Heart Disease Tests May Become Routine.

            This week’s blog assignment was to analyze an online mainstream newspaper article on health or science.  We were allowed to choose any mainstream online newspaper, and I chose to research The San Francisco Chronicle.  On The San Francisco Chronicle website, I went to the health section and chose an article about heart disease testing.  The article was titled “New Heart disease test could become routine”, by Elizabeth Fernandez, a Chronicle Staff Writer. 

            The article I evaluated was about the chance that a new, low-cost blood test may soon become a routine assessment for regular medical exams.  If the test detects a high level of a specific protein, patients could choose to reduce their risks of heart disease by using a popular statin drug.  The reason for this new test’s arrival is because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 26 seconds, an American has a coronary event, and about one person every minute dies from it.  In that same study, they found that those taking the medication for over a year and a half were 54 percent less likely to have a heart attack, 48 percent less likely to have a stroke, and 46 percent less likely to require angioplasty or bypass surgery.

            Some doctors, on the other hand, say that these tests may not actually be necessary.  Some doctors say that the studies they made may not be completely correct because the only people tested were males over the age of 50 and females over the age of 60.  Others experts also stressed that it may not be worth the time and money when a lot of people forget about the standard public health guidelines to reduce heart and stroke risk, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, dieting, and exercising. 

            I think the coverage of this story was done well for a few reasons.  I liked how the sources used in the article were from high quality medical areas such as Stanford, and UC San Francisco.  I know that those are arguably two of the top contending medical schools in the nation.  I trust their words of health care and trust their studies that they run.  My parents were both medical students at UC San Francisco, and I know that they have a great school of medicine there,  giving me trust I need for giving the sources credibility.  I also think that this coverage is credible because the writer used many quotations from actual doctors, to help show real people’s opinions towards this subject.  I believe it helps when one hears an actual professional speak about topics that they know best and are most educated on.  Along with quotations and studies, Elizabeth Fernandez also gave great counter arguments against this new heart disease test.  Although it seems to be a good idea to test the public’s risks of heart disease, there are also downsides that she showed as well.  She expressed the fact that some doctors believe it is just important, if not more important, to concentrate on exercise and dieting.  The financial aspect of the test was brought up as well.  Is the test really worth the money?

            I feel that the reporter answered the questions that I have about the topic.  I chose this article because I was always interested in knowing more about heart disease because some people in my family have died due to heart attacks.  I personally had questions regarding the percentage of people who had heart problems, and if they are always fatal.  This reporter answered that question and helped me to obtain a better grasp on the topic.  


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