Category Archives: heart disease

Preventing Heart Disease – Harvard

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

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The following is from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard.

When heart experts talk about prevention, they usually refer to one of three types: secondary, primary and primordial prevention. [1] All three have similar elements, but different starting times and different effects.

Despite the power of individual behavior change, it must be noted that unfavorable eating patterns are driven by a variety of biological, social, economic, and psychological factors. This is acknowledged in a 2018 review paper, which recommends that “governments should focus on cardiovascular disease as a global threat and enact policies that will reach all levels of society and create a food environment wherein healthy foods are accessible, affordable, and desirable.” [22] The central illustration of the paper (below) highlights several policy strategies that may help boost healthy eating, such as improving nutrition labels, regulating food marketing, and promoting healthy school and work environments. Continue reading

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Chronic stress may cause heart problems – AHA

In the nearly 10 years I have been writing this blog, I have written numerous posts on stress. I even have a Page – How to deal with stress with a number of them listed if you want to read further on it. What follows here is from the American Heart Association.

Sometimes stress can be useful. But constant stress can affect overall well-being and may even impact heart health.

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When stress is short-lived, it can help with performance in meeting a major deadline, interviewing for a new job or achieving another goal. Stress and its impact on the body can also be lifesaving in the face of danger. Continue reading

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Heart disease linked to higher risk of kidney failure – Study

A new study finds that heart disease may increase  your chances of kidney failure.

• In adults followed for a median of 17.5 years, cardiovascular diseases—including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, and stroke—were each linked with a higher risk of developing kidney failure.

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• Heart failure was associated with the highest risk: adults hospitalized with heart failure had an 11.4-times higher risk of developing kidney failure than individuals without cardiovascular disease

New research indicates that cardiovascular diseases—including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, and stroke—are each linked with a higher risk of developing kidney failure. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, highlight the importance of protecting the kidney health of individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

The heart and the kidneys have a bi-directional relationship, whereby dysfunction in either may compromise the function of the other. Many studies have investigated the risks of kidney disease on heart health, but few have examined the reciprocal relationship.

To investigate, a team led by Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhDand Junichi Ishigami, MD, PhD(Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)examined information on 9,047US adults who did not have signs ofheart disease when they enrolled in a community-based study.

“Many physicians probably recognize that patients with cardiovascular disease are at risk of kidney disease progression, but to my knowledge, this is the first study quantifying the contribution of different cardiovascular diseases to the development of kidney failure, said Dr. Matsushita.

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Link seen between cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease and stroke

The most comprehensive analysis of its kind suggests that there is a strong link between non-HDL cholesterol levels and long-term risk for cardiovascular disease in people aged under 45 years, not just at older ages., according to The Lancet.

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  • Study is the most comprehensive analysis of long-term risk for cardiovascular disease related to non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol – including almost 400,000 people from 19 countries who were followed for up to 43.5 years (median 13.5 years follow-up) between 1970 to 2013.
  • This longer-term evidence may be particularly important in people aged under 45 years.
  • Depending on cholesterol level and number of cardiovascular risk factors, men and women aged under 45 years have a 12-43% or 6-24% risk (respectively) of having fatal or non-fatal heart disease or stroke by the age of 75 years.
  • If non-HDL cholesterol levels were halved, women and men younger than 45 years with starting levels of non-HDL cholesterol between 3.7-4.8 mmol/liter and who had two additional cardiovascular risk factors could reduce their risk from around 16% to 4%, and from around 29% to 6%, respectively.

The observational and modelling study which used individual-level data from almost 400,000 people, published in The Lancet, extends existing research because it suggests that increasing levels of non-HDL cholesterol may predict long-term cardiovascular risk by the age of 75 years. Past risk estimates of this kind are based on 10-year follow-up data.

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CoQ10 and its dosage

I have to admit that I have been seeing items and ads about CoQ10 for years and never paid it much attention. I stumbled across this rundown in Medical News Today and was amazed at its functionality. I thought it would interest you.

