AHA Heart News

Subscribe to AHA Heart News feed
Heart NewsAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportLarry Cannon brings financial experience, business rigor to focus on operating efficienciesAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report Saturday News Tip - American Heart Association Meeting Report Poster Session 3 - Poster Presentation 545 American Heart Association Meeting Report – Poster Session 2 – Poster Presentation 319 American Heart Association Meeting Report - Session 15 – Poster Presentation 164American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportContest participants could win prizes, get hack publishedAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportAmerican Heart Association Rapid Access Journal ReportArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology Journal Report The American Heart Association wants you to check your blood pressureSurvey findings will help inform new initiative to raise awareness, empower patients and providers to better understand and manage high cholesterol
Updated: 58 min 19 sec ago

Infections, other factors raise risk of pregnancy-related stroke in women with preeclampsia

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:46
Study Highlights                                                                                                                                        

  • Infections, chronic high blood pressure and bleeding or clotting disorders increase the risk of pregnancy-related stroke in women with preeclampsia.
  • Although pregnancy-related stroke is rare, women with preeclampsia are at higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and postpartum.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Thursday, May 25, 2017

DALLAS, May 25, 2017 — Urinary tract infections, chronic high blood pressure and bleeding or clotting disorders may increase the risk of pregnancy-associated stroke in women with preeclampsia, a high-blood pressure disorder unique to pregnancy, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Women with preeclampsia are at higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and after delivery. But while preeclampsia affects 3 percent to 8 percent of all pregnancies, pregnancy-related stroke remain rare.

In a study of women admitted to hospitals in New York State from 2003 through 2012, researchers identified 88,857 women with preeclampsia. Of that number, 197 had pregnancy-associated stroke.

Compared with women who had preeclampsia but did not have a stroke, women who had preeclampsia and pregnancy-associated stroke were:

  • seven times more likely to have severe preeclampsia or eclampsia; and
  • about three times more likely to have infections when they arrive at hospital, or had high blood pressure before developing preeclampsia or had blood disorders involving clots or excessive bleeding.

“Preeclampsia is a very complex disorder that’s not completely understood,” said Eliza Miller, M.D., study lead author and vascular neurology fellow at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “Our study sought to discover if there are other risk factors or clues that may help identify the women with preeclampsia who are at the highest risk for pregnancy-related stroke. We were looking for risk factors that could be prevented or treated.”

Researchers noted a link with urinary tract infections was interesting “because those infections are not only treatable, but could be preventable,” Miller said. 

Using billing data from the New York State Department of Health inpatient database, researchers compared women aged 12 to 55 years old with preeclampsia and pregnancy-associated stroke to a matched control group of women with preeclampsia who did not have strokes. Among the women with preeclampsia and stroke, most strokes occurred postpartum, after women had been discharged home after delivery. More than one in 10 of the preeclampsia-related strokes were fatal.

The study’s reliance on patients’ billing data limited the level of detail researchers could analyze and restricted them from drawing definitive conclusions. But the associations were strong enough, Miller said, to help generate new ideas and directions for more research.  

“Preeclampsia is a very common disorder, and a lot of people are not aware of its association with stroke,” Miller said. “Women with preeclampsia should take any neurological symptoms, such as severe headache, very seriously, especially during the postpartum period. This needs to be a major focus of future stroke research in women.”

The American Heart Association recommends home blood pressure monitoring for all people with high blood pressure.

Co-authors are Hajere Gatollari, M.P.H.; Gloria Too, M.D.; Amelia Boehme, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.; Lisa Leffert, M.D.; Randolph Marshall, M.D.; Mitchell Elkind, M.D., M.S.; and Joshua Willey, M.D., M.S. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funded the study.

