June 14, 2019

HEALTH: The Real Gender Gap in Heart Disease.

The graph demonstrates that over the last few decades the number of women dying from heart disease has been significantly higher than men dying from heart disease. In the year 2000 alone the gap is the most impressive, with 70,000 more women dying than men. The problem with this chart is that it is completely misleading.

Mortality in this case is best judged by death rates that take into account age and the population at risk rather than the crude number of deaths. The following table assembled from the CDC database for heart disease deaths by gender and age group for the year 2000 paints a more descriptive picture. The number of men dying from heart disease exceeds women in almost every age group. It’s not even close.

The absolute number of men dying in the prime of their lives is staggering. Between the ages of 35 and 64, 92,000 men die every year, which is twice as many men as women, and equivalent to those who died in the Korean War and Vietnam War combined. Even after the age of 75 when more women die than men in total, men die at higher rates because there simply are far fewer men left alive.

My dad died at 41 of heart disease, which taught me the hard way to pay close attention to my health — especially heart health. Everyone should.

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