Health and Fitness

Short-Term Heart Disease Risks Of Combination Menopausal Hormone Therapy Confirmed By WHI Data

New analyses from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) confirm that combination hormone therapy increases the risk of heart disease in healthy postmenopausal women. Researchers report a trend toward an increased risk of heart disease during the first two years of hormone therapy among women who began therapy within 10 years of menopause, and a more marked elevation of risk among women who began hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause. Analyses indicate that overall a woman's risk of heart disease more than doubles within the first two years of taking combination HT. The difference in the initial level of risk does not appear related to age, based on findings that the increased risk of heart disease was similar between women in their 50s on combination hormone therapy and women in their 60s. The study is in the Feb. 16, 2010, Annals of Internal Medicine. The WHI is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

High Levels Of Vitamin D In Older People Can Reduce Heart Disease And Diabetes

Middle aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin D could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43%, according to researchers at the University of Warwick. A team of researchers at Warwick Medical School carried out a systematic literature review of studies examining vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders. Cardiometabolic disorders include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods and is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are good sources of vitamin D, and it is also available as a dietary supplement. Researchers looked at 28 studies including 99, 745 participants across a variety of ethnic groups including men and women. The studies revealed a significant association between high levels of vitamin D and a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (33% compared to low levels of vitamin D), type 2 diabetes (55% reduction) and metabolic syndrome (51% reduction).

Experts Identify Why Women And African Americans Face A Greater Risk Of Dying From Heart Disease Than White Men And What Can Be Done About It

The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) announced an educational event for the public highlighting the gender and racial disparities in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The "Know What Counts" educational program titled, "The Path to Health Care Equity: Identifying and Solving Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Health Care in the New Century, " will feature a distinguished physician panel, along with a keynote address by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. The event, which is co-sponsored by the Association of Black Cardiologists, Mended Hearts, and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, will be held Tuesday, March 2, from noon to 3 p.m. at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. "This event will allow us to engage in a constructive conversation about gender and racial disparities that currently exist in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, " said Mark Turco, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director, Center for Cardiac & Vascular Research at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Significant Hazards Discovered In New Research On Secondhand Smoke

New research by the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (OTRC) shows that concentrations of secondhand tobacco smoke inhaled in smoking rooms of restaurants and bars are exceptionally high and hazardous to health. According to the study, which appears in the center's new report "Tobacco Smoke Pollution in Oklahoma Workplaces, " the average particulate level measured in restaurant smoking rooms was beyond the hazardous extreme based on levels established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The level found in bars was even worse. "These levels are exceptionally high and not healthy for the employees and patrons exposed to particles found in secondhand smoke, " said Heather Basara, M.D., an industrial hygienist and lead investigator on the research. Tobacco smoke levels were evaluated based on measurements of very fine suspended particulates in the air, particles smaller than 2.5 microns, which come primarily from tobacco smoke. Levels averaged 380 В g/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) in the restaurant smoking rooms tested, and 655 В g/m3 in the bars.

Use Of Multiple Genetic Markers Not Associated With Improved Ability To Predict Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease In Women

Creation of a genetic risk score comprised of multiple genetic markers associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) was not associated with significant improvement in CVD risk prediction in a study that included more than 19, 000 women, according to a study in the February 17 issue of JAMA. "Risk prediction is a central part of cardiovascular disease prevention and refining prediction strategies remains important for targeting treatment recommendations. One area of potential improvement has been the discovery of genetic markers for cardiovascular disease as well as intermediate phenotypes [physical manifestations] such as cholesterol and blood pressure. Recent efforts using genome-wide association studies have greatly expanded the discovery of genetic markers associated with cardiovascular disease, " the authors write. "While multiple genetic markers associated with cardiovascular disease have been identified by genome-wide association studies, their aggregate effect on risk beyond traditional factors is uncertain, particularly among women.

