Clinical studies, laboratory investigations and a number of surveys show certain personal characteristics and life-styles pointing to increased danger of heart attack (coronary heart disease). These danger signs are called "risk factors". The well established risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus. Other factors that may increase or affect the risk for heart attach are obesity, a sedentary life-style, an aggressive response to stress, and certain drugs.
In the past two decades, millions of Americans have learned about these risk factors and have tried to modify them favorable by seeking medical attention and by changing life-style. Many adults have stopped smoking. The medical control of high blood pressure has greatly improved. The average cholesterol level of the population has decreased continually over the last two decades, probably due to changes in dietary habits and increased exercise.
This attempt to modify risk factors almost certainly has contributed to the declining death rate from heart disease in the United States. During the 1960's, U.S. death rates from heart disease were still rising, but today the incidence from diseases of the cardiovascular system (including coronary heart disease) has fallen dramatically. Overall, heart-related problems have declined about 25 percent in the last decade. Some of this decrease undoubtedly is due to better medical care of heart attack victims, but it is likely that a sizable percentage is related to modification of risk factors.
The entire population has become more aware of the seriousness of heart disease and coronary heart problems. CPR training is offered in schools, places of business, and church and community functions, and everyone seems to recognize that prevention of coronary heart disease is a partnership between the public and the medical community.
These are a number of factors implicated in coronary heart disease. Some of these may raise coronary risk by accentuating the major risk factors already discussed. Others may act in ways not understood. Still others may be linked mistakenly to coronary risk.
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.
Most of the major risk factors are silent. They must be sought actively, 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 disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.
Long-term good health is less an accident than the result of good habits and wise choices.
You can't see radon. And you can't smell or taste it, but it may very well be a problem in your home. It is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year.
If you want to reduce your body fat, focus on increasing the amount of exercise you get rather than decreasing your food intake. A recent national study was done using two groups of sedentary men, one group in their 20's and the other over age 65.
Most smokers sincerely want to quit. They know cigarettes threaten their health, set a bad example for their children, annoy their acquaintances and cost an inordinate amount of money.
When someone is injured or suddenly becomes ill, there is usually a critical period before you can get medical treatment and it is this period that is of the utmost importance to the victim.
Peptic ulcers, which are in the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the intestine leading from the stomach) can occur at any age and affect both men and women. Untreated, sufferers can look forward to a long siege with them.
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 irreversible.
Lead has long been recognized as a harmful environmental pollutant. There are many ways in which humans are exposed to lead and most of the time we may not even be aware of it.
The two groups at greatest risk for AIDS are homosexual or bisexual men and people who shoot drugs.
Hay fever is a chronic condition characterized by sneezing, nasal congestion, runny and itching nose, palate, ears and eyes.