Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Calorie-restricted diet keeps heart young

From the EurkAlert of 5 June 2012

People who restrict their caloric intake in an effort to live longer have hearts that function more like those in people who are 20 years younger.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a key measure of the heart’s ability to adapt to physical activity, stress, sleep and other factors that influence the rate at which the heart pumps blood, doesn’t decline nearly as rapidly in people who have significantly restricted their caloric intake for an average of seven years.

The study is available online in the journal Aging Cell.

“This is really striking because in studying changes in heart rate variability, we are looking at a measurement that tells us a lot about the way the autonomic nervous system affects the heart,” says Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author. “And that system is involved not only in heart function, but in digestion, breathing rate and many other involuntary actions. We would hypothesize that better heart rate variability may be a sign that all these other functions are working better, too.”…

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Squeeze An Arm – Protect The Heart, UK

From the 7 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Scientists at the University of Leicester are investigating a novel technique that promises to protect heart muscle from life-threatening damage following a heart attack – simply by squeezing an arm. Heart attacks are the major cause of premature death in England, with massive implications for survival and costs of long-term health care.

A new technique called conditioning is being investigated by Dr Sadat Edroos, a postgraduate researcher from the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, to determine its effectiveness at protecting the heart of people with cardiovascular disease. This technique promises to reduce the damage to the heart that occurs after a heart attack by as much as a quarter. This would have significant beneficial implications for patients’ long term survival and wellbeing.

The method of conditioning is based on the observation that temporarily stopping the blood supply to a muscle makes it resistant to further damage. However protection from one muscle may be transferred elsewhere through the blood stream to another. Squeezing an arm for a few minutes can shield the heart, reducing the extent of damage after a heart attack. “We hope to shed light on this safe and effective therapy,” said Dr Sadat Edroos, “helping it to benefit patients.”

“This work, in conjunction with other studies published in the past two years, is creating a compelling argument for the application of this technique to clinical use. I hope that by the end of the decade this simple, cheap, safe and effective tool will be in use across the country.” …

Related Resources

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

Lifetime of Good Health: Your Guide to Staying Healthy

Lifetime of Good Health: Your Guide to Staying Healthy

Picture of A Lifetime of Good Health Cover

This womenshealth.gov **online 67 page guide includes information on preventative screening tests and immunizations and risk factors. It is in pdf format. This guide offers you a plan for health at all stages of life.

Short informational “fact sheets” presented include the following topics:

  • Heart Disease/Heart Attack
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Health Conditions
  • Reproductive Health
  • Breast Cancer
  • Healthy Bones, Skin, Eyes
  • Mental Health
  • Dealing with Violence
  • Talking with your health care provider

Each topic includes easy to read tips. Many topics include phone numbers and Web sites for further information.

Spanish and Chinese language options may be found here.

**womenshealth.gov is the US federal government source for women health information.

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Routine Periodic Fasting Is Good For Your Health, And Your Heart

Routine Periodic Fasting Is Good For Your Health, And Your Heart

From the April 3 2011 Medical News Today item

Fasting has long been associated with religious rituals, diets, and political protests. Now new evidence from cardiac researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute demonstrates that routine periodic fasting is also good for your health, and your heart. 

Today, research cardiologists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute are reporting that fasting not only lowers one’s risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, but also causes significant changes in a person’s bloodcholesterol levels. Both diabetes and elevated cholesterol are known risk factors for coronary heart disease. 

The discovery expands upon a 2007 Intermountain Healthcare study that revealed an association between fasting and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women in America. In the new research, fasting was also found to reduce other cardiac risk factors, such as triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels. 

The findings are being presented Sunday, April 3, at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans. …

April 5, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Updated heart disease prevention guidelines for women focus more on ‘real-world’ recommendations

Updated heart disease prevention guidelines for women focus more on ‘real-world’ recommendations

From the February 15 2011 Eureka news alert

Updated cardiovascular prevention guidelines for women [link goes to free full text of the article] focus on what works best in the “real world” vs. clinical research settings and consider personal and socioeconomic factors that can keep women from following medical advice and treatment. The guidelines also incorporate illnesses that increase heart disease risk in women, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy complications Helping women — and their doctors — understand risks and take practical steps can be most effective in preventing heart disease and stroke.

 

The 2011 update identifies barriers that hinder both patients and doctors from following guidelines, while outlining key strategies for addressing those obstacles.

“Awareness continues to be a key driver to optimal care,” said Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “Cause initiatives such as Go Red for Women and provider compliance programs such as Get With The Guidelines® are strong components in our efforts to broaden awareness and improve adherence among patients and providers.”

