September 25, 2009

If you have a heart attack,
this unknown test
could save your life

Heart attacks remain the number one killer of Americans. You can prevent heart attacks easily by reading and following the information you read in these pages. However, if you do get symptoms of a heart attack (chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling of dread, etc.), it's vital your doctor know if what happened is really a heart attack.

When you go to the hospital thinking you've had a heart attack, you'll go through multiple tests in the ER. These include EKG and cardiac enzymes. However, sometimes, even these tests are not enough. A new test is available that picks up "missed" heart attacks.

Troponin is a protein found in heart cells. If you have a heart attack it damages these cells. This damage causes them to leak out into your blood. There, your doctor can measure the protein in your blood. Use of this blood test could help doctors pick up an additional 25% of heart attacks missed by conventional EKG and blood tests.

You might ask why this is so important when I'm not a fan of hospitals. There's a time and place for everything, including the modern hospital. Trauma is one. Heart attacks are another. Many people with heart attack die, not because of pump failure, but from electrical disturbances. Your doctor must monitor this closely during the first three days, when the disturbances are most common. The good news is that unlike pump failure, you can both prevent and treat these electrical disturbances.

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So, it's most important to know if you've really had a heart attack. If you did, and the ER couldn't diagnose it, they may send you home, where you could collapse soon after from a rhythm problem. If you suspect you've had a heart attack, please ask your doctor for a troponin test. It could save your life

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Ref: Harvard Medical School, July 07, 2009.

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