Note: May is American Stroke Month and Preeclampsia Awareness Month.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsThu, 25 May 2017 20:00:06 GMTInfections, chronic high blood pressure and bleeding or clotting disorders increase the risk of pregnancy-related stroke in women with preeclampsia. Although pregnancy-related stroke is rare, women with preeclampsia are at higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and postpartum. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/infections-other-factors-raise-risk-of-pregnancy-related-stroke-in-women-with-preeclampsiaThu, 25 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Too little sleep may raise risk of death in people with cluster of heart disease risk factors

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:00
Study Highlights

  • Sleeping less than six hours was associated with higher risk of death in people with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of several heart disease and diabetes risk factors.
  • This effect was particularly strong in those with elevated blood pressure or poor glucose metabolism.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DALLAS, May 24, 2017 — People with a common cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes were approximately twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke as people without the same set of risk factors if they failed to get more than six hours of sleep, according to a new observational study published in the association’s open access publication Journal of the American Heart Association. For those who got more sleep, the risk of death was more modest.

The study, funded in part by the American Heart Association, is the first to measure sleep duration in the laboratory rather than rely on patient reports and the first to examine the impact of sleep duration on the risk of death in those with a common cluster of heart disease risk factors.

The researchers randomly selected 1,344 adults (average age 49 years, 42 percent male) who agreed to spend one night in a sleep laboratory as part of the Penn State Adult Cohort. Based on their test results, 39.2 percent of the participants were found to have at least three of the risk factors, that when clustered together are known as the metabolic syndrome. For this study, the cluster included body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 and elevated total cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

During an average follow-up of 16.6 years, 22 percent of the participants died.  

Compared to people without the same cluster of risk factors, those with metabolic syndrome who clocked more than six hours of sleep time in the lab were about 1.49 times more likely to die of stroke during the 16.6-year follow-up period, while those who slept less than six hours in the lab were about 2.1 times more likely to die of heart disease or stroke. The short sleepers with metabolic syndrome were also 1.99 times more likely to die from any cause compared to those without metabolic syndrome.

The relationship was particularly striking because the researchers adjusted for sleep apnea –

sleep interrupted by pauses in breathing that is a known heart disease risk.

“If you have several heart disease risk factors, taking care of your sleep and consulting with a clinician if you have insufficient sleep is important if you want to lower your risk of death from heart disease or stroke,” said study lead author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Penn State College of Medicine and sleep psychologist at the Sleep Research & Treatment Center of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

He noted that sleep lab studies are often used to rule out sleep apnea, but physicians should also note insufficient sleep in the lab because it may signal a higher risk of death in patients with risk factors for heart disease.

 A recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association on sleep duration and quality noted that an increasing number of Americans suffer from sleep difficulties or choose to curtail sleep in favor of other social, leisure, or work-related activities and this may be associated with adverse cardiovascular risks and outcomes.

As the Fernandez-Mendoza research was an observational study, the results cannot establish a cause-and-effect, only an association between short sleep and mortality in people with the metabolic syndrome. Additional limitations include that the study used only one day of sleep lab results and enrolled too few minority patients to determine whether there are racial differences in the relationship between short sleep times and mortality.

“Future clinical trials are needed to determine whether lengthening sleep, in combination with lowering blood pressure and glucose, improves the prognosis of people with the metabolic syndrome” said Fernandez-Mendoza.

Co-authors are Fan He, M.S.; Caitlin LaGrotte, Psy.D.; Alexandros N. Vgontzas, M.D.; Duanping Liao, M.D., Ph.D.; and Edward O. Bixler, Ph.D.

Author disclosures are on the manuscript. The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded the study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . .  we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsWed, 24 May 2017 20:00:05 GMTSleeping less than six hours was associated with higher risk of death in people with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of several heart disease and diabetes risk factors. This effect was particularly strong in those with elevated blood pressure or poor glucose metabolism. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/too-little-sleep-may-raise-risk-of-death-in-people-with-cluster-of-heart-disease-risk-factorsWed, 24 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Chronic anabolic steroid use may damage heart, arteries

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 15:54
Study Highlights

  • Long-term anabolic steroid use may impair the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body and relax between beats.
  • Hardening of the arteries is associated with long-term anabolic steroid use.
  • The heart can recover pumping ability after anabolic steroid use stops, but the ability to relax between beats is less reversible.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, May 22, 2017

DALLAS, May 22, 2017 — Long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use may reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

In addition, long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use damages the heart muscle’s ability to relax and may cause atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids mimic naturally occurring testosterone, a muscle-building hormone that promotes male sexual characteristics. Since illicit use of these steroids became widespread in the American general population in the 1980s, those users are now reaching middle-age and adverse long-term effects are becoming evident.

