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Doctors: heart attacks more survivable

June 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
People who suffer their first heart attack are more likely to bounce back now compared to their recovery rates decades ago, according to a new study published in the medical journal, "Circulation."Researchers at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City examined more than 10,000 patients from four separate regions across the nation who had their first heart attacks. They found that heart attacks today are not as deadly and do not cause as much damage as in previous years. Their assessment is based on 20 indicators of severity.

Researchers credit better medications and better medical procedures, including angioplasty and bypass surgeries, that help prevent and repair damage caused to the heart and surrounding arteries. They also credit the public with being more proactive about their health and taking more conscious, preventative measures to fend off heart attacks. Researchers point to more regular blood pressure and cholesterol testing in concert with people making healthier eating choices, taking aspirin and exercising, for the drop in the severity of heart attacks.

The study also calls on health insurance companies to expand their coverage to include preventive measures such as nutritional counseling and gym memberships as part of a nationwide effort to curb heart attacks.

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