CoQ10 is an antioxidant that exists in almost every cell of the human body. CoQ10 deficiency is associated with various medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.cells.jpg

 

Although the body naturally produces CoQ10, some people may benefit from taking supplements. Overall, CoQ10 supplements appear relatively safe and cause few side effects. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for purity or verified for labeling accuracy, so purchase only those products that have been tested by an independent lab.

People who are interested in trying CoQ10 supplements may want to consult a healthcare professional first. Experts do not recommend CoQ10 for people taking blood-thinning medications, insulin, or certain chemotherapy drugs. Continue reading

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Exercise helps heart patients – Study

Ear less; move more; live longer. Works like a charm

Generally, exercise is considered good for you. However, physicians and medical doctors previously prescribed bed rest to people with heart failure, fearing exercise could potentially lead to additional health problems.

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Now, research from the University of Missouri has found exercise can improve the health of blood vessels in the heart for people with heart failure. The finding is based on a study looking at swine, which have very similar blood vessels and heart muscles – both structurally and functionally – as humans. Continue reading

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Exercise benefits your heart, despite your age …

Eat less; move more; live longer – no matter how old you are. Yes, the mantra of this blog applies to all of us, especially the old and out of shape …

A new study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showed that older individuals have the most to gain and may gain the most from rehabilitation programs, but this need is often ignored.

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Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age, report investigators in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier. Their results showed that the patients who benefited most from cardiac rehabilitation were those who started out with the greatest physical impairment. Continue reading

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Gain years keeping heart disease at bay – AHA

Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death, killing about 650,000 people every year. Life expectancy is cut short by the disease and the health problems that stem from it. But by how much – and what can people do to take those years back?

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For heart attacks alone, more than 16 years of life are lost on average, according to American Heart Association statistics. Researchers estimate people with heart failure lose nearly 10 years of life compared to those without heart failure.

“In the past few years, there have been tremendous gains in reducing cardiovascular disease and increasing life expectancy, but we’ve hit a plateau,” said Paul Muntner, an epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Some people are at greater risk than others.

African Americans, for example, are more likely to have high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, and they live 3.4 years less than their white counterparts. Among the six largest Asian American subgroups, research shows Asian Indian, Filipino and Vietnamese populations lose the most years of life to heart disease – up to 18 years for some – compared with white people.

The risk of early death also is high for people with a history of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015, researchers found people with all three conditions had their life expectancy cut by 15 years compared to those without any of the health problems. Even having just two of the conditions reduced life expectancy by 12 years.

But there is hope. Continue reading

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DASH Diet can reduce heart failure risk in people under 75

First of all, just what is the DASH Diet? The healthy DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).
The DASH diet emphasizes the eating of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products while reducing consumption of salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet but differs in recommending low-fat dairy products and excluding alcoholic beverages.
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A diet proven to have beneficial effects on high blood pressure also may reduce the risk of heart failure in people under age 75, according to a study led by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

 

The observational study of more than 4,500 people showed that those individuals under 75 who most closely adhered to the DASH Diet had a significantly lower risk of developing heart failure than those whose eating habits were least in keeping with the diet.

The research is published in the current online issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Continue reading

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Diet and regular soft drinks linked to risk factors for heart disease – Study

I  have written repeatedly about the dangers of soft drinks, both sugary and artificial sweeteners. You can search the subject by punching soft drinks into the S E A R C H box at the right.

Drinking more than one soft drink daily — whether it’s regular or diet — may be associated with an increase in the risk factors for heart disease, Framingham researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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“We were struck by the fact that it didn’t matter whether it was a diet or regular soda that participants consumed, the association with increased risk was present,” said Ramachandran Vasan, M.D., senior author of the Framingham Heart Study and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “In those who drink one or more soft drinks daily, there was an association of an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.”

