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Science & Medicine: Taking on America's number one killer

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Roberto Martinez

More than six million American adults are experiencing heart failure right now.

"So, heart failure is a syndrome. That means it's a collection of signs and symptoms that are caused by a heart that's unable to pump sufficient blood to the body to meet all of the demands of the body, and as it progresses, the organs dependent on blood flow begin to fail. And without appropriate treatment, it's a condition that people die from," said Dr. Allen Anderson, chief of cardiology and a professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio. His passion is diagnosing and treating people with heart failure.

Dr. Allen Anderson
David Constante
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Dr. Allen Anderson

"So I cared for patients who had advanced heart failure, patients who needed transplants, who needed mechanical pumps," he said. "And then I treated them after their transplant and became their primary physician after their heart transplant. And I've done that for about 25 years."

Anderson is excited about all they’re learning about America’s number one killer, cardiovascular disease, at UT Health San Antonio from the links between the South Texas epidemics of diabetes and metabolic syndrome and heart disease, to breakthroughs in our understanding of genetic cardiomyopathy.

"These can affect families and being able to address risk in an entire family, may have a wide ranging impact, not just on grandpa who's 60 years old, but on the granddaughter who's 14," he said.

The more they know, the better they can target treatments for an individual's unique disease of the heart, vastly improving outcomes.

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