Monday, December 15, 2008

Heart attack - get checked after age 45

Health experts are urging men in their 40s and even younger to have their hearts checked, following the weekend death of former All Black John Drake. Drake, a television rugby commentator and Herald columnist, collapsed and died of a heart attack at his Mt Maunganui home on Saturday. He was 49. "It's quite unusual for people under 50 to 55 to have heart attacks," University of Auckland researcher Professor Rod Jackson said yesterday. "Heart attacks before the age of 75 or 80 are almost entirely preventable - don't smoke, eat right and do some exercise." The rate of heart attacks under 65 was more than three times higher among men than women, although the gap subsequently narrowed, probably as the effects of the hormonal changes of menopause caught up with women. He said everyone should avoid food rich in saturated fats - such as butter - as they were strongly linked to cardiovascular disease. Research on lumberjacks who ate a lot of dairy food had shown that being extremely fit was no protection. - New Zealand Herald

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