AEHA Encourages Families to Give Dad a Heart Attack Risk Assessment Test as Father's Day Gift

Since over 250,000 healthy-looking fathers will experience an unexpected heart attack by next Father’s Day, the Association for Eradication of Heart Attack (AEHA) is urging American families to use Father’s Day as an opportunity to help their Dad avoid a heart attack.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) June 11, 2005 -- Since over 250,000 healthy-looking fathers will experience an unexpected heart attack by next Father’s Day, the Association for Eradication of Heart Attack (AEHA) is urging American families to use Father’s Day as an opportunity to help their Dad avoid a heart attack.

AEHA suggests giving a heart scan or a scan of the carotid artery as a gift. The organization also is calling on hospitals, clinics and physicians to offer Father’s Day specials with discounted rates.

“Perhaps the best Father’s Day gift of all would be a brief conversation with Dad to encourage him to ask his doctor about his heart attack risk, and sign him up at a local gym or wellness center,” said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, founder of the AEHA and Chairman of the National SHAPE (Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education) Task Force. “I can’t think of a better way to let Dad know how much he means to the family and how much he would be missed.”

Modeled after successful screening efforts in cancer care, but expected to deliver even a greater benefit, the National SHAPE Program encourages all men 45-75 years and women 55-75 years to undergo screening to assess their coronary plaque volume or carotid wall thickness. These two tests have shown to be strong predictors of heart attack and stroke.

The AEHA’s SHAPE initiative is campaigning for the early detection and treatment of the Vulnerable Patient (those at risk of a heart attack in the near future). A coronary calcium scan (also called a heart scan) and a carotid scan (also called Carotid IMT) can help identify the Vulnerable Patient.

“A Vulnerable Patient is much like a walking time-bomb,” said Dr. Harvey Hecht, a preventive cardiologist member of the SHAPE Task Force and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “It is tragic that Medicare and private insurers pay tens of thousands of dollars for expensive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures after a heart attack strikes, but are reluctant to pay for these relatively inexpensive tests to prevent a heart attack. Until the government and insurance companies wake up to the life-saving value of screening tests for prevention of heart attack, we are calling on American families to invest in their loved ones’ health.”

A heart coronary calcium scan or carotid scan can be as inexpensive as $200. AEHA urges physicians and diagnostic clinics to lower their price below $200, so that more American families can benefit from these life-saving tests.

“Moms and Dads should not wait to have symptoms before they have their hearts checked. When symptoms of heart attack such as chest pain strike, in some cases it’s already too late,” said Dr P.K. Shah, a UCLA professor and director of the Cardiology division at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and chief of the Editorial Committee of the SHAPE Task Force. “Prevention of heart attack must be the primary goal; treatment after the disease strikes may be like locking the barn door after the horse is out.”

“We have had a sea change in our knowledge of what causes heart attack, yet our practice of preventing heart attack has not kept apace. The time has come to take advantage of the new knowledge and technology,” said Dr. Erling Falk, professor of Pathology at Arhus University in Denmark and coordinator of the Writing Group of the first SHAPE Task Force report.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death among men. Unfortunately, current guidelines for detecting those susceptible to heart attacks fail to identify many high-risk individuals. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 88 percent of heart attack victims would have been considered low to moderate risk by current national guidelines if they had been evaluated the day before the event, and sent out of the office without proper treatment. AEHA urges you to be sure that your father is not one of those victims!

About AEHA
Originated from the Texas Medical Center in Houston, the AEHA is a non-profit organization that promotes education and research related to mechanism, prevention, detection and treatment of heart attacks. The organization is committed to raising public awareness about recent revolutionary discoveries that revealed arteriosclerosis (fat build-up in the arteries) as an inflammatory disease and opened exciting new avenues to prevent heart attack including vaccination strategies. The AEHA's mission is to eradicate heart attacks before the end of the century. Additional information is available on the organization's Web site at http://www.vp.org or http://www.AEHA.org .

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/6/prweb250042.htm