She said getting a dialogue started between a woman and her doctor is a critical first step.

“If the doctor doesn’t ask the woman if she’s taking her medicine regularly, if she’s having any side effects or if she’s following recommended lifestyle behaviors, the problems may remain undetected,” she said. “Improving adherence to preventive medications and lifestyle behaviors is one of the best strategies we have to lower the burden of heart disease in women.”

To evaluate patient risk, the guidelines incorporate illnesses linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease in women, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Mosca said women with a history of preeclampsia face double the risk of stroke, heart disease and dangerous clotting in veins during the five to 15 years after pregnancy. Essentially, having pregnancy complications can now be considered equivalent to having failed a stress test.

“These have not traditionally been top of mind as risk factors for heart disease,” she said. “But if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, you should ask if you’re at risk for heart disease because of pregnancy complications or other medical conditions you’ve experienced.”

The updated guidelines also emphasize the importance of recognizing racial and ethnic diversity and its impact on cardiovascular disease. For example, hypertension is a particular problem among African-American women and diabetes among Hispanic women.

Although putting clinical research into practical, everyday adherence can be challenging, solid scientific evidence is still the basis for many of the guidelines, Mosca said. Some commonly considered therapies for women are specifically noted in the guidelines as lacking strong clinical evidence in their effectiveness for preventing cardiovascular disease and, in fact, may be harmful to some women. Those include the use of hormone replacement therapy, antioxidants and folic acid.

The update includes depression screening as part of an overall evaluation of women for cardiovascular risk, because while treating depression has not been shown to directly improve cardiovascular health, depression might affect whether women follow their doctor’s advice.

Despite a growing body of clinical evidence to fight heart disease and stroke in women, more is needed, Mosca said. Coronary heart disease death rates in women dropped by two-thirds from 1980 to 2007, due to both effective treatment and risk factor reduction, according to the American Heart Association, but cardiovascular disease still kills about one woman every minute in the United States.

In future studies, researchers should look at interventions during specific times throughout a woman’s lifespan ― including puberty, pregnancy and menopause ― to identify risks and determine effective prevention opportunities during those critical times, Mosca said. More cost-effective analyses and clinical trial research with male- and female-specific results are also needed, especially regarding risks posed by preventive therapies.

“Now that science has shown the benefits are often similar for men and women, there is a need to understand if the risks are also similar and acceptable,” she said.

“These guidelines are a critical weapon in the war against heart disease, the leading killer of women,” Mosca said. “They are an important evolution in our understanding of women and heart disease. And I cannot stress personal awareness and education enough. Initiatives such as Go Red For Women give women access to the latest information and real-life solutions to lower their risk of heart disease.”

 

 

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Microsponges from seaweed may save lives

Microsponges from seaweed may save lives

Rice University scientists refine process at heart of diagnostic bio-nano-chip

From the February 9 2011 Eureka news alert

Microsponges derived from seaweed may help diagnose heart disease, cancers, HIV and other diseases quickly and at far lower cost than current clinical methods. The microsponges are an essential component of Rice University’s Programmable Bio-Nano-Chip (PBNC) and the focus of a new paper in the journal Small.

The paper by John McDevitt, the Brown-Wiess Professor in Bioengineering and Chemistry, and his colleagues at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative views the inner workings of PBNCs, which McDevitt envisions as a mainstream medical diagnostic tool.

PBNCs to diagnose a variety of diseases are currently the focus of six human clinical trials. McDevitt will discuss their development at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-21.

PBNCs capture biomarkers — molecules that offer information about a person’s health — found in blood, saliva and other bodily fluids. The biomarkers are sequestered in tiny sponges set into an array of inverted pyramid-shaped funnels in the microprocessor heart of the credit card-sized PBNC.

When a fluid sample is put into the disposable device, microfluidic channels direct it to the sponges, which are infused with antibodies that detect and capture specific biomarkers. Once captured, they can be analyzed within minutes with a sophisticated microscope and computer built into a portable, toaster-sized reader.

The biomarker capture process is the subject of the Small paper. The microsponges are 280-micrometer beads of agarose, a cheap, common, lab-friendly material derived from seaweed and often used as a matrix for growing live cells or capturing proteins.

The beauty of agarose is its ability to capture a wide range of targets from relatively huge protein biomarkers to tiny drug metabolites. In the lab, agarose starts as a powder, like Jell-O. When mixed with hot water, it can be formed into gels or solids of any size. The size of the pores and channels in agarose can be tuned down to the nanoscale.

