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Health News / National News

Tuesday, 13 February, 2007 8:48 PM

EXCLUSIVE: Steps You Can Take to Have a Healthy Heart and Prevent an Attack
by Jason Rzucidlo

Dr. Gerry Maddoux, a cardiologist, reveals new research, tests and treatment options for America’s #1 Killer: Heart Disease.

Maddoux has been studying the heart for over 30 years. The received his doctorate degree from the University of Oklahoma Medical School. He did his training at the University of Colorado. The doctor is now working as an author and a cardiologist in Lubbock, Texas.

“Three decades ago, medical schools thought there were too many specialists. They didn’t plan on all the treatment options we have today, Maddoux said. “Seventy eight million Americans are turning 60 in the next few years. Our health habits are worse.

Heart attacks are the number one killer of Americans. One out of every two men will die of heart-related problems. For women, the number is 1 out of every 2.4 females. However, women are dying of heart troubles at larger rates than ever before. In recent years, women have been smoking more and have become more obese. “It is no longer a man’s disease, the expert revealed.

The cardiologist says Americans have eaten too much saturated fat over the years. Twenty five percent of Americans have metabolic syndrome which later leads to cardiovascular disease, a heart attack or a stroke. The French were the first to notice this abnormality.

There are three risk factors for getting metabolic syndrome. First, if an individual is centrally obese in their abdominal region. Secondly, if the individual’s insulin cells don’t respond properly, they could have the metabolic syndrome. If an individual has high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they could also have the disease.

Individuals that are overweight are more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. “We have become an overweight nation,” the doctor said.

There are a number of things that people can to do prevent a heart attack. First, you should stop smoking. In addition, you would want to begin an exercise program. Start very slow and work your way up gradually.

The cardiologist recommends getting a coronary calcium score. It is an inexpensive test that will check the cholesterol in your heart muscle. If your score is a zero, you have a very slim chance of having a heart attack in the next five years. If it is higher, then a heart attack could be looming.

After you have completed your coronary calcium score, the cardiologist recommends meeting with your doctor. He says you should them begin an exercise program that also includes a decrease in saturated fats. This would include beef, eggs and cheese.

The expert strongly supports the Mediterranean Diet. It is a combination of foods that include fish, goat cheese, nuts, seeds and certain olive oils. It is a “heart healthy diet.” Maddoux says individuals should eat fish two times a week.

If everyone did moderate amount of exercise and ate the proper food choices, it is possible to add 10-15 or maybe even 20 more years to your life.

“After 50, most everyone should take Omega-3s. We can’t make them in our bodies. They stabilize heart rate, prevent plaques from forming,” Maddoux said.

Omega-3s are found in fatty fish but they can also be taken as a supplement. If an individual does not have enough Omega-3s in their body, they are more likely to develop dementia. There is a strong correlation between Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Omega-3s have many benefits for the body. It will slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It will also provide another four or five years of time for people who have already had one heart attack. Individuals who have lots of Omega-3s are less likely to have a second heart attack and also less likely to die of a heart attack.

Another important concept is that of “telomeres.” Every chromosome in our body has one at the end. When our body runs out of these enzymes, cells will divide and get shorter. After a certain age, our body will lose a part of the telomere. When a large part of the enzyme is lost, an individual will die. The expert pointed out that moderate exercise and a proper diet are not the only things that will determine how long you will live. Time is also an important factor and telomeres are the deciding factor.

Congestive Heart Failure is another disease that affects a large number of Americans. Over five million people in the U.S. have this heart problem. It is a condition when water is trapped behind the heart. If it remains there for a long period of time, it could end up in the patient’s lungs and tissue. It will damage the heart muscle. The main reason for CHF is because the left ventricle of the heart becomes stiff and it needs to stretch out.

CHF occurs when the heart muscles loose their elasticity. It increases the pressure that the heart has to work to deliver blood. Patients who have CHF are more apt to have water pushed into their lungs. The disease affects most people between the ages of 50 and 60 but can go on from there.
There are three steps that are used to treat someone with CHF. First, the patient must lower their salt intake. Secondly, they need to take a diuretic or a water pill. The final step in the process is by taking work off the heart with a medication. CHF can be treated in these ways. However, it also can be deadly.

New research, tests and treatments for heart disease

Research suggests that stem cells may provide a cure to some heart problems. “If stem cells grow more heart muscle, you would be on your way. Stem cells could avoid death,” the cardiologist said.

There is a new test available for individuals to check for heart-related problems. The test, called the “C.T. Angiogram,” looks at arteries without inserting a catheter. A doctor will inject a contract agent to let blood vessels stand out during the examination. Maddoux says this procedure is brand new and is not painful at all.

A new drug has been approved by the FDA called “Statins.” The prescription will lower bad cholesterol known as LDL. It will also treat inflammation of the heart. “It’s a dramatic breakthrough. Bigger than bypass surgery,” the cardiologist said.

Maddoux has written a book “Your Heart: Treat It Like You Love It.” It is basically an instruction manual for your heart. The retail price is $30 and it is going on sale on Valentine’s Day, coincidentally.

For more information, visit or the American Heart Association.

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