Heart Attack: HIV Patients at Nearly Double the Risk
Other than the brain, the heart is one of the most important organs in our body. It happens to also be a target for viruses like HIV. HIV positive individuals need to take caution and check on their heart regularly. A study shows that the risk for heart attack is much greater in those troubled by this disease.
Predicting Heart Attack Risk
The heart is vulnerable in America. At least, that is what the statistics say. Here are the facts that the CDC found:
- Every 43 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.
- Every year, 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.
- Of those American, 525,00 are experiencing their first attack and 210,000 have experienced one before.
- One of 5 heart attacks is silent. This means that the patient is not aware it is happening but still suffers damage to the body.
These are truly awful facts. But what the scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have found may spell worse trouble for HIV patients. They are almost twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack, which more than what physicians have predicted for the general population.
Predicting the risk of heart attack is important. If a doctor discovers it early on, they can prescribe the right medicine to lower the risk. “If you have a higher risk for heart attack or stroke, your ability to benefit from one of these drugs is greater and justifies the possible side effects of a medication,” says Dr. Matthew Feinstein, cardiovascular disease fellow at Northwestern University.
Dr. Feinstein goes on to state that HIV increases heart risk by causing chronic inflammation, which can lead to plaque buildup in the body’s tissue. Eventually, this series of events in your body can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The current predictor tools for heart risk need to be adjusted. Heart medications are only given to those in serious need. If physicians cannot accurately tell if HIV patients need those medications, this will lead to dangerous consequences.