Researchers conducted an observational study of 140 male weightlifters: 86 who used anabolic steroids and 54 non-users. Of the users, 58 were on the drug and 28 were off the drug during evaluations. The off-drug users had last used these steroids an average of 15 months prior to these evaluations. Anabolic steroid users showed higher body- and fat-free mass indexes, consistent with known effects of anabolic steroids.

Using two-dimensional ultrasound imaging, researchers found that the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, was significantly weaker during contraction (systolic function) in those taking anabolic steroids compared to the non-steroid users.

Seventy-one percent of the anabolic steroid users who were on-drug at the time of evaluation had a low pumping capacity (less than 52 percent) whereas off-drug users had largely normal pumping capacity. In contrast, researchers found that only two of the non-users had a low pumping capacity.

Diastolic function, which is when the left ventricle relaxes and fills with blood, was impaired both for on-drug and off-drug anabolic steroid users. The researchers said this suggests a more permanent heart problem.

“Compared to non-users, anabolic steroid users displayed both higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as a higher prevalence of levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in their blood,” said Aaron Baggish, M.D., study co-lead author and associate director of the cardiovascular performance program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In addition to documenting impairments in heart function, researchers used coronary CT scans to examine the potential link between anabolic steroid use and coronary artery disease. This portion of the study revealed strong associations between the lifetime duration of illicit anabolic steroid use and the amount of plaque build-up in the coronary arteries. “This finding places illicit anabolic steroid use on the list of factors clinicians should consider when caring for men with premature disease of the coronary arteries,” Baggish said.

Researchers note that it’s estimated that between 2.9 million and 4 million Americans have used anabolic steroids. About a million of them, almost all of whom are male, have developed anabolic steroid dependence.

“It is critical that clinicians become aware of the long-term risks of anabolic steroid use on the heart. Most people relate anabolic steroids to cheating among athletes and fail to realize that there is a large population of men who have developed dependence upon these drugs, but who are not readily visible. The oldest members of this population are only now reaching middle age,” said Harrison Pope, Jr., M.D., the study’s other co-lead author and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“Clinicians need to know that there may be a marked increase in anabolic steroid-related cardiac pathology as this population moves into later middle-age and beyond,” said Pope who is also director of the Biological Psychiatry Laboratory at McLean Hospital, Harvard’s largest teaching hospital in psychiatry.

Other co-authors are Rory B. Weiner, M.D.; Gen Kanayama, M.D., Ph.D.; James I. Hudson, M.D.; Sc.D.; Michael Lu, M.D.; and Udo Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

A grant from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse funded the study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Karen Astle: (214) 706-1392; karen.astle@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsMon, 22 May 2017 20:00:06 GMTLong-term anabolic steroid use may impair the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body and relax between beats. Hardening of the arteries is associated with long-term anabolic steroid use. The heart can recover pumping ability after anabolic steroid use stops, but the ability to relax between beats is less reversible. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/chronic-anabolic-steroid-use-may-damage-heart-arteriesMon, 22 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

American Heart Association names new Chief Administrative Officer

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:00
DALLAS, May 19, 2017 – The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, has named a key senior executive to its nationwide leadership team. The veteran corporate attorney and finance executive will be tasked with driving enhanced operational performance on an enterprise basis while achieving improvements in business efficiencies. 

Larry Cannon joins the AHA as its new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) at the organization’s national headquarters in Dallas. As CAO, Cannon will oversee the enterprise business operations of the 93-year-old non-profit. In addition to overseeing all financial management, he will also be responsible for the AHA’s technology, human resources, facilities and other strategic business investments and operations.

Cannon served most recently as the Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary for FTS International, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX.  FTS International is the largest private oil and gas well completion company in North America, with operations in China. Prior to that, he was a corporate attorney for Jones Day in Dallas, TX, and Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, IL, where he structured and negotiated domestic and international securities offerings, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and other corporate finance transactions.

