot/a-medical-mystery-of-the-best-kind-major-diseases-are-in-decline.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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