0

Tag: cardio disease

Simple & Preventive Changes to Combat CVD

Cardiovascular disease has the highest mortality rate in the United States, and billions of dollars are given to pharmaceutical industries each year in order to combat and reduce risks.

Yet recent research on cardiovascular risk factors offers renewed hope and optimism regarding heart disease, demonstrating a number of simple life changes to implement in order to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease. Changing behavior can significantly lower risks, even for those genetically predisposed to heart disease—though it has long been thought that these factors were outside one’s control.

Data gathered from four large prospective cohort studies, all of which tracked thousands of people for years, analyzed and assessed the relationships between various risk factors and heart disease. Researchers examined the ways in which lifestyle factors were associated with outcomes, including not smoking cigarettes, not being obese, engaging in weekly physical activity, and following a healthy diet. The final criterion was based upon recommendations including eating more fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, and not eating sugar-sweetened beverages, processed foods, etc.

The cumulative lifestyle factors were all associated with a significantly decreased risk of coronary events, and those who followed all of them had a favorable lifestyle. The reduction in heart attacks, bypass procedures, and deaths from cardiovascular causes was 45%: a 47% reduction even among those with genetic risks.

These numbers are substantial; the risk of a coronary event in a decade was halved. The data demonstrated that lifestyle changes were as powerful, if not more powerful, than many drugs and pharmaceuticals that are recommended. While there were caveats, including the sample size and population’s race and ethnicity, the lessons imparted must encourage us to understand and internalize that genetics do not necessarily determine overall health.

Changes in lifestyle can ultimately overcome many of the hurdles and challenges posed by DNA and genetics. These alternations will also reduce risks of other diseases like cancer, and a healthier lifestyle can have enormous implications for many more people across the globe.

Interested in learning about the latest updates in hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, lifestyle management, and cardiovascular health? Attend CMHC West, and listen to the nation’s top experts in cardiometabolic health while networking with hundreds of other healthcare professionals and practitioners. 

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Higher Risk Factors for Women

Fewer women who suffer a heart attack each year in the UK would die if they were simply given the same treatments as men, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Leeds and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden used data from Sweden’s extensive online cardiac registry, SWEDEHEART, to analyze the outcomes of 180,368 patients who suffered a heart attack over a 10 year period to December 2013.

After accounting for the expected number of deaths seen in the average population, the researchers found that women had an excess mortality up to three times higher than men’s in the year after having a heart attack.

While the analysis uses Swedish data, the researchers believe that the situation for women in the UK is likely to be worse than in Sweden, which has one of the lowest mortality rates from heart attacks anywhere in the world. The study, published yesterday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, was co-funded by the British Heart Foundation.

Professor Chris Gale, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Leeds, who co-authored the study, said: “We need to work harder to shift the perception that heart attacks only affect a certain type of person. Typically, when we think of a heart attack patient, we see a middle-aged man who is overweight, has diabetes and smokes. This is not always the case: heart attacks affect the wider spectrum of the population, including women. Sweden is a leader in healthcare, with one of the lowest mortality rates from heart attacks, yet we still see this disparity in treatment and outcomes between men and women. In all likelihood, the situation for women in the UK may be worse.”

Analysis of the Swedish data found that women who had a heart attack resulting from a blockage in the coronary artery were 34 per cent less likely than men to receive procedures which clear blocked arteries and restore blood flow to the heart, including bypass surgery and stents.

The paper reported that women were also 24 per cent less likely to be prescribed statins, which help to prevent a second heart attack, and 16 per cent less likely to be given aspirin, which helps to prevent blood clots. Critically, when women received all of the treatments recommended for patients who have suffered a heart attack, the gap in excess mortality between the sexes decreased dramatically.

Professor Gale, from the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, added: “The findings from this study suggest that there are clear and simple ways to improve the outcomes for women who have a heart attack – we must ensure equal provision of evidence-based treatments for women.”

Previous British Heart Foundation research has shown that women are 50 percent more likely than men to receive the wrong initial diagnosis and are less likely to get a pre-hospital Electrocardiogram (ECG) which is essential for swift diagnosis and treatment.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Heart attacks are often seen as a male health issue, but more women die from coronary heart disease than breast cancer in the UK. The findings from this research are concerning – women are dying because they are not receiving proven treatments to save lives after a heart attack.”

