New Therapy For Heart Attacks

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New Therapy For Heart Attacks


New drugs can stop or limit the damage of a heart attack, but only if
the patient gets help immediately, experts say. Once the flow of blood to a
portion of the heart is blocked for several hours, the damage is

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack, which can be wide-ranging and
confusing, is extremely important. So is knowing risk factors, such as
obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and family history.

Typical symptoms of a heart attack include a crushing pain in the
chest, sweating, difficulty breathing, weakness and pain in the arms,
particularly the left. Symptoms one could attribute to something else can
cause devastating delays in seeking treatment. These include feelings of
indigestion, back shoulder and neck pain and nausea. Early signs of trouble
may appear during physical activity and disappear with rest. Any numbness of
tingling of the fingers or toes, dizziness, shortness of breath or difficulty
in breathing should not be ignored.

Clinical studies, laboratory investigations and a number of surveys
show certain personal characteristics and life-styles pointing to increased
danger of heart attack. These danger signs are called "risk
factors." These well established risk factors are high blood pressure,
high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.Attempts at
modifying risk factors most certainly have contributed to the declining death
rate from heart attacks in the United States.

During the 1960's, U.S. death rates from heart attacks were still
rising, but today's figures show that heart attacks have fallen dramatically.
And, overall, heart-related problems have declined about 25 percent in the
last decade. This decrease undoubtedly is due to better medical care of heart
attack victims, but it is likely that a sizeable percentage is related to
modification of risk factors.

Medical technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate. More
drugs and medical technology are available than ever before and the entire
population is now more aware of the seriousness of heart attacks. There has
been an increased interest in learning CPR and many community organisations
now offer this valuable training. Of particular concern by doctors and
researchers is the role that the American diet plays in the health of one's
heart. Obesity predisposes individuals to coronary heart disease. Some of the
reasons for this are known, but others are not. The major causes of obesity
in Americans are excessive intake of calories and inadequate exercise. When
caloric intake is excessive, some of the excess frequently is saturated fat,
which further raises the blood cholesterol. Thus, obesity contributes to higher
coronary risk in a variety of ways.

Many of the major risk factors for a heart attack are silent and much
of the responsibility for their detection lies with each of us as
individuals. Regular checkups are particularly necessary if there is a family
history of heart attacks of heart disease, high blood pressure, high
cholesterol levels or diabetes.

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