DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
Topic: Heart Attack Prevention
Any promising though not yet proven measures that may prevent heart attacks?
I think we have figured out about 60% of the causes
of arteriosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. There is
another 40% of the causes (and theri prevention) that still need to be
established. For example:
- Antioxidant vitamins such
as vitamins C and E theoretically can decrease atherosclerosis. But
clinical trial results have been conflicting, thus more studies need to
be done to determine whether they are effective in preventing heart
- Homocysteine is a waste product from protein. Homocysteine is
probably toxic to the arteries. Patients who have elevated
homocysteine blood levels have higher chances of heart attacks.
Therefore, lowering homocysteine blood levels should theoretically
decrease heart attacks. But controlled clinical trials are needed to
prove that lowering homocysteine will actually prevent heart
- Inflammation or infection
(such as chronic bronchitis due to chlamydia pneumonia that
occur in cigarette smokers) have been shown to increase the blockage of
the arteries and chances of heart attack.
- Genetic factors that we do
not yet understand will cause heart attacks. For example, some people
will develop coronary heart diseases even when the known risk factors
are absent. We also still do not have a full understanding of the aging
process. Even by maintaining low cholesterol, not smoking, maintaining
good blood pressure, and doing all the right things to reduce risks, we
still cannot stop the aging process. Best we can hope for is to delay
it. Aging and genetic factors are areas we need to study to further our
abilities to prevent heart attacks and
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Last Editorial Review: 8/30/2000