Most of us have known someone who has been stricken with cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death, accounts for 51 percent of total deaths each year.
Cancer, the second leading cause of death, accounts for another 20 percent of all deaths each year.
In 1900, infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, were the leading causes of death. Today there are
effective treatment and prevention measures for infectious diseases and people are living longer.
Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are usually chronic, that is they develop over long periods of time.
Therefore they are more commonly seen in middle and old age.
The heart muscle, like other body tissues, needs an ade-quate supply of blood to stay alive. If a blood
clot in a narrowed artery blocks the flow of blood to part of the heart muscle, a heart attack occurs. The
section of heart muscle that does not receive blood begins to die.
However, the condition that leads to an attack, coronary artery disease, develops over a long period of
time.Often the symptoms of heart attack are confused with those of indigestion. Signs of a heart attack
include uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest, and sometimes in
the arms and shoulders, lasting for two minutes or more. Sweating, dizziness, nausea,fainting, or
shortness of breath may also occur. Then the heart is no longer pumping blood effectively. If this
happens, CPR(CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION ), should be administered immediately
Many people deny that they are having a heart attack and think, "This can't be happening to me."
Without proper treatment, most people who die of heart attacks die within hours of the first signals.
Last year, 350,000 died berore reaching the hospital. Many could have been saved if te had reached the
hospital in time.
Treatment for heart attacks may include drugs, surgery, and physical therapy. lf a person survives a
heart attack, the healing process begins almost immediately. Scar tissue begins to form and gradually
replaces the destroyed heart muscle. Small arteries bordering on the damaged area enlarge to provide a
sufficient supply of blood to the heart.
The time necessary for recovery from a heart attack de-pends on the extent of the damage. Victims of
heart attacks have a good chance of returning to normal life. Overwork, tension, worrying, emotional
episodes, lack of rest, excess weight, and smoking must be avoided. Many who have heart attacks never
have second ones because they learn to IIve a healthy lifestyle. As soon as the critical period is over, the
doctors recommend a supervised gradual return to moderale physical activities, such as walking,
jogging, or swimming.