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Data compiled from Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2005 Update, American Heart Association. aThe majority of 'Total cardiovascular disease' is derived from 'Diseases of the heart and stroke' which combined account for 91-93% of the total for all groups regardless of race or gender.

b 'Other diseases' includes a variety of disorders that are specific for a given gender and ethnic group. c For Black or African American Males the 'Other' category consists of assault (homicide) 4.7% and HIV(AIDS) 3.7%. dFor Hispanic or Latino Males, the 'Other' category consists of assault (homicide). e For White females, the 'Other' category consists of influenza and pneumonia.

f For Black or African-American Females, the 'Other' category consists of nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis.

recognize that several of these diseases are comorbid contributors to other forms of CVD. In fact, many of these diseases are so intermingled that it becomes difficult to identify one disease as being independent of others. Taken in that context, diabetes mellitus is considered one of the 'potential' major risk factors associated with the development of adverse cardiac or cardiovascular events. With the addition of diabetes mellitus to CVD, the potential for adverse cardiac or cardiovascular events to lead to mortality accounts for 40-45% of all deaths in white males and females and black females.1 Excluding hypertension which is a comorbid factor to many other forms of CVD, coronary heart disease including myocardial infarction is the leading contributor to CVD in the USA followed by stroke and congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases (Table 2). A similar ranking of cardiovascular diseases is seen globally with coronary heart disease and stroke being the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide.9

CVD prevalence is expected to continue to rise in the population so that it will remain the leading cause of both death and disability worldwide with an estimated increase in the number of deaths to 20 million individuals by 2020 and to more than 24 million individuals by 2030.9 These estimates are especially disconcerting when considering the fact that most CVD is preventable through lifestyle modification and drug treatment. Of even greater concern is the alarming worldwide increase in specific major risk factors for CVD that include: tobacco use, physical inactivity, nutrition, blood cholesterol, obesity and overweight, and diabetes.

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