Heart disease deaths dropped 30 percent in Canada between 1994 and 2004, likely as a result of fierce campaigns against smoking and bad cholesterol, a study said Monday.
Researchers noted a rapid decline over 10 years in the number of related deaths from 360.6 to 252.5 per 100,000 people, as well as 4,000 fewer people dying from heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction) in 2004 than in 1994 in Canada.
"This could reflect declines in risk factors, such as smoking and increased use of statins to control cholesterol," the study's authors said in a statement.
Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs usually prescribed to patients who have or are at risk of having cardiovascular disease.
The study looked at data from Statistics Canada's national death registry on the cause of all deaths in the country, and at hospital admissions for heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.
From 1994 to 2004, 38.1 percent fewer acute myocardial infarctions, 23.5 percent fewer heart failures and 28.2 percent fewer strokes were reported, it found.
The study, to be published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, noted "improvements across most age and sex groups." But for the first time, more women than men are dying of cardiovascular causes," it said.
The authors also warned that the "findings are not grounds for complacency."
They note that "previous efforts to prevent cardiovascular events have been successful, but in many cases they may have delayed the occurrence of such events until people are older and potentially more difficult to treat."