Cardiovascular disease is considered the leading cause of death worldwide, but rates vary significantly based on the country statistics provided by the World Health Organization. Comparing IHD rates within 22 selected countries in the mid 1990’s, Canada ranked 11th for age standardized mortality rates from IHD overall (women and men) and 12th for women. Worldwide the highest age-standardized mortality rates from IHD in women were found amongst the Russian Federation at 271.6 deaths per 100,000 as compared to 94.5 deaths per 100,000 women in Canada, 33.8 per 100,000 in France and 26.6 per 100,000 in Japan (Japan and France both ranked as the countries with the lowest mortality rates from IHD).
Even though CHD remains the leading cause of death in the western world, the drastic decrease in CHD mortality in these populations in the last two to three decades provides strong evidence that the risks for CHD are in fact modifiable. Although the improvements in medical diagnosis and treatment of CHD have contributed considerably to the decline in mortality, preventive measures (life style and medical management of coronary risk factors) have been estimated to account for the most of the secular decrease in heart disease mortality.