Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on May 12, 1974 · Page 156
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 156

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 12, 1974
Page 156
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Page 156 article text (OCR)

predictor of future coronary disease. Very well substantiated data indicate that coronary events are from six to 20 times more frequent in people with abnormal responses to stress testing." Dr. Albert A. Kattus, chairman of the American Heart Association's Committee on Exercise, cites one of many convincing examples. Of 310 insurance underwriters who volunteered for stress testing, 30 were found to have ECG abnormalities. In the 2Vs years since then, 10 of these have already suffered coronaries. Not one of the 28fJ who "passed" the stress test had one. That doesn't mean that if you pass the test you have an ironclad guarantee against heart attack--some 10 percent of potential problems do not show up on the test. It does mean, however, that the odds are excellent that your cardiovascular health is good. Potential stroke victim Stress testing not only picks up incipient coronary artery disease, but latent stroke dangers as well. A woman patient registered normal blood pressure at rest, but shortly after her treadmill exercise test began, her pressure soared to a too-high 200. Exercise testing is equally valuable in ruling out suspected coronary artery disease. An engineer was referred to Dr. Fox after three different emergency admissions to a hospital coronary care unit with severe chest pains. "By that time," recalls Dr. Fox, "he had become a psychic cripple, afraid of losing his job and his life, afraid to do anything for fear of a recurrence. We stress- tested him slowly and carefully, exercising him up to a level that amazed us and him--a very robust 190 heartbeats per minute, without any indications of heart disease. He left with apprehensions erased and a whole new Dr. William S. Caultiere, a physiologist, takes the patients blood pressure, while the device in his mouth registers the rate of his oxygen consumption. outlook on life. He's been fine ever since." Symptoms that should bring you in for a stress test include shortness of breath, an occasional squeezing sense of pressure in walking up stairs or during sexual intercourse or stress, and extra heartbeats or palpitations. Even if your symptoms have been diagnosed as "nervous tension" or "indigestion," a test is warranted to verify the absence of heart disease. One young man in his 30's was told his angina pains were "nerves" for two years. A stress test sent him to heart surgery--and a new lease on life. Particularly recommended for stress testing are adults of any age with .one or more of the most common risk factors spelled out by the American Heart Association: a history of heart disease in the family, high blood pressure, diabetes, high lipid levels, overweight, high-pressure life style. Stress testing makes sense for weekend athletes who plan to go on an exercise kick, take up The ordinary resting ECG, in which patient can have a normal reading and still be headed for trouble. Says internist Irving M. Levitas: "You have to test a heart like a car --take it out on the highway and let it ping." tennis, jogging, or whatever. "If you're going to significantly increase the demands on your heart," says Dr. L Loring Brock, director of the Colorado Heart Association's Rehabilitation Unit, ."you should first make certain you can meet the demands safely. "Unfortunately," says Dr. Brock, "testing is often the end rather than the beginning of treatment Many test centers and doctors do not include in the report specific advice for exercise programs to improve cardiovascular health. Just telling a patient to exercise is not enough." Adds Dr. Herman K. Hellerstein of Case-Western Reserve Medical School: "Exercise should be prescribed with the same'precision as any other powerful therapeutic modality, like surgery or medication." The best facili- ites, he feels, are those which "determine exactly the condition of the individual's heart, and then recommend specific periods, frequencies and intensities of exercise to strengthen it." In addition, patients should be urged to reduce the other risk factors--things like obesity and high cholesterol. A personal prescription Such centers as Cardio-Metrics, the many affiliated offices of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centers (CPR) of Harrisburg, Pa., and the Cooper Clinic In Dallas, Tex., run by Aerobics author Dr. Kenneth Cooper, do just that. An individualized program is prescribed for each patient, built around the kinds of activities he or she prefers --walk-jog-run, swimming, biking, etc. --geared to his cardiovascular capacity, and designed to gradually extend it. Motivation is all, and Dr. Frank Jackson, medical director of CPR Centers, sees plenty of that. "An abnormal test result really staggers a guy," says internist Jackson. "No pretending now that it can't happen to you. But the exercise prescription offers hope for improvement, and people become aggressively concerned and involved in changing their life styles. Three months of training makes a tremendous difference, and they see it on the retest--that improvement in ECG response. They generate their own antidepressant medicine." Not just medicine The benefits of exercise are many. In Sweden, it is claimed, a heavy national emphasis on exercise has extended the life of the Swedish male 3.7 years beyond that of his American counterpart. But talk to enthusiastic Americans who've been on exercise programs after stress testing and you get the feeling they're planning to close that gap, and go far beyond it. Says a 57-year-old New York manufacturer with a history of high blood pressure, now back .to normal: '-'I feel better mentally and physi- continued

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