Health and Fitness

Even Younger People Should Consider Cholesterol Screening

If you think heart disease is a disease of the middle aged, think again. Experts recommend that cholesterol screening should begin as early as 20 years of age because it is a key indicator of heart-attack risk, and should be rechecked at least once every five years. Atherosclerosis begins early, says Dr. Anand Rohatgi, cardiologist with UT Southwestern Medical Center's program in preventive cardiology. Even young adults and teens can show evidence of atherosclrosis, or hardening of the arteries. If early screening reveals low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) or moderately high levels of the bad cholesterol (LDL), counseling is provided to help modify lifestyles. Those who fall into this category should be reevaluated every one or two years. "Simple measures that can reduce cholesterol levels include decreasing the amount of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of total calories consumed each day, " Dr. Rohatgi says. "Also, increasing the amount of soluble fiber by just 5 to 10 grams daily and limiting cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams per day are helpful.

New Plan Puts Heart Attacks On Fast Track

Heart attack patients won't go to the emergency room as part of a new University of Kentucky plan designed to reduce those patients' risk of dying by nearly 8 percent for every half hour shaved off the time between the ambulance and treatment at the hospital. In most cases, heart attack sufferers go straight to the cardiac catheterization lab in the UK Gill Heart Institute, where a specialized response team waits to break through the life-threatening blood clot that is causing the attack. As part of the fast-track protocol, when responding to a possible heart attack, specially trained paramedics administer a painless test called an electrocardiogram, or EKG (also called ECG), which can help detect a heart attack. If the test and other warning signs indicate the patient is in the midst of a heart attack, with the patient's consent the paramedics activate the cardiac catheterization team on their way to the UK Gill Heart Institute. Once the patient arrives, the cardiac catheterization team, led by a physician who specializes in treating heart disease, assesses the patient and the EKG to determine whether they should perform an emergency angioplasty, a minimally-invasive procedure to open blocked blood vessels.

Herbal Remedies May Increase Risk Of Dangerous Drug Interactions In Heart Patients

More and more Americans are turning to herbal remedies to help manage chronic conditions or promote general health and wellness. But many of today's popular herbal supplements, including St. John's wort, gingko biloba, garlic and even grapefruit juice can pose serious risks to people who are taking medications for heart disease, according to a review article published in the February, 9, 2010, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The use of these products is especially concerning among elderly patients who typically have co-morbidities, take multiple medications and are already at greater risk of bleeding, according to authors. "Many people have a false sense of security about these herbal products because they are seen as 'natural, '" Arshad Jahangir, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist, Mayo Clinic Arizona, adding that more than 15 million Americans reportedly use herbal remedies or high-dose vitamins. "But 'natural' doesn't always mean they are safe.

Cordis Corporation Announces Agreement With Boston Scientific To Resolve Certain Coronary Stent Patent Disputes

Cordis Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson company, announced today that it has reached an agreement with Boston Scientific resolving two Delaware litigations related to Cordis's Palmaz and Gray patents and Boston Scientific's Jang patents. Under the terms of the agreement, Cordis will receive $1.725 billion from Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson expects to record the majority of this payment as a special item in the first quarter of 2010. Boston Scientific will pay Cordis $1 billion by close of business and $725 million on Jan. 3, 2011. The cases resolved today were pending in Delaware before U.S. District Court Judge Sue Robinson. The disputes involved several coronary stent products including Cordis's Cypher stent and Boston Scientific's Liberte, Taxus Liberte and Taxus Express stents. "We are very pleased to resolve these long-standing patent disputes, " said Seth Fischer, Company Group Chairman, Cordis Corporation. Other litigation between the two companies will not be affected by this settlement, including the Cordis lawsuits against Boston Scientific's Promus Stent products.

Specialists Available To Discuss Worldwide Epidemic Of Heart Disease Among South Asians

Growing evidence shows that people of South Asian descent-regardless of where they live now-are at significantly higher risk of heart disease. As we approach American Heart Month, the team of physicians and researchers at the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital are available to discuss this epidemic, and what strategies are being used successfully to combat it. The facts about South Asians and heart disease: - South Asians are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack, and at younger ages, without prior symptoms or warning and without presenting the same risk factors as the general population. - India alone will bear 60% of the heart disease burden in the world by the middle of this decade. - The high rate of heart disease applies even to lifelong vegetarians who exercise regularly, do not smoke, and are not overweight. - More than half of heart attacks among South Asians occur before age 50, compared to an average age of 65.8 for the general male population, and 70.

