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Warning Signs

the heart chambers and blood supply.

Ankle Brachial Index—predicts the presence and the severity of peripheral artery disease. The patient’s blood pressure is taken at rest in the arm and in the ankle. A reading under one indicates narrowing of the blood vessel. Donna Mendes, M.D., chief of vascular surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City, also suggests checking the pulse in the groin, behind the knees, and in the leg.

Stress test—provides information on how the heart responds to exertion. It involves walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike at varying levels of difficulty while heart rate and blood pressure are monitored.

Because of the underrepresentation of blacks in heart disease studies, the FDA has mandated greater minority inclusion in clinical trials. Now there are several medications that mitigate the multiple risk factors. One recent trial on heart failure shows that a fixed dose of isosorbide-dinitrate in combination with hydralazine decreased heart failure mortality and increased quality of life. Other medications currently available are designed to raise HDLs (good cholesterol) and lower plaque. Other medications that can help:

Beta blockers lower blood pressure, treat chest pain, and assist in the recovery of heart attack survivors and increases survival rates in patients with heart failure.

ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers lower blood pressure and are very effective in the treatment of heart failure and renal disease. ACE inhibitors also increase blood flow, which helps to decrease the amount of work the heart does.

For other medications, medical procedures, and prevention tips, go to blackenterprise.com.


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