New technology predicts heart attacks, but you still have to diet and exercise

September 9, 2018

Warren Willey

Somewhere in the world, while you are reading this short article, someone will have a heart attack. Approximately one in four deaths in the United States is caused by a heart attack. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in both men and women. One would think that such a strong indicator of a possible way out of this world would encourage people to really monitor what crosses their lips and make time each day to move regularly.

As the potential for having a heart attack does not have the power to encourage people to focus on healthy eating and exercise, we can (in at least this one instance) thank technology for a possible solution.

The medical journal The Lancet recently reported that fatal heart attacks may be predicted years in advance based on the analysis of computed tomography (CT) coronary angiograms. It was reported by this international team of scientists that something called the Fat Attenuation Index (FAI), based on CT coronary angiograms, can predict heart attacks. Subjects with abnormal FAIs were found to have up to nine times higher risk of fatal heart attacks within five years. FAI was found to be able to predict fatal heart attacks and thereby provide potential heart attack victims aggressive preventative medical therapy.

While this new technology is certainly exciting and could potentially save several lives, anyone looking forward to this test must be very aware of one thing: aggressive preventative medical therapy means you must eat right and exercise. While new technology is certainly cool and has some great potential, the basics in life must still be at the forefront of health care and disease prevention.

Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at drwilley.com.

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