Cardiovascular disease is leading cause of death worldwide; High blood pressure, high cholesterol, dietary risks and air pollution leading causes of cardiovascular disease worldwide.
Key takeaways from the report:
Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of cardiovascular death, accounting for 9.44 million deaths in 2021 and 185 million DALYs.
High systolic blood pressure remains the leading modifiable risk factor for premature cardiovascular deaths, accounting for 10.8 million CV deaths and 11.3 million deaths overall in 2021. The all-cause DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) due to high blood pressure were 2,770 per 100,000 people.
Dietary risks accounted for 6.58 million CV deaths and 8 million deaths overall in 2021. Dietary risks include food types that are under-consumed globally (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, milk, fiber, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and poly unsaturated fatty acids) and over-consumed (red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fatty acids and sodium). All-cause DALYs due to dietary risks were 2,340 per 100,000 people.
Central Asia, Central Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe were the regions with the highest rates of CVD burden attributable to elevated systolic blood pressure. The regions with the highest rates of CVD burden attributable to dietary risk were Central Asia, Oceania and Eastern Europe.
Central Asia had the highest age-standardized total CVD mortality at 516.9 deaths per 100,000. In contrast, high-income Asia Pacific had the lowest age-standardized total CVD mortality at 76.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
Since 1990, Australasia had the largest percent reduction (64.2%) in age-standardized CVD per 100,000 out of all other regions. This percent decrease was highest in ischemic heart disease at 71.8%.
Symptoms of cardiovascular problems run the gamut. Some – like chest pain during a heart attack or a droopy face during a stroke – are sudden and severe, while others last years with varying intensity. Factors such as sex, cognitive function and depression can complicate the recognition or diagnosis of symptoms, according to the American Heart Association.
In a new report, experts detail the latest knowledge on cardiovascular disease symptoms with the goal to improve patient care and identify where more research is needed.
“Symptoms are a big part of how we assess a patient when they come to see us in clinic and how we make decisions about what the best treatment is for an individual,” said Megan Streur, a nurse practitioner at the Heart Institute at UW Medical Center in Seattle. “But at the same time, there’s a lot that we still don’t understand about the variability of symptoms in the same condition across different individuals.”
Taking blood pressure readings from both arms and using the higher reading would more accurately capture who has high blood pressure – and is at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and death – than relying on readings from a single arm, new research suggests.
While current recommendations call for using the higher arm reading, there was previously no evidence in the scientific literature to support the practice, which isn’t routinely followed, according to the study. The findings appeared this week in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
“If you are only doing one arm, you can’t know which is the higher-reading arm,” said lead study author Christopher Clark, a clinical senior lecturer in primary care at the University of Exeter Medical School in Devon, England. “And if you don’t catch high blood pressure, you can’t treat it. We can now support the adoption of using the higher reading from both arms.”
Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Blood pressure is considered high if the systolic reading – the top number – is 130 mmHg or more, or the diastolic reading – the bottom number – is 80 mmHg or more. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
In a 2019 scientific statement detailing proper blood pressure measurement, the AHA recommended taking readings from both arms during an initial patient visit and using the arm with the higher reading for measurements at subsequent visits. The statement also called for making sure to use the proper cuff size based on the patient’s arm circumference, among other guidance.
Eating two or more servings of avocado weekly was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and substituting avocado for certain fat-containing foods like butter, cheese or processed meats was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease events, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association.
Avocados contain dietary fiber, unsaturated fats especially monounsaturated fat (healthy fats) and other favorable components that have been associated with good cardiovascular health. Clinical trials have previously found avocados have a positive impact on cardiovascular risk factors including high cholesterol.
Researchers believe this is the first, large, prospective study to support the positive association between higher avocado consumption and lower cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.
Replacing table salt with a reduced-sodium, added-potassium ‘salt substitute’ is cost-saving and prevents death and disease in people at high risk of having a stroke, according to new research. Salt substitution has been shown to reduce stroke risk by 14 percent and the number of strokes and heart attacks combined by 13 percent, but this new analysis revealed that the costs saved as a result outweighed the cost of the intervention.
Observational research has suggested that light alcohol consumption may provide heart-related health benefits, but in a large study published in JAMA Network Open, alcohol intake at all levels was linked with higher risks of cardiovascular disease. The findings, which are published by a team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, suggest that the supposed benefits of alcohol consumption may actually be attributed to other lifestyle factors that are common among light to moderate drinkers.
The study included 371,463 adults—with an average age of 57 years and an average alcohol consumption of 9.2 drinks per week—who were participants in the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database and research resource containing in-depth genetic and health information. Consistent with earlier studies, investigators found that light to moderate drinkers had the lowest heart disease risk, followed by people who abstained from drinking. People who drank heavily had the highest risk. However, the team also found that light to moderate drinkers tended to have healthier lifestyles than abstainers—such as more physical activity and vegetable intake, and less smoking. Taking just a few lifestyle factors into account significantly lowered any benefit associated with alcohol consumption.
Eating about ½ cup of walnuts every day for two years modestly lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as “bad cholesterol,” and reduced the number of total LDL particles and small LDL particles in healthy, older adults, according to new research published today in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation.
Healthy older adults who ate a handful of walnuts (about ½ cup) a day for two years modestly lowered their level of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol levels. Consuming walnuts daily also reduced the number of LDL particles, a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.
Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), which have been shown to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.
For adults both young and old, eating a nutritious, plant-based diet may lower the risk for heart attacks and other types of cardiovascular disease, two new studies show.
