Eugene Braunwald, MD joins roster of expert faculty for the 12th Annual CMHC

Just Announced –

Eugene Braunwald, MD joins roster of expert faculty for the 12th Annual CMHC – October 4-7, 2017, Boston, MA

Dr. Braunwald, Professor at Harvard Medical School, is a world-renowned expert in the field of cardiovascular medicine and is believed to be the most frequently cited author in the field of cardiology, with more than 1000 publications in peer-reviewed journals. His landmark research includes the identification of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as a clinical entity. As Founder and Chairman of the TIMI Study Group, one of their many achievements was the PROVE-IT TIMI 22 Trial, which demonstrated the benefit of intensive reduction of LDL cholesterol by statin therapy. Dr. Braunwald will be joining a panel at the 12th Annual CMHC that includes Drs. Christie Ballantyne, Paul Ridker, and Marc Sabatine to discuss the clinical trials FOURIER, REVEAL, and CANTOS.

Health Food for the Heart

A number of recent studies indicate that nuts, which are typically full of nutritious fats and fiber, can actively lower the risk of heart disease. Due to the food’s abundance of nutrients and antioxidants, nuts have additionally been studied to help assess their ability in fighting the damage to cells that can trigger cancer.

This health food for the heart has been further investigated in terms of helping people avoid diseases like diabetes. In an analysis of 29 studies concerning nuts and health outcomes, with a sample size of over 800,000 people, researchers conclusively found that nuts have dramatic body-wide benefits.

People who regularly consumed nuts cut their mortality rate from respiratory illnesses by almost 50%, while reducing the risk of diabetes by nearly 40%. Those who ate only a handful of any type of nuts each day—including hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts—showed 30% lower rates of heart disease, compared to those who did not eat nuts.

Both men and women experienced benefits from nuts, while the type of nuts that were consumed did not have any implications on the results: all nut-eaters consistently demonstrated lower rates of most major diseases.

These findings support the supposition that nuts are a constructive, positive addition to the diet. This simple trick has far-reaching positive implications for health: Try integrating tree nuts, legumes, or any kind of nut into your nutritional & wellness routine.

Heart Failure Risk Tied to Mid-Life Occurrence of Hypertension, Diabetes, and Obesity

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure found that adults who reached the age of 45 without experiencing hypertension, diabetes, and obesity were 73% less likely to develop heart failure later on in life. Those who reached the age of 55 without any of the three risk factors were 83% less likely to develop heart failure.

Continue reading Heart Failure Risk Tied to Mid-Life Occurrence of Hypertension, Diabetes, and Obesity

Linking Fiber Facts & Heart Health

Several studies have demonstrated that the consumption of fiber has significantly lowered levels of cholesterol, reduces the risk of stroke and diabetes, helps with weight loss, and can ultimately prevent cardiovascular disease.

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble, though most fiber-rich foods contain both types. While most people generally associate fiber with a healthy digestive system and track, research has shown that its benefits for heart health are significant.

Most Americans, however, do not eat enough of it; the majority of people get less than half of the fiber that they require. Fiber-enriched foods to incorporate into nutrition plans and diets include most whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, beans and legumes, and seeds and fiber.

Fiber-rich whole grains have the potential to lower the risk of stroke by up to 36%, and the risk of type II diabetes by up to 30%–both of which are conditions tied to increased risks of heart disease. Another study established that after three months of a high-fiber diet, participants experienced drops in both blood pressure and pulse pressure.

These collective benefits do not only mitigate factors of heart disease, but also lead to lower mortality rates. By integrating fiber into your life, you can easily increase your lifespan.

The Debate About the Risks of Saturated Fats Goes On… and On

A recent longitudinal, cohort study consisting of more than 100,000 men and women (taken from data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study) who were followed for over 20 years showed that replacing 1% of energy consumed in the form of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, whole-grain carbohydrates or plant proteins, led to a 5 to 8% decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Results of the study also showed an association between increased intake of individual saturated fats and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Continue reading The Debate About the Risks of Saturated Fats Goes On… and On

Global Rates of High Blood Pressure Spiking

A recent article published by CNN reports escalating global statistics of blood pressure, in a collaboration with the World Health Organization and hundreds of scientists around the world. Collected data reveals that over 1 billion people are living with high blood pressure. While the majority live in low and middle-income countries, the statistics show that the number of people affected by high blood pressure has almost doubled in the past two decades—affecting men, more than women.

