Category: Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Aggressively Lowering LDL-C Reduces Cardiovascular Risk

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 92 million people, with 45 million more being at an increased risk for developing CVD within 10 years. Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is one of the key risk factors for CVD and several studies have shown that lowering LDL-C is one of the most important aspects of primary and secondary CVD prevention.

However, how much we should lower LDL-C to convey a cardiovascular benefit is not clear. The concept of “treat to target” is constantly evolving to “lower is better”, which has spun a growing debate in the clinical community, partly because we don’t agree about the specific target LDL-C levels that are also safe. The approval of new non-statin therapies that aggressively lower LDL-C, such as proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, has invigorated the debate about specific LDL-C targets, with many experts advocating for achieving very low levels of LDL-C (below 50 mg/dL and in some cases, ≤20 mg/dL) early in the treatment regimen in order to maximize cardiovascular benefits.

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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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