Heart Failure Worse When Right Ventricle Goes Bad

New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) suggests that the ability of right side of the heart to pump blood may be an indication of the risk of death to heart-failure patients whose condition is caused by low function by the left side of their heart. The ability of the two chambers of the heart, the left and right ventricles, to pump blood is described as ejection fraction. Healthy individuals typically have ejection fractions between 50 and 65 percent in both chambers. In findings reported in January in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, researchers at UAB say that low right-ventricular ejection fraction (RVEF) increased the risk of death in patients with systolic heart failure - heart failure associated with low left-ventricular ejection fraction. "The role of the right ventricle in chronic systolic heart failure has been overlooked for many years, in part because it was considered to be merely a passive chamber, " said Ali Ahmed, M.

Three Year Partnership Between Go Red For Women And Dona Bertarelli's Ladycat Enables Campaign To Grow By 56

The three year partnership between Dona Bertarelli, her Decision 35 catamaran Ladycat (SUI10) and Go Red for Women, the international campaign of the World Heart Federation to raise public awareness of heart disease and stroke in women, ended successfully in December 2009. "Thanks to Dona Bertarelli's support, the campaign has taken off in 47 countries, from 30 when the partnership began, increasing awareness among women of the need to look after their heart health and creating real momentum. Significant progress has also been made in raising attention among policy makers, " says Helen Alderson, CEO of the World Heart Federation. "Through Dona Bertarelli and her team's example, the messages of not smoking, eating healthily and doing regular exercise have been seen and heard in many places, both in Switzerland and abroad." Ladycat was launched in 2007 with the only all-female crew to compete in the Julius Baer Challenge, one of the most competitive single-design multihull regattas in closed waters in the world.

Immediate Risk Of Suicide And Cardiovascular Death After A Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer may increase a man's risk of suicide or cardiovascular death, especially right after diagnosis, according to a new study published online February 2 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. To study the risks men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States face, Fang Fang, M.D., of the Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and colleagues used data from over 340, 000 prostate cancer patients listed in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database between 1979 and 2004 and from the general population. The researchers compared risks in the first year and months after diagnosis. According to the study, 148 men died of suicide (mortality rate = 0.5 per 1, 000 person-years) and 6, 845 died of cardiovascular diseases (mortality rate = 21.8 per 1000 person-years). Increased risk of suicide was found during the first year, in particular the first 3 months.

Tiny Constraints In Heart Blood Flow: A Better Sign Of Blood Vessel Narrowing And Early Coronary Artery Disease

Cardiologists and heart imaging specialists at 15 medical centers in eight countries, and led by researchers at Johns Hopkins, have enrolled the first dozen patients in a year-long investigation to learn whether the subtle squeezing of blood flow through the inner layers of the heart is better than traditional SPECT nuclear imaging tests and other diagnostic radiology procedures for accurately tracking the earliest signs of coronary artery clogs. Each year, nearly 800, 000 American men and women with coronary artery disease suffer a heart attack, resulting in more than 150, 000 deaths. The latest international study of so-called CT perfusion imaging will involve the participation of some 400 men and women identified as being at higher risk of coronary artery disease because they have had symptoms of the illness, such as shortness of breath, chest pain or fatigue. All qualify for a more detailed inspection of their heart's blood vessels by cardiac catheterization, an invasive procedure in which a thin plastic tube is directly inserted into the heart's blood vessels to detect blockages and help widen each artery as needed.

Mediterranean Diet: Ingredients For A Heart-Healthy Eating Approach

In countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, heart disease is less common than in the United States. Researchers believe that foods common to Greece and southern Italy are a major reason for this difference. The February issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource covers key components of the Mediterranean diet as well as reasons why this approach is beneficial to heart health. Key components include: Eating generous amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. In most Mediterranean countries, fruits and vegetables are part of every meal. They are naturally low in fat and sodium and have no cholesterol. Many are loaded with antioxidants, which may help prevent cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Breads, pastas and rice are typically made from whole grains instead of grains that have been refined and lost some nutritional value. Whole grains provide an excellent source of fiber and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Certain types of dietary fiber also can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the overall risk of heart disease.

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