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors including excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL “good” cholesterol) and high fasting glucose levels. The presence of three or more of the factors increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Excess belly fat – Sign of high risk for heart attack or stroke

I have written about central obesity – excess belly fat – previously. You can find further details on my Page – How dangerous is a big belly?

Nearly two-thirds of people at high risk of heart disease and stroke have excess belly fat, according to results of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) EUROASPIRE V survey presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Excess fat around the middle of the body (central obesity) is a marker of abnormal fat distribution. This belly fat is bad for the heart, even in people who are not otherwise overweight or obese.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Europe. Each year in Europe there are more than 11 million new cases of cardiovascular disease and 3.9 million deaths caused by cardiovascular disease. Elimination of risk behaviours would prevent at least 80% of cardiovascular diseases.

The study also found that less than half (47%) of those on antihypertensive medication reached the blood pressure target of less than 140/90 mmHg (less than 140/85 mmHg in patients with self-reported diabetes). Among those taking lipid-lowering drugs, only 43% attained the LDL cholesterol target of less than 2.5 mmol/L. In addition, many participants not taking any antihypertensive and/or lipid-lowering therapy had elevated blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol. Among patients being treated for type 2 diabetes, 65% achieved the blood sugar target of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) less than <7.0%.

Professor Kornelia Kotseva, chair of the EUROASPIRE Steering Committee from Imperial College London, UK, said: “The survey shows that large proportions of individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease have unhealthy lifestyle habits and uncontrolled blood pressure, lipids and diabetes.” Continue reading

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Have a healthy heart – Infographic

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As you can see, majority of the risk factors that can hurt your heart health can be prevented – the answer lies in your hands.

These are risk factors along with the preventive options:

  • High blood cholesterol – Eat right by having a balanced and healthy diet. Your fasting blood glucose should preferably be less than 100 mg/dL.
  • High blood pressure – Manage blood pressure through exercise and medications. Keep the numbers below 120/80 mm Hg.
  • Physical inactivity – Get moving and stand more. Spend 150 minutes of moderate intensive activity per week, like brisk walking. And opt for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Eat less; move more; live longer. A sedentary lifestyle is a killer. Check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?
  • Obesity and overweight – Lose weight to find your healthy weight. Target a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 25. Check out my Page – How dangerous is a big belly?
  • Smoking – Stop smoking altogether, quit it. Your alcohol intake should be within limits too. Check out my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you?
  • Diabetes – Reduce blood sugar by being conscious and careful of your food and beverages intake.

You will be surprised to know that lowering the risk of heart disease also reduces the chances of getting cancer!

One good thing that comes out of this infographic is that about 27% people live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

All this information would help only if you take some positive steps towards taking care of your heart.

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Filed under American Heart Association, blood pressure, diabetes, heart, heart disease, heart health brain health, heart problems, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, Smoking dangers

Cycling for the elderly – Video

I stumbled across this and thought it might interest you. As regular readers know I am a 78-year-old guy who lives in Chicago and rides his bike daily. I am most grateful for the ability to do just that. There are many seniors, perhaps someone in your family, who have lost some mobility. In the course of writing this blog I have become aware of just how damaging a sedentary lifestyle can be. I thought there were some interesting ideas expressed in the video (less than 3 minutes) which was produced by the BBC in Britain.

To read further on the effects of a sedentary lifestyle check out the following posts:

Combat that sedentary lifestyle with more movement – Harvard

Fitness over 50 – Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard

A physiologic link between heart disease and a sedentary lifestyle

Exercise may help counter health risks of a sedentary lifestyle

Physical activity cuts heart disease risks for seniors – AHA

Tony

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Physical activity cuts heart disease risk for seniors – AHA

Again there are echoes of our mantra, eat less; move move; live longer. 

Adults in their early 60s, who spend less time sitting and more time engaged in light to vigorous physical activity, benefit with healthier levels of heart and vessel disease markers, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

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The results from increased physical activity were found to be particularly good among women.