The challenge, McDevitt said, was defining a new concept to quickly and efficiently capture and detect biomarkers within a microfluidic circuit. The solution developed at Rice is a network of microsponges with tailored pore sizes and nano-nets of agarose fibers. The sponge-like quality allows a lot of fluid to be processed quickly, while the nano-net provides a huge surface area that can be used to generate optical signals 1,000 times greater than conventional refrigerator-sized devices. The mini-sensor ensembles, he said, pack maximum punch.

The team found that agarose beads with a diameter of about 280 micrometers are ideal for real-world applications and can be mass-produced in a cost-effective way. These agarose beads retain their efficiency at capturing biomarkers, are easy to handle and don’t require specialized optics to see.

McDevitt and his colleagues tested beads with pores up to 620 nanometers and down to 45 nanometers wide. (A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.) Pores near 140 nanometers proved best at letting proteins infuse the beads’ internal nano-nets quickly, a characteristic that enables PBNCs to test for disease in less than 15 minutes…….

###

Co-authors of the paper included first author Jesse Jokerst, a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University; postdoctoral students James Camp, Jorge Wong, Alexis Lennart, Amanda Pollard and Yanjie Zhou, all of the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin; Mehnaaz Ali, an assistant professor of chemistry at Xavier University; and from the McDevitt Lab at Rice, Pierre Floriano, director of microfluidics and image and data analysis; Nicolaos Christodoulides, director of assay development; research scientist Glennon Simmons and graduate student Jie Chou.

The National Institutes of Health, through the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, funded the research.

Read the abstract at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smll.201002089/abstract***

*** For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

 

 

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol (CDC Vital Signs Feature Issue)

CDC Vital Signs™ – Learn about the latest public health data. Read CDC Vital Signs™…

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs offers recent data and calls to action for important public health issues.

CDC launched a new program called CDC Vital Signs, which includes an MMWR Early Release, a fact sheet and website, a media release, and a series of announcements via social media tools.

Vital Signs will be released the first Tuesday of every month. Issues include colorectal and breast cancer screening, obesity, alcohol and tobacco use, access to health care, HIV testing, seat belt use, cardiovascular disease, teen pregnancy and infant mortality, healthcare-associated infections, asthma, and foodborne disease.

EKG representation showing that 68 million US adults have high blood pressure (37 million are uncontrolled and 20 million are untreated) and 71 million US adults have high LDL cholesterol (48 million are uncontrolled and 37 million are untreated).Graphic: Body

The feature issue High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol includes and overview, latest findings, outline of what can be done, and links to related social media (as Facebook and Twitter)

Related news items


February 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat – Heart Attack Information for Women

Print ad for fatigue symptomPrint ad for weight symptom

[ Click here for larger images]

HEART ATTACK INFORMATION FOR WOMEN by the National Women’s Health Center includes



February 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Reports Most Americans with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are Not Being Treated Effectively

Main complications of persistent high blood pr...

Image via Wikipedia

CDC Reports Most Americans with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are Not Being Treated Effectively
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p0201_vitalsigns.html?s_cid=2011_p0201_vitalsigns
Two out of three U.S. adults with high cholesterol and half of U.S. adults with high blood pressure are not being treated effectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among the findings in the Vital Signs Report:

  • By the Numbers – High Blood Pressure
    • 1 in 3 Adults has high blood pressure
    • 1 in 3 Adults with high blood pressure does not get treatment
    • 1 in 2 Adults with high blood pressure does not have it under control
  • By the Numbers – High Cholesterol
    • 1 in 3 Adults has high cholesterol
    • 1 in 2 Adults with high cholesterol does not get treatment
    • 2 in 3 Adults with high cholesterol do not have it under control
  • Is Your Medication Raising Your Cholesterol? (everydayhealth.com)
  • Study Suggests That ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Is Not As Bad As People Think (6 May 2011, Medical News Today)

    “The so-called “badcholesterol” – low-density lipoprotein, commonly called LDL – may not be so bad after all, shows a Texas A&M University study that casts new light on the cholesterol debate, particularly among adults who exercise. “

    “Riechman and colleagues examined 52 adults from ages to 60 to 69 who were in generally good health but not physically active, and none of them were participating in a training program. The study showed that after fairly vigorous workouts, participants who had gained the most muscle mass also had the highest levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, “a very unexpected result and one that surprised us.

