Heart Disease & Stroke - Progress (cont.)
MRI promises to provide a way to detect people at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke and to initiate treatment to stabilize the plaques and reduce the chance that a blood clot will form.
5. Heart cells recover thanks to left ventricular assist
6. Tobacco's effects from fewer than 10 cigarettes daily.
7. Impact of diet and exercise on blood cholesterol levels.
A low-fat diet effectively lowered the abnormally high LDL levels in people who have inherited what is called the E-4 variant of apolipoprotein E, a genetic variant that is typically associated with high LDL. About 15 percent of the population have the E-4 variant.
A low-fat diet was also effective in people who have a form of LDL that is called "pattern B." People with "pattern B" LDL characteristically have abnormally low levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL), which can rise to normal as a result of diet. About 25 percent of the population have "pattern B" LDL.
Diet should therefore usually be tried first before cholesterol- lowering drugs because diet can be effective in many people, especially those at particularly high risk. To lower LDL level, exercise should be added to the diet. Increased physical activity enhances the effects of a low-fat diet in reducing LDL levels. Exercise and diet should ideally be paired.
8. Education of people with heart symptoms to go to the emergency
A study was conducted in 20 cities in the U.S. Half of the cities were sites of the community education campaign. In the remainder, the educational program was not conducted. In the cities with the education, more people with heart attack symptoms came to the emergency department. There also was a 10 to 15 percent increase in the number of people choosing to call Emergency Medical Service. In most U.S. cities, one-half to two-thirds of those with possible heart attack arrive in the emergency room by other means than by Emergency Medical Service, a particularly dangerous situation.
9. Epidemic of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The new age-adjusted death rates have been adjusted to the age- distribution of the U.S. population in the year 2000, replacing the old standard that was based on the age-distribution of the 1940 population. The U.S. population in the year 2000 has more older people than the 1940 population. As a result, heart disease and stroke death rates adjusted to year 2000 are much higher than those adjusted to 1940 standard.
10. Nobel Prize for the discovery of nitric oxide (which relaxes
Nitric oxide, a colorless gas, makes blood vessels dilate (widen)
by relaxing the muscles in the vessel wall. Nitric oxide is therefore
a key component in blood pressure. Levels of nitric oxide normally
rise when someone is in a stressful situation. A lack of nitric oxide
in the bloodstream, or a lack of reactivity by the blood vessels to
nitric oxide, can narrow the vessel, thus raising the blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for both heart disease and
Last Editorial Review: 2/1/2005