“The American Heart Association is an increasingly global organization, acting as one unified voice on the many issues involved in realizing our vision of a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.“ As we continue to grow and evolve our business models, both in the U.S. and abroad, I’m very excited by the business rigor and experience Larry brings to our life-saving work. Under his leadership, I’m confident we’ll experience even greater operating efficiencies that result in even greater impact.“

“I’m excited to help lead new business models for the American Heart Association to further position the organization’s work with individuals and organizations to transform communities and extend and improve people’s lives,” Cannon said. “I look forward to implementing the best practices I’ve learned from my corporate career as well as new innovative approaches to establish new strategies for the American Heart Association.”

Larry Cannon began his career as a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young, LLP. He is an alumnus of Baylor University in Waco, TX, and the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, IL.

###

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Sarah Williams: sarah.d.williams@heart.org; (214) 706-1156

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . .  we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsFri, 19 May 2017 15:00:08 GMTThe American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, has named a key senior executive to its nationwide leadership team. The veteran corporate attorney and finance executive will be tasked with driving enhanced operational performance on an enterprise basis while achieving improvements in business efficiencies. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/american-heart-association-names-new-chief-administrative-officerFri, 19 May 2017 15:00:00 GMT

Eating more fruits and vegetables may lower risk of blockages in leg arteries

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 15:10
Study Highlight

  • Eating three or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day may lower your risk of developing blockages in leg arteries.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Thursday, May 18, 2017

DALLAS, May 18, 2017 – Eating three or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day may lower your risk of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to new research in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal.

PAD narrows the arteries of the legs, limiting blood flow to the muscles and making it difficult or painful to walk or stand.

Previous studies linked lower consumption of fruits and vegetables with the increased occurrence of coronary heart disease and stroke. However, there has been little research into the association of eating fruits and vegetables and PAD.

After studying data from 3.7 million people, researchers found:

  • People who reported eating three or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables had 18 percent lower odds of PAD than those reporting eating less.
  • When stratified by smoking status, the association of lower PAD and increased fruits and vegetables was present only among participants who were current or former smokers.
  • Overall, 6.3 percent of participants had PAD and 29.2 percent reported eating three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

“Our current study provides important information to the public that something as simple as adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet could have a major impact on the prevalence of life-altering peripheral artery disease,” said Jeffrey Berger, M.D., study coauthor and associate professor of medicine and surgery at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

Participants, who were average age 64 (64 percent women, nearly 90 percent white), completed medical and lifestyle questionnaires and ankle brachial index tests at more than 20,000 sites across America. An ankle brachial index test is a comparison of blood pressure differences between readings at the ankle and the forearm. 

Researchers also said their study confirmed that Americans’ overall fruit and vegetable intake remains dismally low.

The association of fruit and vegetable intake and lower PAD risk persisted after accounting for age, gender, race, smoking status and multiple other cardiovascular risk factors. Researchers noted older white women were most likely to eat three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, while younger black men were the least likely to report daily intake of three or more servings of fruits and vegetables. Low fruit and vegetable intake was particularly associated with PAD among current and former smokers.

“Our study gives further evidence for the importance of incorporating more fruits and vegetables in the diet,” said Sean Heffron, M.D., M.S., M.Sc., study coauthor and instructor in medicine at New York University School of Medicine. “One-on-one dietary assessments and counseling for PAD patients, as well as greater public health awareness of the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption, are both needed.”

Other coauthors are Caron B. Rockman, M.D.; Mark A. Adelman, M.D.; Eugenia Gianos, M.D.; Yu Guo, M.A. and Jin Feng Xu, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The research was partially funded by the National Heart and Lung Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Karen Astle: (214) 706-1392; karen.astle@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsThu, 18 May 2017 20:00:06 GMTStudy Highlight: Eating three or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day may lower your risk of developing blockages in leg arteries. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/eating-more-fruits-and-vegetables-may-lower-risk-of-blockages-in-leg-arteriesThu, 18 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Heart failure patients readmitted to the same hospital may have better outcomes

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 15:04
Study Highlights

  • Heart failure patients readmitted to the same facility spend fewer days in the hospital and are more likely to survive.
  • Time is important when seeking hospital care for acute events like heart attack or stroke, but for treatment of a chronic condition like heart failure, continuity of care seems to be more important, researchers said.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DALLAS, May 10, 2017 — When patients with heart failure were re-hospitalized within a month, those who returned to the same hospital were discharged quicker and were more likely to survive, according to new Canadian research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

In both Canada and the United States, ambulance policies usually require patients be taken to the nearest emergency room, even if a patient has recently been hospitalized somewhere else.

