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Health Notes (3)

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans, yet most people do not know how to recognize a heart attack, a key to surviving it. There are some symptoms that differ in each gender, and some that are seen in both men and women, says Dr. Prediman Shah, director of the Division of Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He says classic symptoms include: Squeezing chest pain or pressure; shortness of breath; sweating; tightness in chest; pain spreading to shoulders, neck or arm or jaw; feeling of heartburn or indigestion with or without nausea and vomiting; and, sudden dizziness or brief loss of consciousness. Symptoms more likely to be experienced by women include: indigestion or gas-like pain; dizziness, nausea or vomiting; unexplained weakness or fatigue; discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades; recurring chest discomfort; sense of impending doom. If you experience these symptoms or see someone else do so, call 911 as soon as possible, doctors advise.

When you feel the symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 for help while there is still time to minimize damage to the heart. Dr. Prediman Shah of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center cautions against wasting time trying to reach your own doctor and urges dialing the emergency number instead. In the first few hours after an attack, you run a high risk of developing irregular heartbeats, called sudden fatal arrhythmia, and only ambulances with fire department personnel or paramedics are equipped to revive you should your heart suddenly stop beating. As soon as the call is made, chew one aspirin. "Most heart attacks are caused by blood clots in the arteries, and aspirin reduces the growth of these clots," Shah says. If the patient is not breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. Once at the hospital, doctors will quickly diagnose the problem and attempt to get the blocked artery opened as quickly as possible, Shah says.


Chronic fatigue syndrome, a serious medical problem, is marked by severe and relentless tiredness and at times flu-like symptoms, pain and memory problems. The cause remains unknown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the disease affects up to a half-million Americans. There is no cure, but practitioners of oriental medicine say they have several techniques to manage the symptoms, provided they are administered by a licensed acupuncturist. A combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and lifestyle changes including diet, exercise, rest and meditation can be used to strengthen the immune system and revitalize the body, scientists say.

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