Catching The Number One Killer: Preventing And Treating Heart Disease | St. Louis Public Radio

Catching The Number One Killer: Preventing And Treating Heart Disease

Feb 6, 2013

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the world.

It is the cause for roughly every one in four deaths, and because of this, doctors and researchers are struggling to discover early-warning symptoms and preventions.

One of the biggest problems for many suffering from heart disease is that they are not aware they have it. There are several examinations, the most common being stress tests, that can help determine how at risk a patient is for encountering a heart attack, but no such test is foolproof in diagnosing the heart condition and alerting patients of its severity.

There are a number of procedures that doctors can carry out for patients diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Prescription medications such as Lipitor are the easiest and most convenient method for dealing with the disease. Recently, medications used for other diseases, such as gout, have had surprising effects targeting problems related to heart disease by reducing the inflammation of arteries within the body. In more immediate cases, coronary artery bypass surgery, stents, and catheter-based artery replacements are performed. Regardless of the prevalence of these procedures though, doctors have not been able to determine which is the most effective.

Host Don Marsh spoke with Andrew Kates, M.D., Cardiologist at Washington University Heart Care Institute at Barnes Jewish Hospital and the Washington University Cardiology Fellowship’s Program Director, and Michael Lim, M.D., SLUCare Cardiologist and Co-Director for the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care at Saint Louis University Hospital.

The two offered insight into recent advancements in the treatment of coronary heart disease and tips for keeping your heart in check. According to Dr. Lim, “90 percent of the risk factors for a heart attack are preventable.”

Both doctors said regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet are keys to preventing heart disease.

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