Viewpoint on Heart Disease and Public Health
Ischaemia is derived from the Greek “ischein”, which means “to hold back” and “haima” which means “blood”. The “holding back of blood” from tissues that are vital to physiologic function causes them to undergo a degenerative death (necrosis) and thus become an infarction. If the tissue involved happens to be the myocardial musculature of the heart, then cardiac arrest (a cessation of the heart beat) is a likely consequence of ischaemia of the coronary arteries, and subsequent death is not an uncommon occurrence. Now, it is true that recent statistics in the United States have revealed a 25 percent decline in deaths due to coronary heart disease for the period 1968–1979, and this is certainly very encouraging news. However, this news is somewhat misleading in the sense that only the death rate attributable to coronary heart disease is down, not the incidence of this dreaded affliction. Quite to the contrary, as a result of significant improvements in screening and diagnostic procedures, more and more people who have cardiovascular problems that might otherwise have gone undetected in years past are now being identified and treated.
KeywordsCoronary Heart Disease Heart Attack Decline Death Rate Cardiovascular Problem Subsequent Death
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