“This makes sense in time-sensitive acute conditions where delays in initial treatment are associated with poorer outcomes – thus the adage “time is muscle” for heart attacks and “time is brain” for strokes. Heart failure is a chronic condition and continuity of care seems to be more important,” said Finlay A. McAlister, M.D., M.Sc., study lead author and professor of general internal medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Researchers examined data on readmissions for all patients discharged with a primary diagnosis of heart failure in Canada between 2004 and 2013. Of the 217,039 patients (average age 76.8 years, 50.1 percent male), 18.1 percent were readmitted within 30 days – 83.2 percent to the original hospital and 16.8 percent to a different hospital. The most common cause for readmission was heart failure (36.9 percent).

After adjusting for factors such as age and gender, heart failure patients who were readmitted to the same hospital were discharged an average of one day sooner and were 11 percent less likely to die during their hospitalization.

“For the individual patient, these differences may not seem like much, but considering that heart failure is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization (and readmission) in North America, it’s a big issue for the healthcare system,” McAlister said.

Currently, about 6.5 million adults in the United States live with heart failure. In heart failure, the heart muscle is too weak to pump sufficient blood to vital organs throughout the body. Although Canada has free universal access to hospital care, the findings in this study are likely to apply to the United State as well, since there are similar rates of readmission for heart failure and similar gaps in the transfer of medical information from one facility to another, researchers said.

According to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, projections show that the prevalence of heart failure will increase 46 percent from 2012 to 2030.

“Patients’ hospital records may not be completed for weeks and they don’t report all of the things that happened during the initial hospitalization. For example, it is not uncommon for heart failure patients to not tolerate or have adverse responses to higher doses of some guideline-recommended medications. That information rarely appears on discharge summaries, so patients are at risk of the same thing happening if they are admitted to a different hospital,” McAlister said.

“If you are discharged from the hospital after heart failure, book a follow-up appointment with your physician within two weeks of discharge. If your condition deteriorates, try to see a familiar physician as soon as possible,” McAlister said.

In the study, patients readmitted to a different hospital were younger and more likely to be male, live in a rural area and to have arrived at the new hospital by ambulance.

Co-authors are Erik Youngson, M.Math. and Padma Kaul, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Akeem Ranmal: (214) 706-1755; akeem.ranmal@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsWed, 10 May 2017 20:00:05 GMTStudy Highlights: Heart failure patients readmitted to the same facility spend fewer days in the hospital and are more likely to survive. Time is important when seeking hospital care for acute events like heart attack or stroke, but for treatment of a chronic condition like heart failure, continuity of care seems to be more important, researchers said. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/heart-failure-patients-readmitted-to-the-same-hospital-may-have-better-outcomesWed, 10 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Kicking the salt shaker habit may not be enough

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 15:34
Study Highlights

  • Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions.
  • Salt added at home during food preparation or at the table accounted for a small fraction of dietary sodium.
  • These findings confirm earlier recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to lower dietary sodium by decreasing the amount in commercially processed foods.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET, Monday, May 8, 2017

DALLAS, May 8, 2017 — Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Sodium is an important contributor to high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt. For nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults, the maximum sodium intake recommendation is even lower – 1500 mg/day – based on their age, race or ethnicity, or existing high blood pressure. Sodium can be difficult to avoid, especially when people eat a lot of processed food from grocery stores or restaurants. In fact, the average American adult consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium per day. To address this serious health threat, in 2010 the Institute of Medicine recommended gradually decreasing sodium levels in commercially processed foods.

Between December 2013 and December 2014, researchers recruited 450 study participants in Palo Alto, California; Birmingham, Alabama; and Minneapolis, Minnesota; divided evenly among each location. Half of participants were female, and equal percentages, overall, were Hispanic, African American, Asian and white. They ranged in age from 18 to 74 years old.

Participants visited the clinic once at the beginning of the study and then kept records of daily food intake for four days, which they reported to researchers in four telephone interviews along with providing samples of salt replicating the amount they had added to food at home.

