ow can you tell if you or someone you know is having a heart attack? Sometimes the symptoms can be surprisingly subtle. “They can be very different from person to person, between women and men and even within an individual who has more than one heart attack,” says Dr. David Rizik, director of Interventional Cardiology for Scottsdale Healthcare Hospitals, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Men and women may experience atypical heart attack symptoms. In contrast to the “classic” chest-splitting, gasping-for-breath symptoms, many heart attacks begin with symptoms that are so mild they are often mistaken for indigestion or muscle ache.

Asthma sufferers have long relied on inhalers for relief from wheezing or coughing attacks. But as of Dec. 31, Primatene Mist — the only available over-the-counter asthma inhaler — was taken off shelves because of its adverse effect on the environment. Other inhalers are available, but these require a doctor’s prescription. Some people with asthma aren’t happy about the change, but lung doctors and asthma specialists agree that Primatene Mist wasn’t the best option for patients anyway.

Plantar fasciitis. If you haven’t had to deal with it personally, just ask around. Chances are you know lots of people who can describe it in great detail: stabbing heel pain and agonizing steps followed by a frustratingly slow recovery. Plantar fasciitis – an inflammation of the plantar facsia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the arch from the heel to the toes – has become so ubiquitous that podiatrists can practically make the diagnosis before a patient even sets foot in their office.

Researchers in the US have identified a protein that rejuvenates old hearts in mice. The mouse hearts had thickened walls, a sign of aging similar to that seen in humans, but after treatment their hearts reduced in size and thickness, and became more like the hearts of younger mice.

We are very excited about it because it opens a new window on the most common form of heart failure,” he adds. Lee says about 20 of his 300 patients have diastolic heart failure. Currently their treatment consists of coming to the hospital and having a lot of fluid taken off, then going home. Then they come back again and do the whole thing again. He says the lack of drugs to treat this condition is “very frustrating”.

“We need to work as hard as we can to figure out if this discovery can be turned into a treatment for heart failure in our aging patients,” he urges.

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