This year, attend our 13th Annual CMHC conference, taking place from October 24-27 in the heart of downtown Boston. We are hosting our first pre-conference Women’s Health Summit on October 24th: highlighting the latest research unique to women’s healthcare. Expand your therapeutic options to enhance and optimize your female patients’ health, while learning tangible solutions to complex medical problems. This day is designed for you to become well-versed in integrative practices and protocols, and understand the unique challenges faced by women.

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Cheese: A Heart Healthy Snack?

Cheese is typically considered more of an indulgence than a health food, but a new review of research suggests that it may not be as bad for you as once thought. In fact, people in the analysis who ate a little bit of cheese every day were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke, compared to those who rarely or never ate cheese.

Cheese, like other dairy products, contains high levels of saturated fat—which has been linked to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease. (Recently, however, some nutrition experts believe that saturated fat is more benign.) But cheese also contains potentially beneficial ingredients like calcium, protein and probiotics, wrote the authors of the new paper, published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

To learn more about how long-term cheese consumption affects a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, researchers from China and the Netherlands combined and analyzed data from 15 observational studies including more than 200,000 people. All but one of the studies excluded people with existing heart disease, and all but two tracked people for 10 years or more.

The researchers’ findings were “certainly different from what people might expect,” says Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis. Overall, people who consumed high levels of cheese had a 14% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease and were 10% less likely to have a stroke than those who rarely or never ate cheese.

The relationship, however, was U-shaped rather than linear—meaning that higher quantities of cheese were not necessarily better. The people who had the lowest risks for heart disease and stroke were those who consumed, on average, about 40 grams a day—about the size of a matchbook. (According to the review, the average American eats about 42.5 grams a day.)

“This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day,” says Stewart. He also cautions against reading too much into data that’s self-reported—as much of the data was—because people tend to over- or under-estimate their consumption of specific foods.

Stewart points out that the study was only able to find an association between cheese consumption and decreased risk of heart disease, rather than a cause-and-effect relationship. It could be that people who eat cheese on a daily basis are healthier overall, or have more disposable income and higher socioeconomic statuses.

But it’s also possible that cheese has beneficial qualities that offset the negative impact of its high saturated fat content, says Stewart. “Cheese can be high in probiotics, which tend to put you in less of an inflammatory state,” he says. Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an unsaturated fatty acid that may increase the amount of of HDL “good” cholesterol and decrease “bad” LDL levels.

“There is some evidence that cheese—as a substitute for milk, for example—may actually have a protective effect on the heart,” says Stewart. “No one’s saying you should definitely go out and eat 40 grams of cheese a day. But on the upside, a bit of cheese on a cracker doesn’t sound unreasonable.”

The study did not look at different types of cheeses, and Stewart says more research is needed to know whether certain varieties hold more health benefits (or risks) than others. Overall, though, the news is good for cheese lovers.

“We’re always are searching for ways to minimize heart disease and reduce atherosclerosis,” he says. “It’s promising to find that something that actually tastes good—and pairs well with a nice glass of red wine—may offer some protection, as well.”

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Early Baldness: Higher Risk Factor Than Obesity?

Male pattern baldness and premature greying are more of a risk factor for heart disease than obesity in men under 40, new research suggests. A study of more than 2,000 young men in India showed more who had coronary artery disease were prematurely bald or grey than men with a full head of hair.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, told the BBC: “This study suggests that identifying men with premature hair loss and greying may help identify those with an increased risk of developing heart disease. However, this isn’t something that people can change, whereas you can modify your lifestyle and risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. These are far more important things to consider.”

The research, to be presented at the CSI’s 69th annual conference in Kolkata, studied 790 men under 40 who had coronary artery disease and 1,270 healthy men of a similar age, who acted as a control group.

A clinical history was taken of all the participants, who were then marked on their levels of male pattern baldness – the common type of hair loss that develops in most men at some stage – and hair whitening. The researchers correlated the findings with the severity of heart disease symptoms, and discovered that the men with the heart condition were more likely to have gone prematurely grey – 50% compared with 30% of the healthy group – more than five times the risk of the control group.

The heart condition group were also more likely to have male pattern baldness – 49% against 27% of those in the healthy group – a 5.6 times greater risk. Yet obesity was associated with only a fourfold increased risk of the disease.

Dr Kamal Sharma, the principal investigator on the study, said: “The possible reason could be the process of biological aging, which may be faster in certain patients and may be reflected in hair changes.”