Across age groups, the level of dietary sodium was similar, with an average 3,501 mg consumed per day —  over 50 percent more than the recommended 2,300 mg.

Researchers found:

  • Sodium added to food outside the home was the leading source (70.9 percent) and sodium found naturally in food was the next highest (14.2 percent);
  • Sodium from salt added in home food preparation (5.6 percent) and added to food at the table (4.9 percent) were next highest.
  • Sodium in home tap water, dietary supplements and antacids contributed minimally (less than 0.5 percent).

“Telling patients to lay off the salt shaker isn’t enough,” said Lisa J. Harnack, Dr.PH., study lead author and professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “Rather, commercially processed and restaurant foods should be the primary focus when educating patients on strategies for lowering sodium in the diet. Food manufacturers and restaurants should be encouraged to lower the sodium content in their food products to support Americans in consuming a diet consistent with sodium intake recommendations.”

“If you’re aiming to limit your sodium intake to the recommended level of less than 2,300 milligrams per day, you’ll need to choose foods wisely when grocery shopping and dining out,” Harnack said. “For packaged foods, the nutrition fact panel may be useful in identifying lower sodium products, and for menu items diners can request sodium content information. Also, if you frequently add salt to food at the table or in home food preparation, consider using less.”

The study was limited in that it did not represent the overall U.S. population because participants were selected based on location and also may have changed their sodium consumption during the study because they knew that it was under watch.

According to the American Heart Association, restaurant and prepackaged food companies must be a part of the solution to reduce sodium and give Americans the healthy options they need and deserve. The American Heart Association encourages packaged food companies and restaurants to reduce the sodium in their products to help make meaningful impact on the health of all Americans. The association has developed a sodium reduction campaign to help.

Co-authors are Mary E. Cogswell, Dr.PH.; James M. Shikany, Ph.D.; Christopher D. Gardner, Ph.D.; Cathleen Gillespie, M.S.; Catherine M. Loria, Ph.D.; Xia Zhou, M.S.; Keming Yuan, M.S.; and Lyn M. Steffen, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported the study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Carrie Thacker: (214) 706-1665; carrie.thacker@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721); heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives

 

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsMon, 08 May 2017 20:00:05 GMTStudy Highlights: Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions. Salt added at home during food preparation or at the table accounted for a small fraction of dietary sodium. These findings confirm earlier recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to lower dietary sodium by decreasing the amount in commercially processed foods. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/kicking-the-salt-shaker-habit-may-not-be-enoughMon, 08 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Cinnamon may lessen damage of high-fat diet in rats

Sat, 05/06/2017 - 08:41
Embargoed until 8:30 a.m. CT / 9:30 a.m. ET, Saturday, May 6, 2017  

Minneapolis, May 6, 2016 — Cinnamon may lessen the risk of cardiovascular damage of a high-fat diet by activating the body’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems and slowing the fat-storing process, according to a preliminary animal study presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology | Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.

In the study, researchers fed rats cinnamon supplements for 12 weeks along with a high-fat diet. They found:

  • The rats weighed less and had less belly fat and healthier levels of sugar, insulin and fat in their blood, compared to rats that did not receive cinnamon with their high-fat foods;

  • Rats fed cinnamon also had fewer molecules involved in the body’s fat-storing process and more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules that protect the body from the damages of stress.

The results suggest that cinnamon may reduce the effects of a high-fat diet, researchers said.

Vijaya Juturu, Ph.D., OmniActive Health Technologies Inc, Morristown, NJ.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA Spokesperson Perspective:

Akeem Ranmal: akeem.ranmal@heart.org; (214) 706-1755

AHA News Media in Dallas: (214) 706-1173

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

 

 

]]>Heart NewsScientific Conferences & MeetingsSat, 06 May 2017 13:30:08 GMTMinneapolis, May 6, 2016 — Cinnamon may lessen the risk of cardiovascular damage of a high-fat diet by activating the body’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems and slowing the fat-storing process, according to a preliminary animal study presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology | Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/cinnamon-may-lessen-damage-of-high-fat-diet-in-ratsSat, 06 May 2017 13:30:00 GMT

Stretching may reduce walking pain among peripheral artery disease patients

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 15:57
Study Highlights:

  • Wearing a splint to stretch calf muscles may enhance blood flow through clogged leg arteries.
  • After four weeks of stretching, people with clogged leg arteries had better blood flow and could walk further without discomfort. 

