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CMHC PULSE

Cardio Metabolic Health Congress – Official Blog

New Study Suggests Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Social isolation can be a killer, and not merely in the figurative sense. Loneliness may actually cause premature death by damaging the heart, according to a new study. The research suggested that feeling loneliness may double a person’s risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.

“Loneliness is more common today than ever before, and more people live alone,” Anne Vinggaard Christensen, study author and a PhD student at The Heart Centre at the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, said in a statement. “Previous research has shown that loneliness and social isolation are linked with coronary heart disease and stroke, but this has not been investigated in patients with different types of cardiovascular disease.”

Not surprisingly, the study also showed a correlation between loneliness and increased symptoms of anxiety and depression. The team of Danish researchers presented their results at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual nursing conference over the weekend.

The study was based on data collected from 13,463 patients who suffered from either ischaemic heart disease, an abnormal heart rhythm, heart failure or heart valve disease. The results were based on a survey in which patients answered questions about their physical and mental health. They were also asked to describe their levels of social support. Levels of loneliness were evaluated with questions such as, “Do you have someone to talk to when you need it?” and “Do you feel alone sometimes even though you want to be with someone?”

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Finding Common Ground for Glycated Haemoglobin Test Targets

In March of this year, the American College of Physicians (ACP) issued a guidance statement on HbA1c targets for adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D), which have been the subject of debates and discussions in the medical community. At the center of this debate is ACP’s recommendation for a target HbA1c goal between 7-8% to maintain optimal glucose control, which is higher than what’s recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) or the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and American College of Endocrinology (ACE).

ADA recommends a goal of <7% for HbA1c, even advocating more stringent goals (such as <6.5%) for certain patients with a low risk of hypoglycemia. The AACE/ACE guidelines recommend keeping glycated hemoglobin levels at ≤ 6.5% for most patients with low-risk of side effects.

The statement from ACP also recommends the individualization of T2D therapy, deintensification of therapy for patients that achieve HbA1c levels of less than 6.5%, and controlling symptoms rather than focusing on specific HbA1c goals in patients with a life expectancy of less than 10 years (such as patients aged 80 or older, that reside in a nursing home, or with chronic conditions – including dementia, cancer, end-stage kidney disease, severe COPD, or congestive heart failure). One of the main ideas behind this statement is to balance the benefits of lowering blood glucose with potential risks, such as important side effects (like hypoglycemia and weight gain), costs, and overall patient burden.

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