Prof Alun Hughes, professor of cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology at University College London, said similar correlations had been made before. “People have speculated that it may be an indicator of DNA damage associated with aging,” he said. “Also, since hair follicles are a target for androgens – for example testosterone – it has been suggested that early male pattern baldness could reflect differences in responses to androgens that might influence the risk of heart disease.”

A study of nearly 37,000 people in Japan in 2013 said balding men were 32% more likely to have coronary heart disease. Prof Hughes said a study of 10,885 Danish people in 2014 reported that grey hair predicted future heart disease, but said it could be explained by taking account of other cardiovascular risk factors.

Lead study author Dr Dhammdeep Humane, of the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in Ahmedabad, said men with male pattern balding or premature greying “should receive extra monitoring for coronary artery disease and advice on lifestyle changes, such as healthy diet, exercise, and stress management.”

Another study author, Dr Sachin Patil, said there was an increase in coronary disease in young men which could not be explained by traditional risk factors and added that the hair conditions were “plausible risk factors”.

Prof Marco Roffi, head of the Interventional Cardiology Unit at Geneva University Hospital, said: “Assessment of risk factors is critical in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. “Classical risk factors, such as diabetes, family history of coronary disease, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, are responsible for the vast majority of cardiovascular disease. “It remains to be determined whether potential new risk factors, like the ones described, may improve cardiovascular risk assessment.”

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Running Reigns Supreme

A recent review of evidence published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease indicates that runners live three years longer than no-runners, solidifying the hypothesis that longevity can be increased by exercise—to a substantial degree.

The research states that not only does running significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and premature death, but also demonstrates benefits even if other aspects of health are sub-par. Someone who drinks and smokes can still reduce early mortality by running: between 25% and 40%.

Running 5-10 minutes per day was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, in addition to death from any and all causes. The review’s authors state that there is no other exercise that yields such a significant impact; statistically, an hour of running will increase one’s life expectancy by seven hours—and prolong life more than other types of exercise including cycling, swimming, or walking.

The authors also confirm that even a jog counts as moderately vigorous exercise. Runners primarily have enhanced levels of aerobic fitness and lower levels of body fat, and enjoy an array of health and wellness benefits. Moreover, in terms of time, it takes 105 minutes of walking to produce the same benefits as a 25-minute run.

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Dangerous Correlations: Cardio Disease & Depression/Anxiety

Psychiatric disorders and symptoms like depression and anxiety are not only pervasive and persistent, but they also have gravely negative impacts on functioning, quality of life, and the cardiovascular health—the latter of which has recently been studied, including the physiologic and health behavior mechanisms that mediate the relationship.

Studies indicate that patients with heart disease show very high rates of depressive and anxiety disorders: the prevalence rates are significantly higher than those in the general population. Research further demonstrates that depression and anxiety are not merely rapid or transient responses to severe cardiac symptoms or events, but rather continuous and consistent. For most cardiac patients, anxiety remains a common problem. Read more

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Heart Health: Staggering Statistics Urge Prevention

Heart HealthAs the number of Americans with heart disease increases, medical and health experts have been forced to come to terms with the enormous and far-reaching impacts of cardiovascular disease: the primary killer in the U.S., responsible for approximately 1 in every 4 deaths. Data recently released by the National Health Center for Health Statistics indicates that heart disease took over 633,000 lives in the past year—a 0.9 percent increase from the previous year, and the first upward spike since 1999.

A sustained rising trend has prompted scientists to evaluate and assess the methods and protocols that have traditionally been used to treat heart disease; Dr. Steven Houser, president of the American Heart Association, has articulated the need for more progress—with a targeted focus on prevention. Read more

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Heart Disease & Pregnancy: Careful Considerations

heart disease and pregnancyA recent report published through a study at Oxford University reveals a number of cases involving pregnant women and heart disease, during which physicians have failed to intervene and treat the cardiovascular condition.

Because pregnancy and childbirth often exert extra strain on the heart, which is exacerbated by pre-existing and underlying conditions, several deaths of fatal heart attacks have occurred without warning. Pregnancy itself stresses the heart and circulatory system, as blood volume increases by up to 50%, in order to nourish the growing baby. Moreover, the amount of blood pumped by the heart also increases by up to 50%. Read more

Share onShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn