A hundred years ago, before Americans changed their diet and the calamitous events of the 20th century began, heart disease was far less common that it is now. Few Americans were overweight, and coronary heart disease was not yet recognized as an illness. Pneumonia, diarrhea and enteritis, and tuberculosis were the three most common causes of death, whereas coronary heart disease is now the most common cause of death in the United States. The medical subspecialty of cardiology was created in 1940. Since then the number of cardiologists in the U.S. has grown from 500 in 1950 to 30,000 now – a 60-fold increase.
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