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Test For Imminent Heart Attacks

Jul 15, 2008
Most of us in the Western world are familiar with both the risk factors for heart attack, and the symptoms. Many of us know at least one person who has had a heart attack, and unfortunately many of us also know somebody who has died of a heart attack. The current prevention measures for heart attacks are to eat a varied diet, get enough exercise, try to reduce stress and restrict your intake of animal fats. However, even people that seem to be in a low risk factor category, or who weren't aware that they suffered heart disease, can experience a heart attack. Scientists in the US have recently made a breakthrough in this area, discovering a test that will help determine if a heart attack is imminent.

Heart attack (which may or may not be related to heart cancer), is also known as a myocardial infarction. This medical condition occurs when a piece of atherosclerotic plaque (a build-up of fats in the major arteries leading to the heart) breaks away and blocks one of the major blood vessels.

Heart disease can currently be diagnosed using an electrocardiogram, which helps visualize where arteries are narrowing. There are also blood tests available for heart muscle cell damage, which would occur following a heart attack when part of the heart's wall is deprived of oxygen for a period. However, these blood tests are post-traumatic diagnoses, meaning that they can only tell if a heart attack has occurred, not if one will occur.

Stress is now recognized to be a major risk factor for heart attacks, and even those who seem to be in quite good health (with minimal abdominal fat, a varied diet low in animal products, and who obtain some regular exercise) can succumb to a stress-related heart attack. Then there are heart attacks which appear out of the blue, with no apparent cause. Daniel Lesesky experienced one of these -a former triathlete who exercised frequently and ate well, and visually appeared to be in great shape, had a heart attack several years ago.

A test developed by scientists at the Cleveland Clinic can now predict which people are in imminent danger of a heart attack. They have discovered that an enzyme known as myeloperoxidase appears at elevated levels in the blood when a blockage in the heart is imminent. The enzyme is produced by white blood cells, the body's defense system against illness. These patients may need bypass surgery, angioplasty, or invasive treatment for a heart attack within the next one to six months. If they do not receive this preventive treatment, many will die.

This test can now be used in conjunction with medical tourism to greatly reduce the numbers of people in the West that die from heart disease. The FDA in the US has approved the use of the myeloperoxidase test, however, the fact remains that many who are at risk of a heart attack do not have sufficient funds to take preventive action. This is where medical tourism can be a literal lifesaver. The cost of some heart surgeries in the US can be up to $100,000 -in countries such as India, Thailand and Israel, it can be as low as $11,000. Doctors in these countries are just as highly trained, but due to lower costs of living generally, medical treatment is less expensive.
About the Author
Bangkok Hospital - 36 years of advanced medical technology and expertise, complemented with Thai hospitality and compassionate care. Includes the world-renowned Bangkok Heart Hospital and specializing in oncology, neurology and orthopedics. Some of the worlds most advanced minimally invasive diagnostics and treatment procedures are in place.
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