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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 18 years

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Why do not more people get strokes and heart attacks?

I saw a programme about the genesis of a stroke - clogged arteries and a piece detaching etc - but I thought : yes, but why don t more people get these strokes than the amount that do, if you see what I mean. Most people (in the UK anyway) have lots of atheroschlerosis - plaque in the arteries - but only a minority get strokes and heart attacks. The question of why not interests me. Hope I m asking this in the right place...
Mon, 14 Dec 2009
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  User's Response
Since the stroke or heart attack may be a terminal event, you just won't see them anymore. Also they may become bedridden and are not out and about as much. Since it takes 30-50 years to clog the arteries enough to cause a stroke or heart attack, it is not common in the average persons life. Go to a hospital or convalescent home. You will see many people with these conditions. The standard ways of lowering the risk of atherosclerosis are helpful, diet, wt loss, exercise, stay off eggs, butter, meat, etc. plus stop smoking are good to do but not very successful. There are two meds that lower cholesterol. Statins that block the production of cholesterol in the liver, and Zetia that blocks the uptake of cholesterol from the intestinal tract. Since 'normal' cholesterol is about 200mg and almost 1/2 the people dying in the USA are dying from clogged arteries, I see 200mg of cholesterol as a lethal level. In countries where the people do not have clogged arteries have a 'normal' cholesterol of 75-125, so it makes sense to get the cholesterol down to that level. The most reliable method, if the above tactics do not work, which commonly they do not, is to take the combination of a statin and Zetia. I have done this for the last 3 years and my cholesterol level has gone from 210 to 108mg. There may be a possibility that the clogging may be reversible also. These meds may be able to rid our societies of the bulk of the heart attacks and strokes.
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