Heart

Regular Exercise Critical for Heart Health, Longevity

Workout.ExerciseDictThe majority of citizens in developed countries should not be concerned by potential harm from exercise but rather by the lack of exercise in their lives, according to a clinical perspective published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology from the ACC Sports and Exercise Cardiology Leadership Council. According to the council, small amounts of physical activity, including standing, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but more exercise leads to even greater reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

“The evidence with regard to exercise continues to unfold and educate the cardiovascular clinical community,” said JACC Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D. “The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity, while the danger is two-fold: to not exercise at all or to exercise intensely, without due preparation.”

The council found that moderate and vigorous intensity exercise lower mortality risk in different populations around the globe. Increasing the amount of moderate intensity exercise a person engages in results in increased reductions in cardiovascular disease mortality; however, the reductions in cardiovascular mortality benefits from vigorous intensity exercise do level out at a certain point.

There is no evidence for an upper limit to exercise-induced health benefits and all amounts of both moderate and vigorous intensity exercise result in a reduction of both all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality compared to physical inactivity.

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Source: ScienceDaily, 18 January 2016.

Shift Workers Who Give Blood May Reduce Their Risk of Heart Disease

Body.Blood.CellsAustrian researchers have found that jetlag has severe effects on red blood cells, possibly explaining the high incidence of heart disease seen in shift workers. However, these effects can be counterbalanced by fresh, young red blood cells – making blood donations a potential therapy for shift workers.

The scientists, led by Dr Margit Egg (University of Innsbruck), worked on zebrafish (Danio rerio), a model organism which, like humans, is active during the day. The fish were subjected to alternate short (7 hour) and long (21 hour) days, resembling shift patterns common in industry. It was found that “jetlagged” animals showed higher numbers of aged red blood cells, which accumulated in the blood vessels.

Large aggregates of old red blood cells in the vessels are risky, because this increases the chance of a clot that could lead to a heart attack. This may explain why shift workers have a 30% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, the decreased functionality of the aged cells reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

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Source: Medical News Today.


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Omega-3s Reduce Deadly Blood Clot Risks

Body.Disease.Heart1Encompassing the conditions of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the third most common cardiovascular illness after acute coronary syndrome and stroke.

IJ Hansen-Krone, from University of Tromso (Norway), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 23,621 men and women, ages 25 to 97 years, who were enrolled in the Tromso Study which followed subjects for an average of 16 years.

During this period, there were 536 documented cases of VTE. Through data analysis, researchers ascertained that those participants who ate three or more servings of fish per week reduced their risk of VTE by 22%. Adding fish oil dietary supplements further enhanced the dietary benefits, with omega-3 dietary supplement consumers experiencing a 48% lower risk of VTE. The study authors conclude that: “a high weekly intake ([at or more than] 3 times/week) of fish was associated with a slightly reduced risk of [venous thromboembolism], and the addition of fish oil supplements strengthened the inverse effect.”

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Source: WorldHealth.net


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Picking up Healthy Habits in Your 30s and 40s Can Slash Heart Disease Risk

Support.Healthy.LivingThe heart is more forgiving than you may think – especially to adults who try to take charge of their health, a new Northwestern Medicine study has found.

When adults in their 30s and 40s decide to drop unhealthy habits that are harmful to their heart and embrace healthy lifestyle changes, they can control and potentially even reverse the natural progression of coronary artery disease, scientists found.

“It’s not too late,” said Bonnie Spring lead investigator of the study and a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “You’re not doomed if you’ve hit young adulthood and acquired some bad habits. You can still make a change and it will have a benefit for your heart.”

On the flip side, scientists also found that if people drop healthy habits or pick up more bad habits as they age, there is measurable, detrimental impact on their coronary arteries.

“If you don’t keep up a healthy lifestyle, you’ll see the evidence in terms of your risk of heart disease,” she said.

Spring said the healthy changes people in the study made are attainable and sustainable. She offers some tips for those who want to embrace a healthy lifestyle at any age:

  • Keep a healthy body weight.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity five times a week.
  • No more than one alcoholic drink a day for women, no more than two for men.
  • Eat a healthy diet, high in fiber, low in sodium with lots of fruit and vegetables.

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Source: Medical News Today.


