I have the facts on heart attacks according to cardiologist Arthur Agatston. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the guy who came up with the South Beach Diet. Since one out of every five deaths are caused by heart attacks, here’s what you need to know.
- First, is it true that you can stop a heart attack by coughing? Yes, it’s true! Coughing alternately increases and decreases chest pressure. That can raise a slow heart rate, boost cardiac output and sometimes even stop an arrhythmia. Experts call it “cough CPR.” If you have heart disease and feel palpitations and you’re lightheaded – take deep breaths and cough repeatedly. That can save your life.
- Next, are roller coasters dangerous for your heart? Yes, those warnings at Disney World are there for a reason! If you have a heart condition, any thrill ride can trigger a rush of adrenaline that could cause an irregular heartbeat – and even a coronary. If that’s you, stick to “It’s a small world.”
- Have you heard that you’re at risk for a heart attack if there’s a crease on your earlobe? Well, it may be true! Some studies show that if you have a pronounced crease running diagonally across one or both of your earlobes, your body’s elastin level is low. Elastin is a protein that affects blood vessel function, and Dr. Agatston has seen this to be true in his patients.
- Are bald men at greater risk for a heart attack? No, there’s no link. It’s true that baldness has something to do with testosterone levels, but bald men have HIGH testosterone – and it’s LOW levels that are associated with risk factors for heart disease. So if you’re sporting a chrome dome, it doesn’t mean you’re also at risk for a heart attack.