Issues at Heart

By Scott LaFee

October 24, 2018 4 min read

Heart disease and stroke are the top killers in the United States, causing more than 2.2 million hospitalizations and 415,000 deaths in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest available data.

Those cases exact a huge financial toll: $37.2 billion for just that year.

The CDC says part of the price is due to missed opportunities at prevention: 9 million adults aren't taking aspirin as recommended, 54 million smoke and 39 million could benefit from better cholesterol control.

Cancer Catching Up

The risk of death has declined more steeply for heart disease than cancer in recent years. By 2020, cancer is projected to be the leading cause of death in the U.S. It already is in at least 23 states.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the number of new cancer cases in the U.S. is projected to climb from 1.7 million in 2017 to 2.4 million in 2035, largely due to the aging population.

Body of Knowledge

On average, it takes 72 seconds for a mature egg to be pushed out of an ovary. Sperm races to its target at an average speed of 8 inches per hour.

Get Me That, Stat!

Americans are far more likely to be killed by mundane causes than extraordinary ones. According to the CDC, 737 Americans on average die each year falling out of bed.


1 in 4: Ratio of college students who say they've been diagnosed with or treated for a mental health condition within the past year

3 in 4: Ratio who say they've experienced at least one stressful life event in the past year

Source: Depression and Anxiety

Doc Talk

Crump: To physically decline rapidly, as in the patient "crumped" overnight.

Mania of the Week

Rhinotillexomania: Compulsive nose-picking

Life in Big Macs

One hour of cleaning rain gutters burns 340 calories (based on a 150-pound person), or the equivalent of half a Big Mac. However, if you skip the burger, you can celebrate finishing the chore with a caloric equivalent: 4.3 glasses of wine.

Never Say "Diet"

The Major League Eating record for pumpkin pie is 20.8 pounds in 8 minutes, held by Matt Stonie, who squashed the previous record.

Best Medicine

Patient: "Doctor, whenever I get up after sleeping, I feel dizzy for half an hour, and then I'm fine. What can I do?"

Doctor: "Wait half an hour before getting up."


"The word aerobics comes from two Greek words: "aero," meaning "ability to," and "bics," meaning "withstand tremendous boredom." — Humorist Dave Barry

Medical History

This week in 1814, the first modern plastic surgery was performed at the Duke of York's Hospital in Chelsea, England. Having read accounts of ancient Indian procedures, Dr. Joseph Carpue used flaps of forehead skin to repair the noses of two British military officers. One of them had lost his nose to the toxic effects of mercury treatments, and the other's nose was mutilated by a sword.


Q: Where is your skin thickest and thinnest?

A: Generally speaking, it is thickest on the soles of your feet (1.4 millimeters) and thinnest on your eyelids (0.2 millimeters).

Curtain Calls

In 1998, all 11 members of a visiting soccer team were killed by a bolt of lightning during a match being played in the Kasai Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The score was tied 1-1 when the bolt struck the gathered visitors. The home team was unharmed.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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