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HEART Insight:
doi: 10.1097/01.HEARTI.0000387911.82611.79
Departments: On My Mind

Going The Distance

O'gara, Patrick T. M.D., F.A.H.A.

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Editorial Board Chair, HEART INSIGHT

You know the old saying, “You can't keep a good man down?” That's certainly true of 76-year old heart rehab patient Jay Kennedy, who competed in five events at this year's World Heart Games – and medaled in four of them. At HEART INSIGHT's request, Kennedy kept a diary of his excellent adventure. It's a fun read.

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Heart attack and stroke are a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., but every cardiologist I know has lost too many patients to embarrassment. That is, people having chest pain too embarrassed to call EMS! Our article, “Chest Pain Means You're Having A Heart Attack — Except When It Doesn't” (page 7) helps you differentiate between various types of chest pain to help you figure out when you need to call 9-1-1 immediately. The article also rebuts all the reasons people commonly give to avoid making the call.

Providing help and healing to a loved one who is recovering from a heart attack, stroke, or other debilitating condition is both a privilege and a burden for caregivers. Depending on the type and duration of help a patient needs, there often isn't time or money enough to go around, especially when the caregiver is an only child — or is the only child within close proximity to the family member needing help. “The Caregiving Tug-Of-War” (page 16) offers advice on how to get extra hands on deck, or to coax siblings to lend a hand.

In this issue we debut a new section, “Life's Simple Seven” (page 12), which focuses on the interplay between four ideal behaviors (lose weight, get active, quit smoking and eat better) and three ideal health factors (blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol levels within the AHA 's recommended range — preferably without medication to keep them there). The “Life's Simple Seven” section gives kids and adults tips and techniques on making modest lifestyle and behavioral changes that can help lead to a lifetime of good health.

We also added online-only features that provide readers with additional information on our articles. Please visit to read “Reclaiming The Joy Of Sports,” about the origin of the World Heart Games, and “Making Sense Out Of Government Assistance Programs,” which gives caregivers and patients guidance on qualifying for, and utilizing the benefits provided by, Medicare and Medicaid.

We always look forward to your E-mail and letters commenting on our articles, or suggesting topics you'd like to see us cover. Please let us know what you think of the “Life's Simple Seven” feature, as well as the bonus articles on the magazine's Website. You can E-mail us at: or write to HEART INSIGHT, 333 Seventh Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

And if you want to see what Editor Ruth Papazian is reading to keep up-to-date on topics of interest to HEART INSIGHT readers, you can follow her on Twitter:



Editorial Board Chair, HEART INSIGHT

© 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.