Embargoed until 3 CT p.m./ 4 p.m. ET, Friday, May 5, 2017

Minneapolis, May 5, 2016 — Simple calf muscle stretching may reduce leg pain when walking and increase blood flow for people living with peripheral artery disease, according to a preliminary abstract presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology | Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.

“This is a very safe, easy intervention that can be done at home and has the potential to really improve your tolerance for walking and get you into a walking program,” said Judy M. Muller-Delp, Ph.D., senior study author and professor of biomedical sciences at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects more than 8.5 million American adults and many are unaware they have it. The most common symptom in the lower extremities is a painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising. The pain of PAD often goes away when you stop exercising, although this may take a few minutes.

If there’s a blood-flow blockage due to plaque buildup, the muscles won’t get enough blood during exercise to meet the needs. The “crampy” pain (called intermittent claudication), when caused by PAD, is the muscles’ way of warning the body that it isn’t receiving enough blood during exercise to meet the increased demand.

In the current study, researchers evaluated 13 patients (six women and seven men; average age 71), most taking a statin drug and anti-platelet medications. Participants were instructed to passively stretch their calf muscle in 30-minute daily sessions using a splint that flexed the ankle about 15 percent. Walking ability and blood flow were measured after 4 weeks of calf stretching of each leg (5 days a week) and after 4 weeks without the special stretches. 

Compared to a month of not stretching, after one month of daily calf stretches the participants:

  • improved the ability of their calf arteries to relax and expand to let blood flow through after being momentarily held back with a blood pressure cuff (a test called flow-mediated dilation), from an average of 3.7 percent to 5.2 percent – moving them into the normal range for healthy elderly people;

  • extended how far they could walk in six minutes – about half a city block farther but still well below normal for people the same age; and

  • prolonged the distance they could walk before needing to stop and rest due to leg discomfort.

    Structured walking programs are a cornerstone of PAD treatment, along with medication and sometimes interventions to open clogged blood vessels.

    “A physical therapist can instruct you how to adjust and wear the splints correctly so you can do the stretches at home. There is no doubt about the benefit of exercise training on blood vessel health in PAD patients. If you have limited walking ability, I recommend that you at least perform muscle stretches so you can gain enough comfort and confidence in walking to participate in a walking exercise program,” said Kazuki Hotta, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in engineering science at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo.

    According to the American Heart Association’s 2017 Statistical Update, about 10 percent of people with PAD have the classic crampy pain symptom of intermittent claudication. Approximately 40 percent do not complain of leg pain, whereas the remaining 50 percent have a variety of different leg symptoms.

    Other co-authors are Wayne B. Batchelor, M.D.; James Graven, A.S., R.V.T.; Vishal Dahya, M.D.; Thomas E. Noel, M.D.; Akash Ghai, M.D.; John N. Katopodis, M.D.; William C. Dixon IV, M.D.; Jegghna Chheda, M.S.; Lia Liberatore, B.S.; and Bradley J. Behnke, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the abstract.

    This study is funded by the National Institute on Aging and Florida State University.

    Note: Actual presentation time is 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET, Friday May 5, 2017.

    Additional Resources:

  • Photo of splint used in study and researcher photo are on the right column of the release link http://newsroom.heart.org/news/stretching-may-reduce-walking-pain-among-peripheral-artery-disease-patients?preview=f6c44e809da1c06007890a04ad6394e8
  • New peripheral artery disease guidelines emphasize medical therapy and structured exercise
  • Amputation risks highest amongst poor and black PAD patients
  • Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews  #ATVBPVD17

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA Spokesperson Perspective:

Akeem Ranmal: (214) 706-1755; akeem.ranmal@heart.org 

 For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

 

]]>Heart NewsScientific Conferences & MeetingsFri, 05 May 2017 20:00:08 GMTStudy Highlights: Wearing a splint to stretch calf muscles may enhance blood flow through clogged leg arteries. After four weeks of stretching, people with clogged leg arteries had better blood flow and could walk further without discomfort. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/stretching-may-reduce-walking-pain-among-peripheral-artery-disease-patientsFri, 05 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Can the antioxidant resveratrol reduce artery stiffness in diabetics?

