A somewhat odd article, although not without merit, that our success in reducing the risk of heart attacks means that more of us will live long enough to suffer more drawn out diseases, with poorer quality of life. I am not sure I buy this completely, but it does underline the importance of quality, not just quantity, of life.
Though ideally we’d all live to a great old age and drop dead from a heart attack, to delay such an end through healthy behaviors is likely to prevent such an end in the first place. Eventually, science will offer better treatments for the other diseases that living longer makes us all more likely to contract, but for now, we all have to live with the truth that decreasing the risk of dying from one disease has increased our risk from dying from other, arguably more horrible ones. And though realizing this hasn’t diminished my enthusiasm for helping patients to decrease their risk of dying from heart disease, it does refocus me on the quality of life that such interventions are trying to buy them.
What, then, is the best disease from which to die? Unfortunately, the one we’re the best at preventing.