Seven Signs That May Warn Of A Rare Heart Condition

As Americans look to keep their fitness resolutions and increase their physical activity, Dr. Bing Liem, cardiologist and electrophysiologist at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., is hoping to raise awareness of a critical but rare heart condition: congenital malformations of the heart or vascular system, which is to blame for the majority of sudden cardiac deaths in athletes under the age of 40. "It's always heart-wrenching to hear news of a young athlete, at the zenith of fitness, dying suddenly on the sports field, " said Dr. Liem, who estimates that up to one in 500 people have inherited heart disease that may predispose them to sudden death. "The fact that many athletes and their parents aren't cognizant of potential warning signs speaks to the importance of raising awareness of this condition." Raise Awareness, Save a Life According to Dr. Liem, there are seven top warning signs that indicate a patient may be at risk for sudden death from cardiac arrest and should see a doctor for screening: 1.

Dementia Costs UK More Than Cancer But Gets Less Research Funding, Report

A new report reveals that the burden of dementia on the UK economy is twice that of cancer, yet dementia research receives one twenty sixth of the money that goes to studying cancer, agreeing with previous studies that concluded dementia research is severely underfunded. The UK's leading research charity for dementia, the Alzheimer's Research Trust, commissioned the University of Oxford to produce the report, "Dementia 2010". The charity's Chief Executive, Rebecca Wood, told the press that: "The true impact of dementia has been ignored for too long. The UK's dementia crisis is worse than we feared." "This report shows that dementia is the greatest medical challenge of the 21st century, " said Wood. Following in the wake of the government's National Dementia Strategy, the charity's new major report reveals that dementia costs the UK economy В 23 billion a year and affects 820, 000 people in the UK, 15 per cent more than previously thought. The bulk of the В 23 billion of annual cost is the В 12.

Hospitals Report Low Compliance With Antibiotic Prophylaxis Guidelines, Australia

Many hospitals are not complying with national guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis in cardiac surgery, particularly those regarding the duration of antibiotic administration, according to the results of research published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Timothy Haydon, an intensivist at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, and his co-authors conducted two point-prevalence surveys of intensive care units in 24 public and 27 private hospitals performing cardiac surgery in Australia in 2004 and 2008. The surveys showed that the use of antibiotic prophylaxis protocols for cardiac surgery patients increased from 50 per cent of private hospitals in 2004 to 69 per cent in 2008, and from 58 per cent of public hospitals in 2004 to 87 per cent in 2008. But compliance with Australian therapeutic guidelines for both drug choice and duration of administration was low, Dr Haydon said, with just 10 per cent and 12 per cent of all hospitals reporting full compliance for coronary artery graft surgery (CAGS) and 4 per cent and 8 per cent for valve surgery, in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

Lower Risk Using Radial Access For Cardiac Catheterizations

Cardiac catheterizations have been a groundbreaking tool in the field of cardiology. This procedure offers a minimally invasive means for obtaining important information about the heart and its blood vessels, while also providing a less invasive treatment for certain heart conditions. "A cardiac catheterization is a very important test that allows interventional cardiologists to see the heart as it pumps blood. The information gathered during this procedure cannot be collected by any other means, " said Interventional Cardiologist Kimberly Skelding, M.D., Director of Geisinger's Women's Heart and Vascular Health Program and Director of Cardiovascular Genomics and Cardiovascular Research at the Henry Hood Center for Health Research. Typically, the catheter is introduced into the body through a vein or artery, usually in the leg, and is guided toward the heart. Although doctors in the United States are increasingly utilizing the radial artery (in the wrist) as an entry point, it is still used less than 10% of the time, according to Dr.

FDA Approves Novel Study Of Neurostimulation As Treatment For Heart Disease

The FDA recently approved the first study of neurostimulation as a treatment for heart failure, a chronic disease that affects nearly six million Americans and is the leading cause of hospitalization in America. "Despite our best efforts to treat heart failure with current drugs, patients with advanced heart failure continue to deteriorate, " said Dr. Guillermo Torre-Amione, heart failure specialist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and principal investigator for the study. "There is an urgent need to improve treatment for these patients." Heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle can't pump effectively enough to meet the body's need for blood and oxygen. Neurostimulation, which is currently used to treat certain forms of pain, activates nerves in the spine to create changes in blood flow, potentially improving the heart's ability to pump effectively. This stimulation may improve blood pressure and reduce the number of fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Historical data shows connections between the brain, the nervous system and the heart, but no one has attempted to harness this relationship for therapeutic results, said Torre, who is developing the idea of using neurostimulation to treat heart failure.

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