National Geographic : 1944 Nov
"HEART DISEASE ... but I've never been sick in my life!" Why should heart disease strike a man of health and vitality? Well, the doctor explained, you know how age affects your face and hands and hair. Over the years, your heart grows older, too, so that it may be less able to meet the demands of strenuous living. Unless you learn to know and live within the capacities of your heart, you may risk serious coronary heart disease even in the very prime of life. Sudden exertion is a thing to avoid. Just what is coronary heart disease? Coronary heart disease means that the walls of the coronary arteries-the arteries feeding the heart muscle-have hardened up a bit, become thicker, and have lost some of their elasticity. As a result, the heart muscle receives less blood and thus less food and oxygen. Naturally, if you then make excessive demands on your heart, you're inviting trouble. Coronary heart disease is the most common form among men past forty. Even at younger ages you should watch for such possible warning symptoms as excessive fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pains, or oppression near the heart. What can be done about it? First, see your doctor and be guided by his ad vice. If the attack is severe, he may prescribe a period of rest in bed. The doctor will surely recommend the rules for living which everyone over forty would be wise to follow as a PRECAUTION against heart disease. For example, the doctor will advise moderation in all things. He will stress the importance of avoiding sudden exertion-the wisdom of getting plenty of sleep and avoiding overweight. Periodic physical examinations will probably be recom mended, including X-ray, laboratory, or other tests. Must patients become invalids? No- so long as they don't overdo. Diagnosed early, the damage to the heart may be negligible. Besides, it should not be cause for needless worry. Today, thousands of people who have heart dis ease, and who take care of themselves, are living virtually normal lives. Strict self-discipline, to gain freedom from all worry and strain, is of pri mary importance. Less strenuous forms of physi cal recreation should be found. In other words, it is necessary to relax. For more information, send for Metropolitan's free booklet, 114-N, entitled, "Protecting Your Heart." COPYRIGHT1944--METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE CO. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (A MUTUAL COMPANY) Frederick H. Ecker, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Leroy A. Lincoln, PRESIDENT I MADISON AVE., NEW YORK 10, N.Y.