    “It shows that you do need a certain amount of LDL to gain more muscle mass. There’s no doubt you need both – the LDL and the HDL – and the truth is, it (cholesterol) is all good. You simply can’t remove all the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your body without serious problems occurring. “

    “”Our tissues need cholesterol, and LDL delivers it,” he notes. “HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done. And the more LDL you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.”

    Riechman says the study could be helpful in looking at a condition called sarcopenia, which is muscle loss due to aging. Previous studies show muscle is usually lost at a rate of 5 percent per decade after the age of 40, a huge concern since muscle mass is the major determinant of physical strength. After the age of 60, the prevalence of moderate to severe sarcopenia is found in about 65 percent of all men and about 30 percent of all women, and it accounts for more than $18 billion of health care costs in the United States.

    “The bottom line is that LDL – the bad cholesterol – serves as a reminder that something is wrong and we need to find out what it is,” Riechman says.

    “It gives us warning signs. Is smoking the problem, is it diet, is it lack of exercise that a person’s cholesterol is too high? It plays a very useful role, does the job it was intended to do, and we need to back off by always calling it ‘bad’ cholesterol because it is not totally bad.”

  • Diagnosing High Cholesterol (everydayhealth.com)
  • Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet for High Cholesterol (everydayhealth.com)

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How studded winter tires may damage public health, as well as pavement

How studded winter tires may damage public health, as well as pavement

From a January 5, 2011 Eureka news alert

Scientists are reporting new evidence on how studded tires — wintertime fixtures in some areas but banned in others for causing damage to pavement — may also damage the health of motorists and people living near highways. Studded tires have small metal protrusions from the rubber tread that improve traction on icy or snow-covered roads. Their study appears in ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology, a monthly journal.

Anders Ljungman and colleagues note that studded tires grind away at the road surface, generating the kind of dust particles believed to contribute to heart and respiratory disease when inhaled into the lungs. Studded tires are winter mainstays in Finland, Norway, Sweden and other northern countries, but have been banned or restricted in others and in some states because they damage pavement. The scientists’ past research found that road dust from studded tires causes biological changes in cells related to inflammation, a process underlying heart and respiratory diseases.

In the new research, the scientists pinpointed specific changes in proteins in cells related to the road dust exposure. Dust exposure resulted in significant increases in three proteins associated with increased inflammation and decreased levels of seven proteins, including some involved in fighting inflammation and maintaining normal metabolism. The results reveal important chemical markers in the body that could help scientists better understand the link between pavement dust and heart disease, the scientists suggest.

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You are what your father ate

You are what your father ate
UMMS research suggests paternal diet affects lipid metabolizing genes in offspring

From the December 23, 2010 Eureka news alert

WORCESTER, Mass. — Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin have uncovered evidence that environmental influences experienced by a father can be passed down to the next generation, “reprogramming” how genes function in offspring. A new study published this week in Cell shows that environmental cues—in this case, diet—influence genes in mammals from one generation to the next, evidence that until now has been sparse. These insights, coupled with previous human epidemiological studies, suggest that paternal environmental effects may play a more important role in complex diseases such as diabetes and heart disease than previously believed.

“Knowing what your parents were doing before you were conceived is turning out to be important in determining what disease risk factors you may be carrying,” said Oliver J. Rando, MD, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology at UMMS and principal investigator for the study, which details how paternal diet can increase production of cholesterol synthesis genes in first-generation offspring….

…These observations are consistent with epidemiological data from two well-known human studies suggesting that parental diet has an effect on the health of offspring. One of these studies, called the Överkalix Cohort Study, conducted among residents of an isolated community in the far northeast of Sweden, found that poor diet during the paternal grandfather’s adolescence increased the risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease in second-generation offspring. However, because these studies are retrospective and involve dynamic populations, they are unable to completely account for all social and economic variables. “Our study begins to rule out the possibility that social and economic factors, or differences in the DNA sequence, may be contributing to what we’re seeing,” said Rando. “It strongly implicates epigenetic inheritance as a contributing factor to changes in gene function.”

The results also have implications for our understanding of evolutionary processes, says Hans A. Hofmann, PhD, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin and a co-author of the study. “It has increasingly become clear in recent years that mothers can endow their offspring with information about the environment, for instance via early experience and maternal factors, and thus make them possibly better adapted to environmental change. Our results show that offspring can inherit such acquired characters even from a parent they have never directly interacted with, which provides a novel mechanism through which natural selection could act in the course of evolution.” Such a process was first proposed by the early evolutionist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, but then dismissed by 20th century biologists when genetic evidence seemed to provide a sufficient explanation.

