Heart of the Matter Is Prevention

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 29, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Heart of the Matter Is Prevention

Byline: By Professor John Cockroft

Could death from heart disease really become a thing of the past? Professor John Cockroft asks if a report into progress in reducing heart attacks gives hope or hype

THE recent coronary heart disease report by Dr Roger Boyle, highlighting the progress made in reducing death from heart attacks in people under 65 years, is extremely encouraging and is to be welcomed as good news. However, the report should be viewed with some caution as it may not tell the whole story.

We still have huge problems with obesity, high cholesterol levels and smoking in Wales - all factors that increase the risks of heart disease. Every two minutes someone has a heart attack and many patients still die before reaching hospital to receive treatment. Perhaps more worryingly, many of these patients do not know that they are at risk before they suffer a fatal heart attack.

Although, as set out in the report, many more heart patients are receiving life-saving drugs and treatment, it is equally important to stop people developing heart disease in the first place.

Indeed, the figures in the Boyle report referred only to a decrease in the deaths from heart disease and not to a decrease in the incidence of heart disease. This is an important issue as the incidence of heart disease may indeed be set to rise, fuelled mainly by an increase in obesity, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

It would be unfortunate if some people interpreted the Boyle report as suggesting that they did not have to address these risk factors as treatment was always going to bail them out of trouble at the end of the day.

Obesity in particular is a major risk factor for diabetes, a condition which significantly increases an individual's risk of heart disease. If this and other risk factors remain unchecked, then the improved treatment, as outlined in the Boyle report, may not be able to keep pace with an ever-increasing demand, due to more people developing heart disease.

If an individual came home to their kitchen to find a tap running into a sink that was overflowing, the first, and sensible, instinct would be to turn off the tap and then mop up the floor, rather than start mopping up the water and not bother to turn off the tap.

If we focus exclusively on better treatment of heart disease and ignore strategies for its prevention, then we just carry on mopping the water up without turning off the tap. If the tap runs faster, eventually we may not be able to mop all the water and the kitchen will flood.

Already pressure is building behind the dam in terms of increased levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other risk factors leading to heart disease. We therefore need to urgently review the situation before the dam bursts, producing a flood of increased numbers of patients with heart disease.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Heart of the Matter Is Prevention


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?