Five. That's how many heart attacks former Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has suffered.
"Vice-President Dick Cheney is a great example. He knew his symptoms and he presented for medical care very early and that's what we try to tell patients."
Washington adventist hospital cardiologist, Dr. Mark Turco, says what happened to Dick Cheney is becoming more common, especially among men.
He says he sees it all the time at his practice -- patients like 77-year old James Starnes.
"You'll probably nominate me for poster child for heart disease."
That's because Starnes had his first heart attack at age 40 -- a second at 45. Then he suffered cardiac arrest at 61. He underwent a six way coronary bypass operation, had a defibrillator put into his heart, then went through three bouts of congestive heart failure.
"In time, after you have enough experience as I have, you know what it is. And then you know what to do."
Dr. Turco says that's the key to survival -- knowing your symptoms and getting treatment quickly.
And he believes more people are doing just that.
One recent study by the centers for disease control reported that the death rate for cardiovascular and stroke deaths was down 25-percent over the last decade.
"We've had some great innovation. Innovation and new devices and new technologies, innovations in medicines. And so that has really helped us to allow patients to live longer."
But while men with heart disease seem to be living longer, Dr. Turco says women's survival rates are still lagging.
"Once they get into the hospital, there are certain studies that still show that women have worse outcomes than men because a lot of times again, their symptoms are not taken as seriously."
One study done by doctors at New York University found that in the first month after a heart attack, nearly 10-percent of women die. For men, it was more like five percent.
Those researchers say it was because most women who have heart attacks tend to be older and often have other medical conditions like diabetes. And sometimes their symptoms aren't identified soon enough.
For Starnes, he says innovation and quality care have kept him alive.
"I've heard that if I get to the right people in time, the cardiovascular team, they patch me up and I'm as good as new, almost."