by Dr. Iain Corness
Who’s for a Coronary Conclusion?
Are you next? Is the Coronary
Conclusion yours? Those who are avid health (or sickness) watchers will know
I really mean “Coronary Occlusion”, but it was too much temptation to use
Mrs. Malaprop and end up with “Coronary Conclusion”. Because quite simply,
that is what it can turn out to be - your conclusion.
The sad part of all this doom and gloom is that nine times out of ten you
can actually avoid the Coronary Occlusion, the fancy name for the condition
also known as a “heart attack”.
Before launching into the real factors in the situation, a little
understanding of what constitutes a heart attack is in order. I think
everyone understands that you have both red blood cells and white blood
cells. The function of the red ones is simply to carry oxygen to the
tissues, so that the tissues can survive. The heart muscle is no exception
to this rule. This hollow muscular pump needs oxygen just like all the other
organs you keep inside you - spleen, kidneys, lungs, bowel and so forth.
Take my tip - keep them inside you if you possibly can!
However, the inside lining of the heart (muscle) is smooth and impermeable
to the oxygen tied to the red cells. In other words, the heart does not get
its nutrition from the blood it pumps through it. In fact, the blood supply
to the heart is through some specialized arteries called the “Coronary”
arteries. These run along the outer surface of the heart muscle and then
split up into smaller tributaries which dip into the heart muscle to supply
it with oxygen.
Now if we are to consider that the heart muscle is probably the most
important muscle in the human body (well, physiologically it outranks the
other much more highly publicized muscle in males!) then it becomes
important that this heart muscle gets a good supply of blood. And the
quickest way that the supply can get altered is by blocking off the coronary
arteries. This is most usually done via a slow process by which a small
obstruction in the artery slowly gets bigger and bigger until eventually it
blocks off totally and the heart muscle “starves” of oxygen and that section
of the heart muscle, supplied by that artery, just dies. We have a name for
that death of heart muscle too, and it is called a “myocardial infarction”.
This event of blocking is called a Coronary Occlusion, which may end up as a
coronary conclusion if the section of dead muscle is large enough! The
actual death of the muscle resulting in this myocardial infarction, is often
shortened to the simple M.I. (The heart muscle is called the myocardium.)
But of course, the simpler name is ‘Heart Attack’.
In short, cardiac health is mainly involved in keeping the coronary arteries
clean and clear. This is where our old friend Cholesterol comes in. You see,
the deposits inside the artery are generally made up of this chemical and
other blood fats. This makes a “sticky” patch in the artery and some blood
cells get stuck there. This causes a clot to form and you have all the
precursors needed to block the artery, with the occlusion leading to the
infarction, and to your family claiming early on your life insurance policy.
To be able to keep your arteries clear you need to have a nice low
cholesterol, which can be done by diet plus medication if required. But
first you need to know what your cholesterol level is. This requires a blood
test, which can be done at your favorite hospital (mine).
The most likely candidates for a heart attack are 50-60 years old,
overweight, hypertensive smokers, with high cholesterol. If this is you, do
something about it today. Well, perhaps that’s being a little bit too
melodramatic, but you are certainly one of the cardiac high risk people in
As I wrote at the start of this article, whether or not you have a coronary
conclusion can be under your control. Stop smoking, lose weight, keep your
blood pressure in the normal range and keep the cholesterol low.
You can drive your own destiny. Start today.