Both studies published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One found eating a plant-centered diet in young adulthood lowered the risk in middle age for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and several other cardiovascular conditions. A second found eating plant-based foods that lower cholesterol levels reduced the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women.
While the research underscores the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t suggest strict vegetarianism is necessary to reap heart-healthy benefits.
“People can choose among plant foods that are as close to natural as possible, not highly processed,” lead author of the young adult study, Yuni Choi, said in a news release. Choi is a postdoctoral researcher in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis. “We think that individuals can include animal products in moderation from time to time, such as non-fried poultry, non-fried fish, eggs and low-fat dairy.”
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and premature death worldwide. And key to treating patients with conditions ranging from chest pain to stroke is understanding the intricacies of how the cells around arteries and other blood vessels work to control blood pressure. While the importance of metals like potassium and calcium in this process are known, a new discovery about a critical and underappreciated role of another metal – zinc – offers a potential new pathway for therapies to treat hypertension.
All the body’s functions depend on arteries channeling oxygen-rich blood – energy – to where it’s needed, and smooth muscle cells within these vessels direct how fast or slow the blood gets to each destination. As smooth muscles contract, they narrow the artery and increase the blood pressure, and as the muscle relaxes, the artery expands and blood pressure falls. If the blood pressure is too low the blood flow will not be enough to sustain a person’s body with oxygen and nutrients. If the blood pressure is too high, the blood vessels risk being damaged or even ruptured.
I started writing about stair climbing several years ago when my home town of Chicago suffered an unusually bitter winter. At the time I focused on the weight-bearing aspect of the exercise as well as the cardiovascular benefits. If you are interested, you can check out the beginning of a multi-part series of posts starting with: Five Reasons Stair-climbing is good for you – Part One.
A team of researchers who studied heart patients found that stair-climbing routines, whether vigorous or moderate, provide significant cardiovascular and muscular benefits.
A team of McMaster University researchers who studied heart patients found that stair-climbing routines, whether vigorous or moderate, provide significant cardiovascular and muscular benefits.
Consuming a plant-based diet can lower blood pressure even if small amounts of meat and dairy are consumed too, according to new research from the University of Warwick.
Published online by a team from Warwick Medical School in the Journal of Hypertension, they argue that any effort to increase plant-based foods in your diet and limit animal products is likely to benefit your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease. They conducted a systematic review of previous research from controlled clinical trials to compare seven plant-based diets, several of which included animal products in small amounts, to a standardised control diet and the impact that these had on individuals’ blood pressure.
Plant-based diets support high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, limiting the consumption of most or all animal products (mainly meat and diary). (See Notes to Editors for further details) Continue reading →
Genes and cardiovascular health each contribute in an additive way to a person’s risk of dementia, U.S. researchers including Sudha Seshadri, MD, and Claudia Satizabal, PhD, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) reported July 20 in the journal Neurology.
The study was conducted in 1,211 participants in the Framingham Heart Study and involved collaborators from Boston University.
Participants with a high genetic risk score based on common genetic variants, including having an allele called apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4, were at a 2.6-fold higher risk of developing dementia than subjects who had a low risk score and did not carry the APOE ε4 allele.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can be useful in widely spread studies, but you need to be careful about relying too much on it personally. I posted on it previously and you can read Don’t get hung up on your BMI – Body Mass Index for more info.
Young Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian. Six foot two inches tall, 257 pounds, BMI 33. Not what most of us would call obese.
The following is from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter:
Having obesity increases risk for cardiovascular disease and other metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, but a normal BMI also does not guarantee good heart health. Here are tips based on what we know to date about metabolic health and weight: Continue reading →
Researchers have developed a method to estimate cardiorespiratory fitness levels that could be applied to data captured by wearable fitness trackers during activities of daily life. This could facilitate testing for those with low exercise tolerance and may reduce the need for medically supervised fitness testing. The study is published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Cardiorespiratory fitness is the ability of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to deliver enough oxygen to the muscles during physical activity. People with low cardiorespiratory fitness may have an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Testing the amount of oxygen the body uses during exercise (VO2max) can assess these risks and may also function as a preventive measure. However, people must typically exercise to exhaustion to measure VO2max, and such testing requires medical supervision and specialized equipment. In addition, it may not be safe for all who need to undergo cardiorespiratory fitness testing to exercise at maximum effort. Methods that use lower intensity exercise (submaximal) do not always provide results as accurate as maximal testing. Continue reading →
A plant-based diet may be key to lowering risk for heart disease. Penn State researchers determined that diets with reduced sulfur amino acids — which occur in protein-rich foods, such as meats, dairy, nuts and soy — were associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. The team also found that the average American consumes almost two and a half times more sulfur amino acids than the estimated average requirement.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. A subcategory, called sulfur amino acids, including methionine and cysteine, play various roles in metabolism and health.
“For decades it has been understood that diets restricting sulfur amino acids were beneficial for longevity in animals,” said John Richie, a professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. “This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that excessive dietary intake of sulfur amino acids may be related to chronic disease outcomes in humans.” Continue reading →
I have just run across another study that backs up the blog mantra of eat less; move more; live longer and its corollary use it or lose it.
Health experts have warned for years that men and women with excess abdominal fat run a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems. However, individuals with abdominal or central obesity are not the only ones in danger, according to a new study, reported by Elton Alisson | Agência FAPESP
The study found that physically active men who were not overweight but whose waist-stature ratio (WSR) was close to the risk threshold were also more likely to develop heart disorders than individuals with lower WSRs.Continue reading →