Heart Health 101

Heart Health 101
In the next hour, 180 people will suffer a heart attack, and one-third of those cases will prove fatal. The Doctors reveal the hidden warning signs of heart failure and the latest technologies that could save your life.


Joining The Doctors in their fifth chair is Dr. P.K. Shah, chief of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Using a plastic model, Dr. Shah explains basic heart functioning. Did you know that this blood-pumping organ beats 100,000 times a day and approximately 35 million times per year? Then the cardiologist shows off an enlarged human heart, which is nearly three times the size of a normal one. Next, The Doctors take you inside the operating room during a triple-bypass surgery at Cedars-Sinai.

Sex and Heart Attacks

Many heart attack survivors say they’re afraid to have sex for fear of dying in the throes of passion. Dr. Travis says that intercourse is relatively safe and can actually be beneficial for your ticker. Dr. Shah concurs, adding that energy expended in the bedroom is the equivalent of climbing two flights of stairs. The flip side is that heart disease patients often have problems with erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. If you’re worried, consult with your physician. 


Kids and Exercise Dangers     

With childhood obesity on the rise, 1.3 million kids are now enrolled in fitness centers. But is it ever too early to start thinking about heart health? Dr. Jim says that patients as young as 3 have experienced hardening of the arteries. Dr. Shah provides an even more frightening example: deposits of cholesterol have been found in the fetus of pregnant women with high cholesterol. Dr. Travis says that kids need to be active, but parents should make it fun, such as incorporating hip-hop dance DVDs or karate classes in their child’s routine.


Heart Attack Warning Signs

The chances of surviving a heart attack decrease by 10 percent for each minute that passes without defibrillation or electrical energy treatments for life-threatening cardiac conditions. Heart attack symptoms aren’t always telltale, like crushing chest pain. Dr. Shah lists several less common indicators, such as pain radiating to the neck, discomfort between the shoulder blades and abdominal pain. Frequently, these symptoms are accompanied by cold sweat, nausea, shortness of breath and feelings of impending doom.


Dr. Travis explains the steps to take if you encounter someone experiencing a heart attack:


• Stay calm and take a deep breath.

Make sure the person is breathing

Check the pulse. If the person is unconscious and has no pulse or air movement, the patient’s heart has stopped.

Using both hands, start chest compressions – 100 times per minute. This generates enough blood flow to keep the brain alive.

Make sure emergency medical personnel are on the way.


With the help of an IStan virtual patient from the METI company, Dr. Travis demonstrates how easy it is to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Each year, the American Heart Association estimates that 40,000 lives could be saved in the U.S. if AEDs were more widely available.


Angioplasty is one type of treatment for heart disease. Using the Angio Mentor from Simbionix, Dr. Travis demonstrates a 3-D view of a catheter being inserted into the heart and clearing up clogged arteries.



Vaccine for Heart Disease?

We’ve heard of vaccines for the flu and the HPV virus, but could there be a shot to prevent against heart attacks? Dr. Shah explains that hardening of the arteries is the most common form of heart disease. His laboratories have been researching a vaccine for low-density lipoprotein – the bad cholesterol – so it will not be deposited in the arteries. Currently, he is testing several vaccines that reduce the amount of cholesterol by 40 to 70 percent in animal studies.


Ask Our Doctors

Chloe from Corvallis, Oregon has an e-mail for Dr. Lisa. Chloe is 11 weeks pregnant and was diagnosed with high blood pressure. She wonders if her condition can be treated without medication. The OB/GYN explains that Chloe has preeclamspia, pregnancy-induced hypertension which involves protein in the urine and swelling. Left untreated, this condition can cause complications such as smaller babies, earlier deliveries and C-sections. Dr. Lisa says that Chloe may have to undergo more frequent ultrasounds and pre-natal visits to monitor her preeclampsia, and she may eventually need medication.

Pamela from North Hollywood, California sends in a video for Dr. Jim. She says her 10-month-old son, Taylor, is teething, and she wonders if it’s safe to give the tot over-the-counter remedies. The pediatrician recommends homeopathic solutions, such as Hyland’s teething gel and tablets. Some other pain relievers include teething biscuits, a cold spoon, a bagel or a Popsicle. 


Melanie from Salem, Oregon has a question for Dr. Ordon. She wants to know how a plastic surgery procedure called lipostructure differs from liposuction. The cosmetic surgeon explains that liposuction is the surgical removal of fat beneath the skin, whereas lipostructure, or a fat grafting procedure, takes fat cells and puts them back in the body where tissue is missing. Dr. Sydney Coleman, the creator of lipostructure, demonstrates by injecting a syringe filled with fat cells into a plastic model. A good candidate for this technique is anyone who desires fullness in a particular body part – such as pouty lips or a stronger jaw line.



Kathy sought plastic surgeon Dr. Coleman’s help when she says a reconstructive breast surgery left her horribly scarred and disfigured. The cameras go inside the operating room to capture the revolutionary lipostructure procedure he performed on Kathy. Two weeks after her operation, Kathy sits in the procedure room with Drs. Ordon and Coleman to update them on her recovery. She says that in a short amount of time, she was able to perform routine chores, go shopping and lift her grandchildren. The grandmother is happy to report that her scars have faded dramatically, and she feels vivacious!

Dr. Coleman’s lipostructure technique not only contours your body, but it can take years off your face! Dr. Travis shows before-and-after photos of a patient. Nearly four years after her surgery, she still retains a youthful appearance. Lipostructure can also give your hands a “lift,” Dr. Travis says. He displays a before picture of a gnarled hand. Eight years later, the same hand has maintained its smooth texture with lipostructure.




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OAD 11/28/08