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Rythmol (Propafenone Hcl)

Is heart attack a disease of old age? Can we disregard it on the grounds that we ‘have to die of something’? This old bromide is a fallacy. The peak frequency is in the sixties and seventies, it is true; but it actually becomes less common in older men, not more so. It is especially in younger people that the heart attack mortality is increasing.
At present, one quarter of all heart attacks in men occur before retiring age. In Framingham, near Boston, U.S.A., one third of men have a heart attack or stroke before the age of sixty. There is reason to think that this is the pattern in most western countries. So these diseases affect men in the prime of life, men who are often making their greatest contributions to society. Also, as Dr Stamler of Chicago points out, coronary disease in middle-aged men is a major cause of the distressing problems of early widowhood.
Sam was a big man in all ways. He had taken over a small import business four years before and had turned it into a vigorous, rapidly growing concern. He played as hard as he worked. His lunch was an occasion: cocktails, three courses, wine with them, brandies after. It was the first meal of the day: he kept going on cigarettes and coffee until noon. Not surprisingly he was some thirty pounds overweight.
When he fell ill he was poised for a new phase in his career, setting up a European operation for a large American pharmaceutical company. He was forty-six, and had never before been ill. He complained to his wife of ‘indigestion’ one afternoon. It was not severe, and at first the pain in the front of his chest seemed to lighten when he took an alkali. He went to bed early, still with a little pain and feeling rather sweaty. He promised to see his doctor next morning if he felt no better. But when Sam’s wife came into the bedroom an hour later she found him pale and unconscious. She could not feel his pulse. When the doctor arrived half an hour later Sam was dead.
The tragedy that struck Sam, his widow and teenage sons was one that most people would recognize: few of us have not lost a friend or relative from a heart attack. But if we are right in believing that heart attack is largely preventable, that this need not have happened to Sam and his family, then the tragedy was even more profound.
It is true that the condition is commoner in men than women at all ages. But women are far from immune: the graph is rising steeply in both sexes and, especially following the menopause, heart attack is an important and common disease in women too.

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