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CMHC PULSE

Cardio Metabolic Health Congress – Official Blog

Lowering Blood Pressure Without Medication

Recently updated guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have contributed to a growing number of patients being diagnosed with hypertension. Lowering the threshold for hypertension from 140/90 to 130/80 mm Hg resulted in a significant increase of patients  — with previously normal or slightly elevated blood pressure (BP) — who now rank in the hypertension stage 1 category. Although the revisions were made with the intention of encouraging early preventative action and lifestyle interventions, they have also prompted a rise in patients who qualify for antihypertensive medications. 

In certain cases, blood pressure medication is necessary for hypertension treatment and ensuring adequate cardiometabolic care. A multitude of different antihypertensive drugs are available for patient use, including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and calcium-channel blockers, which are often used in tandem. Although, these medications are often associated with adverse effects, such as gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, weakness, headache, and many other undesirable symptoms. 

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Statin Use Post-Radiation Tied to Significant Stroke Reduction

Long-known as an effective treatment method for a variety of cancers, radiation therapy (RT) is performed on more than half of all cancer patients. While it effectively eradicates cancer cells and decreases tumor size, it can also cause adverse effects that include scarring or thickening of the arteries, putting patients at an increased risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. As a risk factor, radiation-induced atherosclerosis correlates to a higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer survivors. 

New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests the potential of the cholesterol-lowering drug family of statins to significantly reduce cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risks in patients affected by certain cancers. To date, there have been no studies exploring the effects of statin use on vascular complications in cancer patients post thorax, head, and neck radiotherapy although, the anti-inflammatory properties of statins have been shown to reduce the risk of vascular disease through the reduction of plaque formation. 

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