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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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March 24, 2000     Cape Gazette
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March 24, 2000
 

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 24 - March 30, 2000 - 41 0000ging pot smokers face higher risk of heart attack Middle-aged and elderly mari- juana users increase their risk of a heart attack by more than four and a half times during the first hour after smoking the drug, according to a study presented by the Amer- ican Heart Association at its 40th annual conference on Cardiovas- cular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. "To my knowledge, this is the first study to document that smok- ing marijuana can trigger a heart attack," said Dr. Murray Mittle- man, director of cardiovascular epidemiology at Boston's Beth Is- rael-Deaconess Medical Center. "It increases the heart rate by about 40 beats per minute," he said. "It also causes the blood pressure to increase when the per- son is lying down, and then abruptly fall when the person stands up, often causing dizzi- ness. These effects may pose sig- nificant risk, especially in people with unrecognized coronary dis- ease." Researchers collected detailed information on marijuana use in 3,882 patients who had suffered heart attacks. Of these, 124 were identified as current marijuana users, including 37 who reported smoking the drug within 24 hours before their heart attack, and nine who had used it within an hour of the onset of symptoms. "We found that during the first hour of use, the risk of a heart at- tack is 4.8 times greater than dur- ing periods of nonuse," Mittleman said. "In the second hour, the risk drops to 1.7 times greater than during periods of nonuse. This in- dicates a rapid decline in the dan- gerous effects of marijuana on the heart, but the short term risk is considerable, especially for pa- tients with other risk factors." Based on the study, the cardiac risks to individual users posed by marijuana appear to be much low- er than those associated with co- caine use, which causes much sharper rises in both heart rate and blood pressure, Mittleman said. However, he added that the over- all public health threat from mari- juana could be even greater than from cocaine because marijuana use is believed to be more wide- spread. The study's findings provide possible new food for thought in the ongoing controversy over whether marijuana use for med- ical purposes should be legalized, he said. In a 1996 referendum in Cali- fornia, voters approved the legal medical use of marijuana, and since then, at least seven other states have passed laws allowing physicians to prescribe the drug, although it is still prohibited by federal law. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences, found no significant marijuana-related car- diac risk among younger users, he said, "but part of the problem lies in the fact that we now have mil- lions of baby boomers who are reaching the age when the risk of coronary heart disease increases for both men and women," Mittle- man said. "Many of these people were users of marijuana when they were in their teens and 20s, and a sizable percentage of them may still use the drug, either frequently or occasionally," he said. "They should at least be aware that their risk of a heart attack suddenly soars each time they smoke the drug." Mittleman said researchers still aren't sure whether it's marijuana itself that causes the increased risk of a heart attack or whether it's other components in the smoke such as carbon monoxide, or a combination of the two. "It's an area that warrants further study," he said. The coauthors of the report are Rebecca A. Lewis, Malcolm Maclure, Sc.D, Jane Sherwood, R.N. and Dr. James Muller. March 24 sock hop to benefit women's health Beebe Medical Center and WGMD will host a sock hop from 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday, March 24, at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Tickets are $10. The event will benefit Beebe's Health Campus Women's Imaging Center. For more information about which local businesses are selling tickets, call 645-3468. Free blood pressure checks set at Bayhealth-Kent Registered nurses from Bayhealth Medical Center-Kent General Hospital are available from 9 a.m. to noon every Wednesday in Kent General's outpatient service center to provide blood pressure screening. Free additional screenings are also available from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Thursday of each month at the Milford Senior Center, and from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the Avenue Church in Milford. For more information, call 302-674-7135. SAVE 20-50% MEN'S, LADLES' & CHILDREN'S SHOES FIR  F'OOTWEAR AT A DISCOUNT Featuring: Sebago Docksides Keds Trotters Sperry Top-Sider * Tretorn New Balance * Clarks of England Wigwam * Rockport * Grasshoppers Best selection.from over 15,000 pairs in stock. Men's sizes: N 9-14, M 6 I/2-15, W 6 I/2-14, WW 8-14. Women's sizes: N 6-10, M 5-1 I, W 6- I0, WW 6-I0. Children's 10-3 and Boy's s/zes 3 I/2-6 -- IX)CATIONS -- Route 1, Ames Plaza, Rehoboth Beach, DE 302-227-5828 Route 1 at West Virginia Ave. (4 streets north of MD llne on ocean side} Fenwick Island, DE 302-539-4599 Vote for Sussex County's Favorite Vegetable! Join us in celebrating National Nutrition Month & National Agricul#ure Week during March Including fresh vegetables in your diet is a great way to supply your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to help maintain good health. That's why we are promoting the benefits of eating vegetables during National Nutrition Month, and National Agriculture Week. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which helps you avoid some of the more common viruses and contain nutrients which aid your body in removing harmful toxins. ,; w.;77 I I I Name: I I I I Address: I I Phone: I I I I Your favorite vegetable:. I I I Contact us on our website, www.beebemed.org or tear off this I bottom portion and mail to: I I geebe Medkcd I Publk Retlmns Oet I 424 Savannah Road I Lewes, DE 19958 I II If you have any questions, please call us at 645-3468. I IL m= m= n B m m =m m m, m= m= D m= m m  m ,=m === D m,  mll Help us determine which is the favorite vegetable d the residents of Sussex County by placing your vote on our website, by filling out the form below, or enter at the Rehoboth Super G Food Store. At the end of the month, we will collect your votes and see what you decide. I I I We will announce Sussex i County's favorite I vegetable in April. ! By voting, you become eligible to win a $100 shopping spree at the Rehoboth Super G Food Store--what a great way to stay healthy, and celebrate National Nutrition Month, and National Agriculture Week! "00DA B I Beebe cG I   Medical oe  Center