A shocking fact is that 90% of heart attack victims never survive, no matter what type of resuscitation therapy. Sopranos’s star actor was only 51 years old when he suffered a massive heart attack, unfortunately becoming part of that 90%. Hypothermia could have given him a chance at survival.
What occurs during a heart attack is that plaque or a clot blocks off the flow of blood. This life-sustaining fluid carries with it precious oxygen which allows cells to produce energy to ensure survival. Without this energy, the cells die, the heart starts to beat abnormally and in 9 out of 10 patients, only 1 will survive. That is a pretty bleak success rate for current emergency medical treatment.
Hypothermia therapy during a heart attack slows everything down including the damaging effects. It also reduces brain destruction and death. Hypothermia also helps in the healing process once the attack is over. This is done by slowly lowering the temperature of the body to 90-93 degrees F°. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F°.
Culmination of data over 10 years showed that in over 1 million patients lowering body temperature lowered the risk of death by 12%. This study was published in April, 2012 and presented at the yearly American Academy of Neurology meeting.
Even if it lowered mortality by an addition 2% over the normal 10% survival, the procedure would save 20% more patients than our current standard treatment. In the case of every million that suffer a heart attack, survival would go from 100,000 to 120,000 patients.
In both men and women diseases of the heart are the number one killer throughout the world. 1,500,000 Americans have a heart attack in the U.S. every year. The major risk factors are high blood pressure, poor diet (high saturated and trans fat, excessive calories, high sodium) being overweight or obese, high blood sugar, lack of physical activity, low good cholesterol (HDL), high bad cholesterol (LDL) and smoking.
African-Americans have a 20 fold higher risk of heart disease than whites. Women have heart attacks 10 years later than men (70 versus 60 years of age). Females also have a lower survival rate than men because of more severe damage to the heart.
The cure is the word prevention. Never letting the damage occur in the first place. If you wait till the attack, you can no longer prevent some of the irreversible damage to the heart. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” from the coolest physician from 2,400 years ago named Hippocrates. Following just those 10 words would alleviate most of the risk factors to prevent heart attacks today. The wisdom of the past cycles back to the future again and again.
Quote credit thank you to Mr. Wendell Berry.