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New Cause of High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease Discovered: Phosphate-Rich Foods

Body.Disease.Cardio1Phosphate-rich foods include processed cheese, Parmesan, cola, baking powder and most processed foods. Phosphates are widely used in the food industry as preservatives and pH stabilizers. When large quantities of phosphates are consumed, production of the FGF23 hormone is stimulated, which has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Reinhold Erben, the head of the Unit of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Biophysics at the Vetmeduni Vienna, warns that “our phosphate consumption is relevant for our state of health.”

A raised level of FGF23 puts increased strain on the heart. Reinhold Erben explains that, “In patients with chronic renal disease, both the phosphate levels and the levels of FGF23 are chronically high. This often leads to cardiovascular disease.”

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Source: Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. “New cause of high blood pressure, heart disease discovered: Phosphate-rich foods.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2014.

Molecular Secrets Behind Resveratrol’s Health Benefits Revealed

Support.Molecule1Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing “bad cholesterol,” heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism.

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now identified one of the molecular pathways that resveratrol uses to achieve its beneficial action. They found that resveratrol controls the body’s inflammatory response as a binding partner with the estrogen receptor without stimulating estrogenic cell proliferation, which is good news for its possible use as a model for drug design.

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Source: The Scripps Research Institute. “Molecular secrets behind resveratrol’s health benefits revealed.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014.

Most Important Factor for Women over 30 to Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Body.Disease.Heart1From the age of 30 onwards, physical inactivity exerts a greater impact on a woman’s lifetime risk of developing heart disease than the other well-known risk factors, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. This includes overweight, the finding show, prompting the researchers to suggest that greater effort needs to be made to promote exercise.

The researchers wanted to quantify the changing contribution made to a woman’s likelihood of developing heart disease across her lifetime for each of the known top four risk factors: excess weight (high BMI); smoking; high blood pressure; and physical inactivity.

Together, these four risk factors account for over half the global prevalence of heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in high income countries.

The researchers found that up to the age of 30, smoking was the most important contributor to heart disease. But from age 30 until the late 80s, low physical activity levels were responsible for higher levels of population risk than any of the other risk factors.

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Source: BMJ-British Medical Journal. “From age 30 onwards, inactivity has greatest impact on women’s lifetime heart disease risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2014.

Sugar Implicated in Cardiovascular Disease Risk Independent of Weight Gain

Food.Sugar1Evidence that sugar has a direct effect on risk factors for heart disease, and is likely to impact on blood pressure, independent of weight gain has been discovered in a study. The researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of all international studies that compared the effects of higher versus lower added sugar consumption on blood pressure and lipids (blood fats or cholesterol) – both of which are important cardiovascular risk-factors.

“Our analysis confirmed that sugars contribute to cardiovascular risk, independent of the effect of sugars on body weight,” says Dr Te Morenga.

“Although the effects of sugars on blood pressure and lipids are relatively modest, our findings support public health recommendations to reduce added sugar in our diets as one of the measures which might be expected to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular diseases.”

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Source: University of Otago. “Sugar implicated in cardiovascular disease risk independent of weight gain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2014.

Virtual Artificial Heart Implantation: Advances Made by Scientists

Body.Heart1The first virtual implantation of a pioneering artificial heart has been performed. The artificial heart was implanted into an undersized adolescent, and supported the boy for 11 days before he underwent a heart transplant. “3-D heart models and performance of virtual heart implantations are no longer the inventions of science fiction. They are happening and they are impacting medicine, medical education and quality of life right now,” one expert says.

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Source: Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Virtual artificial heart implantation: Advances made by scientists.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2014.

Heart Attack Risk Rises After Anger Outbursts

Body.Disease.Heart1Harvard researchers who analyzed decades of evidence on links between anger and cardiovascular events, concluded that in the 2 hours following an outburst of anger, there is a higher risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event.

The systematic review and meta-analysis – thought to be the first to examine links between anger and cardiovascular outcomes – is published in the European Heart Journal.

First author Dr. Elizabeth Mostofsky and colleagues found that – compared with when they are not angry – a person’s risk of heart attack rises nearly five-fold, and the risk of stroke more than three-fold, in the 2 hours following an outburst of anger. Their risk of abnormal heartbeat or ventricular arrhythmia also goes up.

The absolute risk of heart attack, stroke or arrhythmia increased in people who already had a previous history of heart problems, and it also increased the more frequently they were angry.

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Source: Medical News Today.