Taken together, these studies suggest that a better understanding of the environment experienced by our parents, such as diet, may be a useful clinical tool for assessing disease risk for illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease. “We often look at a patient’s behavior and their genes to assess risk,” said Rando. “If the patient smokes, they are going to be at an increased risk for cancer. If the family has a long history of heart disease, they might carry a gene that makes them more susceptible to heart disease. But we’re more than just our genes and our behavior. Knowing what environmental factors your parents experienced is also important.”

The next step for Rando and colleagues is to explore how and why this genetic reprogramming is being transmitted from generation to generation. “We don’t know why these genes are being reprogrammed or how, precisely, that information is being passed down to the next generation,” said Rando. “It’s consistent with the idea that when parents go hungry, it’s best for offspring to hoard calories, however, it’s not clear if these changes are advantageous in the context of a low-protein diet.”

 

 

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Mouth is a Health Barometer

Health Tip: Your Mouth is a Health Barometer
Oral problems may be tied to other medical issues

From the December 16 2010 Health Day news item by Diana Kohnle

Oral health problems, such as gum disease or mouth sores, can be related to other health issues.

The womenshealth.gov Web site says these health conditions often are related to oral health problems:

  • Cancer treatments, which can cause mouth sores and mouth pain.
  • Diabetes, which can affect the gums.
  • HIV, which can cause pain in the mouth and loss of taste.
  • Nutritional deficiencies, as difficulty eating can lead to malnutrition.
  • Heart disease patients may require special precautions, such as taking an antibiotic to prevent infection before a dental procedure.

Related Web Sites

  • Mouth Disorders (MedlinePlus) has links to overviews, specific conditions , health check tools, patient handouts, and more
  • Mouth Problems (Family Doctor.org) gives information about possible diagnoses and self care options depending on symptoms
  • Mouth Diseases (NetWellness.org) has links to general information, symptoms, tests, and treatment.
    Ask-An-Expert (left column) has answers to questions as tongue soreness, red bumps on tongue, and much more.
    Visitors can pose questions to medical experts, replies usually within a few days.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cardiac Rehabilitation Resources

MedlinePlus has a Web page filled with resources on Cardiac Rehabilitation

From the Web page

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a medically supervised program to help people who have

  • A heart attack
  • Angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting for coronary heart disease
  • A heart valve repair or replacement
  • A heart transplant or a lung transplant
  • Angina
  • Heart failure

The goal is to help you return to an active life, and to reduce the risk of further heart problems. A team of specialists will create a plan for you that includes exercise training, education on heart healthy living, and counseling. You will learn how to reduce your risk factors. These may include disorders such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight or obesity, diabetes. Smoking, lack of physical activity, and depression are other risk factors.

Resources include

Overviews

Disease Management

Related Issues

Patient Handouts

MedlinePlus is a goldmine of health information from the National Institutes on Health.
It contains information and links on over 700 health topics, drugs and supplements, and a medical encyclopedia.
You may sign up for email updates on topics of your choosing, as well as their news service and magazine. Many topics include videos and “cool tools (as calculators, quizzes, and games). Mobile version option as well as Twitter.

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is heart disease genetic destiny or lifestyle?

From a November 15, 2010 Eureka Alert

2 studies confirm a healthy lifestyle has biggest impact on cardiovascular health

CHICAGO — Is cardiovascular health in middle age and beyond a gift from your genes or is it earned by a healthy lifestyle and within your control?

Two large studies from Northwestern Medicine confirm a healthy lifestyle has the biggest impact on cardiovascular health. One study shows the majority of people who adopted healthy lifestyle behaviors in young adulthood maintained a low cardiovascular risk profile in middle age. The five most important healthy behaviors are not smoking, low or no alcohol intake, weight control, physical activity and a healthy diet. The other study shows cardiovascular health is due primarily to lifestyle factors and healthy behavior, not heredity.

The studies will be presented Nov. 15 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2010 in Chicago.

[Nice small image library for the media may be found here]

“Health behaviors can trump a lot of your genetics,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., chair and professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a staff cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “This research shows people have control over their heart health. The earlier they start making healthy choices, the more likely they are to maintain a low-risk profile for heart disease.”…

….Why Many Healthy Young Adults Become High Risk

The first Northwestern Medicine study investigated why most young adults, who have a low-risk profile for heart disease, often tip into the high-risk category by middle age with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excess weight.