Physical inactivity is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death from cardiovascular disease. Physical activity’s protective effect is likely due in part to its impact on biomarkers in the blood that help predict atherosclerosis risk.

“The 60 to 64 age range represents an important transition between work and retirement, when lifestyle behaviors tend to change,” said Ahmed Elhakeem, Ph.D., study author and senior research associate in epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. “It may, therefore, be an opportunity to promote increased physical activity.

“In addition, cardiovascular disease risk is higher in older adults. It’s important to understand how activity might influence risk in this age group,” Elhakeem said. “We found it’s important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity.” Continue reading

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Omega 3 supplements have little or no heart or vascular health benefit – Study

As a supplement taker, this was not very positive news. I have read a lot about omega 3 and omega 6 fats.

Omega 3 supplements have little or no effect on the risk of heart disease, stroke or death – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted globally because of a common belief that that it will protect against heart disease.

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But a new UEA-led Cochrane review – the international gold standard for high quality, trusted health information – finds that omega 3 supplements offer little, if any, benefit.

Omega 3 is a type of fat. Small amounts are essential for good health, and they can be found in the food that we eat. Continue reading

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Exercise trumps genetics when it comes to heart disease

This is a case of the more the merrier as far as I am concerned. Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. And here, we have fresh research extolling the virtues of exercise in preventing heart disease.

Exercise, especially cardio fitness, could outweigh genetics when it comes to heart disease, according to new research.

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The study, published in the journal Circulation, showed strength and cardiorespiratory fitness lowered the risk for heart disease across the board – whether people were categorized with low, intermediate or high genetic risk.

“Genes don’t have to determine destiny,” said Dr. Erik Ingelsson, lead study author and professor of medicine at Stanford University. “You can impact your risk by being more fit.”

I can’t say it enough times – take responsibility for your health. Don’t be blaming problems on your genes.

The study examined 482,702 people in England, Scotland and Wales who participated in the UK Biobank, an international research project that recruited participants between ages 40 and 69 years old from 2006 to 2010. Researchers followed those who didn’t have any signs of heart disease for about a decade. They tracked activity and exercise through questionnaires, grip strength measurements and other tests.

“It’s was a very consistent pattern for all of these different measures,” according to Ingelsson, who said he believes it is the largest such study. “All were associated with lower risk of disease in the future.”

Researchers specifically investigated the genetic profiles for those at highest risk for coronary heart disease and a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, or AFib. Those at the highest risk who also had the highest levels of cardiorespiratory fitness – conducted through oxygen and effort measurements on a stationary bicycle – cut their coronary heart disease risk by 49 percent and their AFib risk by 60 percent.

The research is important – and timely, said Dr. Russell Pate, a professor in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Exercise Science in the Arnold School of Public Health.

“They’ve demonstrated that physical activity and fitness were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes across a continuum of persons,” Pate said. “For the public, that’s an important message. You can’t eliminate genetic risk, but you can absolutely attenuate the effects.”

Pate just finished a term on a committee that writes the federal Physical Activity Guidelines. The group’s advisory report was released last month and will be the foundation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ policy recommendations on how physical activity can promote health and reduce the risk of disease. The advisory group’s recommendations have a chapter emphasizing the importance of exercise with people who have chronic conditions.

The latest research is “added ammunition in making the case that promotion of physical activity deserves a prominent place in public health,” Pate said.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, though there are proven ways to lower risk. People often hear about risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess weight. Now, the expanding field of genetics can provide more information, Pate said.

“We’re in a new era in terms of people being able to know their risk status,” he said. “We can now provide information at a new and higher level.”

Ingelsson and the study authors suggested it could lead to individualized strength-training and aerobic programs to help people counteract their genetic risk for heart disease.

But one important question to answer, and a potential future area of study, Ingelsson said, is whether that knowledge truly is power. If we know that lifestyle choices like exercise could offset our genetic risk for disease, how likely are we to start that healthier lifestyle?

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