Many people know treating high blood pressure reduces the odds of a heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Now, a new study suggests another added benefit: a lower risk of lesions in the brain that increase the chances of dementia, stroke and falls in older adults.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, included 199 women and men age 75 and older. They all had systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 150 or higher and brain MRIs showing lesions known as white matter hyperintensity lesions that are common in older adults.
Half of the participants were given medication to lower their systolic blood pressure to 145. The other half were given medication to decrease it to 130 or lower. After three years, MRIs showed fewer new lesions had developed in the white matter of participants whose systolic blood pressure was 130 or lower than in those whose blood pressure target was 145.
Sticking to a plant-rich diet that can reduce high blood pressure may also lower the risk of heart failure in people under the age of 75.
This was the conclusion of a study that a team at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, led to assess the impact of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan on heart failure.
They report their findings in a paper that now features in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 5.7 million adults with heart failure in the United States.
More than 2.5 million Americans are living with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). AFib is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
What doctors and researchers currently understand about treating AFib stems mainly from whether a patient has been diagnosed with the condition or not. University of Minnesota researchers are urging the medical community to take a closer look, specifically at AFib burden.
AFib burden refers to the amount of AFib that an individual has. The goal of the scientific statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation is to increase knowledge and awareness by healthcare professionals of effective, state-of-the-art science related to the causes, prevention, detection, management, and future research needs related to AFib burden.
For people living with both Type 2 diabetes and heart failure, taking an aspirin each day appears to lower the risk of dying or being hospitalized for heart failure, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session. But the data also reveal aspirin use may increase the risk of nonfatal heart attack or stroke, a somewhat contradictory finding that surprised researchers.
The study is the first to assess aspirin as a preventive measure for patients who have both diabetes and heart failure. Aspirin, a blood thinner, is strongly recommended for patients who have previously had a heart attack or stroke, but guidelines are unclear regarding its use as a preventive measure for patients who have cardiovascular risk factors but no history of heart attack or stroke. Previous studies in people who have not had those types of health events have shown conflicting evidence of aspirin’s potential benefits in the general population. In patients with heart failure, some studies suggest a daily aspirin may even be harmful.
About 27 million people in the U.S. have Type 2 diabetes and about 6.5 million U.S. adults have heart failure, a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Each condition is associated with an elevated risk of cardiac events, including heart attack and stroke. This study sheds new light on the potential risks and benefits of aspirin for people with both conditions.
Not being employed linked with greater likelihood of death than history of diabetes or stroke.
Unemployment is associated with a 50% higher risk of death in patients with heart failure, according to research presented today at Heart Failure 2017 and the 4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure. The observational study in more than 20,000 heart failure patients found that not being employed was linked with a greater likelihood of death than history of diabetes or stroke.
“The ability to hold a job brings valuable information on wellbeing and performance status,” said lead author Dr Rasmus Roerth, a physician at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. “And workforce exclusion has been associated with increased risk of depression, mental health problems and even suicide.”
Omega-3 fish oil supplements prescribed by a healthcare provider may help prevent death from heart disease in patients who recently had a heart attack and may prevent death and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure, but there is a lack of scientific research to support clinical use of these supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population, according to a new science advisory from the American Heart Association.
“We cannot make a recommendation to use omega-3 fish oil supplements for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease at this time,” said David Siscovick, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the writing committee of the new science advisory published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
“People in the general population who are taking omega-3 fish oil supplements are taking them in the absence of scientific data that shows any benefit of the supplements in preventing heart attacks, stroke, heart failure or death for people who do not have a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease,” Siscovick said. Approximately 18.8 million U.S. adults reported taking omega-3 fish oil supplements in 2012.
Heart failure patients who are getting by on existing drug therapies can look forward to a far more effective medicine in the next five years or so, thanks to University of Alberta researchers.
Heart specialist Gavin Oudit and his research team discovered a molecule — angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) — that works to restore balance to the pathways responsible for chronic and acute heart failure, including in patients with advanced heart failure who underwent heart transplants.
In conducting their research, Oudit and his team used genetic mapping technology to discover to an extent not seen before how the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) — which regulates the body’s sodium balance, fluid volume and blood pressure — is at play in both acute and chronic heart failure.
A group of Johns Hopkins physicians and researchers has published an article in the Journal of Hospital Medicine suggesting that data on mortality and hospital readmission used by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) suggest a potentially problematic relationship.
Daniel J. Brotman, M.D., and his colleagues examined three years of CMS’s publicly available data from hospitals across the US. They looked at nearly 4,500 acute-care facilities’ hospital-wide readmission rates and compared them with those facilities’ mortality rates in six areas used by CMS: heart attack, pneumonia, heart failure, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary artery bypass.
The researchers found that hospitals with the highest rates of readmission were actually more likely to show better mortality scores in patients treated for heart failure, COPD and stroke.
People with type 2 diabetes who receive the influenza vaccine may be less likely to be admitted to hospital for myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
“In this large population-based study, influenza vaccination in people with type 2 diabetes was associated with reductions in rates of hospital admission for acute cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and in all-cause mortality across 7 influenza seasons,” writes Dr. Eszter Vamos, Department of Primary Care & Public Health, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom, with coauthors.
People with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Many countries encourage vaccination against influenza, especially in older people and people with multiple health issues such as diabetes, although there is uncertainty about vaccine effectiveness in these groups.
One in four middle-aged adults who survive to age 85 will develop heart failure, according to current estimates. Intervention programs to improve lifestyles are widely advocated, but do they actually work? Investigators in the U.S. and Taiwan independently examined programs that may reduce cardiovascular risk and concluded that both programs will reduce lifetime risk of heart failure. Results are reported in The American Journal of Medicine.
A group of American investigators estimated whether greater adherence to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life’s Simple 7 is associated with lower lifetime risk of heart failure and greater preservation of cardiac structure and function.
“Our study demonstrates that greater adherence to the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7 in middle age is associated with a lower lifetime occurrence of heart failure and greater preservation of cardiac structure and function,’ explained lead investigator Aaron R. Folsom, MD, of the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. ‘To lessen the public health burden of heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and potentially, other chronic diseases, health professionals need to encourage the public to optimize lifestyle-related risk factors before middle age.”