What you need to know to reduce your heart attack risk

According to the Australian Heart Foundation, 55,000 Australians suffer a heart attack each year. While this event is never planned, cardiologist Dr Warrick Bishop looks at how we could be more aware of our risk. Why not read this short extract from his book – Have You Planned Your Heart Attack?

Let’s avoid the first event ...

My objective in this book is to explore how to avoid the first event. When coronary artery disease is diagnosed at the time of the event, the time the patient has chest pain or shortness of breath or a major adverse coronary event, the patient has already developed a ‘disease’. For me, to prevent chest pain or heart attack in the first place, to prevent the development of ‘disease’, is the Holy Grail of preventative cardiology.

Current primary prevention practice is based on risk assessments. I believe this has scope for re-evaluation.

The way we evaluate and calculate risk in individuals is based on observational data. This means that, over the years, databases have been compiled of features and factors found in individuals who have had coronary artery disease. The occurrence of those features and factors then lends weight to their being used as predictors for people before they have an event.

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I have an enthusiasm about, and belief in, the technology of cardiac CT and what it can offer… From a practical as well as a logical perspective, cardiac CT imaging’s contribution to improved patient care is markedly under-utilised. …I believe this book demonstrates that there is ample observational data available to support the up-take of the technology... …the person most interested in being aware of what is available is the patient: YOU! This book has been written specifically to provide information which will allow you, should you be a patient, to engage with your general practitioner and your specialist in a more detailed and robust exchange around what screening, treatment and/or management might be appropriate for you.
Wishing you good health.

Warrick Bishop; from the Epilogue, pages 227-228