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Can Heart Disease Be Prevented and Reversed?

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Can Heart Attacks Be Prevented?

A major global study, conducted by few Canadian doctors, reported in August 2004 that it should be possible to prevent most premature heart attacks, after finding risk factors transcended ethnic and racial divides.

The study found that heart attacks can be predicted by 9 factors that are common to Europeans, Asians, Africans, Arabs, and other ethnic groups and races. As identified by the study, the two most severe factors for premature heart disease were smoking and high abnormal ratio of blood lipids while the other 7 factors were high blood pressure, diabetes, abdominal obesity, stress, a lack of daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, excessive intake of alcohol, and a lack of daily exercise.

A survey of 29,000 people in 52 countries during the study proved that almost all risk factors were similar, could be detected, and therefore could be prevented. This is in contrast with the conventional wisdom that had previously suggested that only half of the risks of premature heart attack could be forecasted.

It is known that if one had already suffered and survived a heart attack, he or she will have a very high risk of getting another. However, the finding from Manchester Royal Infirmary researchers, who tracked nearly 600 patients for a year after they had suffered a heart attack, revealed that having a close relationship may save a heart attack sufferer from another heart attack. The research paper was published in the British Medical Associationís journal, Heart in 2004.

Patients who had a close friend, a relative or a confidant were half as likely to suffer another heart attack within the year, compared to those without any close relationships. This continued to be true even after taking into account the severity of the heart attack and other risk factors.

It was noted that those without good friends or lovers were more likely to drink heavily, smoke and take drugs, but these factors alone did not explain the increased risk. One possibility explanation is that a close friend or partner may make sure a patient seeks treatment early and sticks to it. Factors that increased the risk of recurrent heart attacks included lack of social support. It is believed that people who have no close friend or confidant may react to stress in a more pronounced fashion. This is potentially dangerous because the heart is more susceptible to arrthymias (disrupted rhythms) in the post-heart attack phase.



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