The unhealthy shift is the result of lifestyle, the study found. More than half of the young adults who followed the five healthy lifestyle factors for 20 years were able to maintain their low-risk profile for heart disease though middle age. (The five healthy lifestyle factors are not smoking, low or no alcohol intake, weight control, physical activity and a healthy diet.)….

….Both Northwestern Medicine studies build on previous research from the department of preventive medicine that has provided the core for the national definition of cardiovascular health over the past decade, noted Lloyd-Jones.

“We really need to encourage individuals to improve their behavior and lifestyle and create a public health environment so people can make healthy choices,” Lloyd-Jones said. “We need to make it possible for people to walk more and safely in their neighborhoods and buy fresh affordable fruit and vegetables in the local grocery store. We need physical activity back in schools, widely applied indoor smoking bans and reduced sodium content in the processed foods we eat. We also need to educate people to reduce their calorie intake. It’s a partnership between individuals making behavior changes but also public health changes that will improve the environment and allow people to make those healthy choices.”

Related Web sites

 

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Signs and Symptoms of Artery Disease

an illustration of Normal artery and Atherosclerotic artery

 

From the Fall 2010 issue of MedlinePlus Health article Signs and Symptoms of Artery Disease

Artery disease (atherosclerosis) usually doesn’t cause symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don’t know they have the disease until they have a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. Some people may have signs and symptoms of the disease, but this depends on which arteries are affected.

Coronary Arteries

Coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. When plaque narrows or blocks these arteries—a condition called coronary artery disease (CAD) orcoronary heart disease (CHD) occurs. A common symptom is angina. Angina is chest pain that occurs when your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.

Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. It tends to get worse with activity and go away when you rest. Emotional stress also can trigger the pain.

Carotid Arteries

Carotid arteries supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood. When plaque narrows or blocks them (a condition called carotid artery disease), you may experience the symptoms of a stroke, including:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness in the face or limbs, often on just one side of the body
  • Inability to move one or more of your limbs
  • Trouble speaking and understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • A sudden, severe headache with no known cause
PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the P.A.D. Coalition, and other vascular and heart disease organizations are promoting September as National Awareness Month for peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) and other vascular diseases. (See “To Find Out More”)

Peripheral Arteries

Plaque also can build up in the major arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the legs, arms, and pelvis. This is called peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.). If these major arteries are narrowed or blocked, it can lead to numbness, pain, and, sometimes, dangerous infections.

Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs raise the risk for heart attack or stroke. P.A.D. affects approximately 9 million Americans. It is a chronic disease requiring lifelong care. (See illustration on right.)

 

Some related Web sites



November 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall 2010 Issue of NIH MedlinePlus is now Online

“The latest issue of the NIH MedlinePlus Magazine is now available online. In every issue you’ll find information you can use to keep you and your family healthy, including links to MedlinePlus, NLM’s award-winning consumer health web site”

Contents include

**Feature – Fighting Gum Disease (with information on  how to take care of your teeth, risk factors, treatment and research)

**Feature: Phobias and Anxiety Disorders (with fast facts and links to informative Web sites)

**Feature: Alzheimer’s Disease

**Feature: Coronary Heart Disease

 

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Living Under a Flight Path Bad for the Heart?

Excerpt from a Reuters Health Information news item

Friday, October 8, 2010
By Lynne Peeples

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Living with airplanes regularly thundering over your head could risk the healthy pumping of your heart, suggests a new Swiss study.

Based on 4.6 million adults across Switzerland, researchers found that dying from a heart attack was more common with increased exposure to aircraft noise.

“The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived in the noisy place,” researcher Matthias Egger of the University of Bern, told Reuters Health.

This isn’t the first time that noise has been linked to negative health effects, including cardiovascular risks. But it could be novel progress in determining whether the sound is really exerting the effect, or if it is something else tagging along with the noise, such as air pollution.

“It’s been a problem that when you look at road traffic noise there are both high levels of noise and high levels of air pollution,” said Egger. “By looking at airports we were in a position to disentangle these effects.”

If you need assistance in tracking down the original study/article, please email me at jmflahiff@yahoo.com.
I will do my best!

 

 

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Farm, Food Service Jobs Tied To Heart Disease Risk

Americans in certain lines of work, including transportation, food service and farming, may have a relatively high rate of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, a new study finds.

“The findings, according to the researchers, do not prove that any given occupation increases or decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome. They do, however, suggest that people in certain job fields need to be especially aware of ways to control their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. That includes watching their diets and getting regular exercise, not smoking and, if necessary, taking medication to control their blood pressure and cholesterol.”

July 20, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

   

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