The study confirms that there is a striking disparity between geographical locations and people affected; high-income countries have shown a sharp decline in blood pressure, while the numbers have spiked in lower and middle-income countries: particularly Africa and South Asia. Majti Ezzati, the leader of the analysis and a professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, confirms that blood pressure “is a condition of poverty, not affluence.”

Factors that contribute to increased blood pressure include access to healthy food options, coupled with nutritional knowledge and health services that provide diagnosis and treatment. Because nutrition is a lesser-known factor, children—early in life—are becoming undernourished, which inevitably leads to elevated blood pressure as they age.

The World Health Organization has announced that high blood pressure caused approximately 7.5 million deaths globally, which accounts for almost 13% of all deaths. Ezzati has further articulated that blood pressure has become even more critically serious and severe than diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cancer. In implementing strategies to begin to solve the problem, including promoting knowledge of nutrition and easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables, we can begin to make ‘fresh, healthy food’ both accessible and affordable for those in need.

Mixed Reviews on New Statin Guidelines

Statins, a class of lipid-lowering medications that are used in the treatment of high cholesterol, rank in the leagues of the best-selling drugs in the United States: a 2011 study showed that at least 32 million Americans were taking them.

While most evidence has demonstrated the efficacy of statins in preventing heart disease in those with high cholesterol, a recent article in The Washington Post reported new guidelines that have been issued for statin drugs. The rules, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, dictate that everyone age 40 and above should be considered for the drug therapy, regardless of whether they have a familial history of cardiovascular disease. A study published Saturday verified that those who utilize statins have better chances of surviving heart attacks.

The recommendations are directly in line with the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, both of which have articulated the need for physicians to not only focus on patients’ cholesterol levels, but also a more holistic perspective of risk factors based on lifestyle, weight, and blood pressure. The chair of the task force expressed the critical importance of preventive measures like statins, as people who show no signs or symptoms of heart disease may still be at risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Yet the topic has been slightly contentious, as several groups and doctors do not believe that statins should be so widely used and accessible. While most experts recognize that people with substantial risk for heart disease benefit from the drugs, there is considerable disagreement about those with lower risks. The detractors have voiced concern regarding the overprescriptions, coupled with statins’ side effects. Nevertheless, the existing guidelines will have a substantial impact on physicians and health practitioners, though individual doctors are not obligated to take the advice.

World Diabetes Day

Today marks World Diabetes Day, a commemoration of the disease that affects over 29 million Americans: 9.3% of the country’s population. November 14th also coincides with the birthday of Frederick Banting, the first physician and scientist to use insulin on human patients—and the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of physiology and medicine.

Diabetes manifests in two major forms; Type 1 is characterized by a lack of insulin production—the cause is unknown, and unpreventable. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common and accounts for approximately 90% of diabetics worldwide, is often preventable: it results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Because the pancreas generates little to no insulin, or the cells cannot utilize the insulin efficiently and effectively, glucose cannot enter the cells and builds up in the blood.

Because both types of diabetes are intensified by poor lifestyle choices, it is critical to build awareness around the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition. This day serves as a reminder for governments, communities, and individual citizens to recognize and support diabetes prevention, treatment, and care.

Childhood Obesity: A Nationwide Epidemic

On Tuesday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released proposed guidelines in an attempt to further combat childhood obesity—a nationwide epidemic that has progressively worsened in the past decade. Today, 17% of America’s children qualify for the official categorization and definition of obesity.

The publication is intended to help healthcare professionals and decision makers to make well-informed judgments and choices, thereby improving the quality of health services, and ultimately help curb the increase in childhood obesity. The report outlines the benefits and harms of screening and treatment for obesity in children and adolescents; obesity is not only commonplace in children and adolescents in the United States, but also produces a variety of negative, detrimental health effects—including, but not limited to, asthma, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and a host of other physical and psychological problems.

The task force recommends routine weight screening for all children, beginning at age 6. The idea of “comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions” have historically demonstrated efficacy in helping participants lessen their odds of obesity and being overweight, specifically by pinpointing and identifying patients who may benefit from weight counseling programs. It is the hope that behavioral interventions for weight loss in children will simultaneously tackle their medical issues, which directly stem from obesity, and also decrease the number of obese children who are on the trajectory to become obese adults.

Check out our online CME course, Proactive and Progressive Approaches in Obesity Management, and learn about the multifaceted disease of obesity, in addition to education regarding treatment and maintenance.