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 15:14
Study Highlight:

  • In a short-term study, consuming resveratrol, an antioxidant, reduced artery stiffness in some people with Type 2 diabetes.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT/ 4 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Minneapolis, May. 4, 2017 — Resveratrol, a natural compound found in red wine, peanuts, berries and the skin of red grapes, may reduce artery stiffness in some people with Type 2 diabetes, according to an abstract presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology | Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.

“This adds to emerging evidence that there may be interventions that may reverse the blood vessel abnormalities that occur with aging and are more pronounced in people with Type 2 diabetes and obesity,” said Naomi M. Hamburg, M.D., M.S., senior author of the study and chief of the vascular biology section at the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.

As the body’s largest artery, the aorta, becomes stiffer, the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases. In the current study, researchers used a test called the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CFPWV) to measure aortic stiffness in 57 patients with Type-2 diabetes (average age 56 years, 52 percent female, 67 percent African-American and on average rating as obese on standard height/weight charts). Tests were performed after patients consumed daily doses of 100 mg/day of resveratrol for two weeks followed by 300 mg/day of resveratrol for two weeks and after comparable placebo dosing for a total of four weeks. Participants were also tested on several other measures of their blood vessels’ ability to relax and expand as needed to accommodate changes in blood flow, an important indicator of healthy blood vessel function.

Researchers found:

  • In the overall study group, there was a trend toward reduced aortic stiffness with resveratrol treatment; however, the change was not statistically significant.

  • In a subset of 23 patients with high arterial stiffness at the start of the study, the 300 mg dose of resveratrol reduced aortic stiffness by 9.1 percent, the 100 mg lowered reduced aortic stiffness to a lesser extent, 4.8 percent, while stiffness increased with the placebo treatments.

 “The effect of resveratrol may be more about improving structural changes in the aorta, and less about the relaxation of blood vessels, and people with more normal aortic stiffness may not get as much benefit,” Hamburg said.

In animal studies, resveratrol activates a gene (SIRT1) that delays aging and the development of several diseases. To look at that mechanism in humans, researchers in the current study took a sample of the inner lining of blood vessels from seven participants and examined the tissue for SIRT1 activity. Although they detected increased SIRT1 activity after resveratrol supplementation, the difference was not statistically significant.

“We found that resveratrol also activates the longevity gene SIRT1 in humans, and this may be a potential mechanism for the supplements to reduce aortic stiffness. However, the changes in this small and short-term study are not proof. Studies with longer treatment are needed to test the effects of a daily resveratrol supplement on vascular function,” said Ji-Yao Ella Zhang, Ph.D., lead study author and postdoctoral fellow at the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University.

Other co-authors are Monika Holbrook, M.S.; Elika Inagaki, M.D.; Bihua Feng, Ph.D.; Dorae Ko, M.D.; Robert M. Weisbrod, M.A.; Reena Bastin; Margaret Stathos, B.A.; Rosa Breton-Romero, Ph.D.; and Jessica Fetterman, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the abstract.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health funded the study.

Note: Scientific presentation time is 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 4, 2017.

Additional Resources:

 

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Akeem Ranmal: (214) 706-1755; akeem.ranmal@heart.org 

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsScientific Conferences & MeetingsThu, 04 May 2017 20:00:08 GMTStudy Highlight: In a short-term study, consuming resveratrol, an antioxidant, reduced artery stiffness in some people with Type 2 diabetes. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/can-the-antioxidant-resveratrol-reduce-artery-stiffness-in-diabeticsThu, 04 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Nearly 1 in 5 with highest cardiac risk don’t think they need to improve health

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 15:40
Study Highlights

  • A Canadian study found that nearly one in five of those at highest risk for a heart attack did not believe they needed to improve their health.
  • While most of those at highest risk for a heart attack were more likely to agree on needed health improvements, more than half of those perceiving this need identified barriers to making changes.
  • Older and white participants were more likely than younger and minority group members to express a desire to improve their health.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DALLAS, May 3, 2017 — Nearly one in five people who reported the greatest number of cardiac risk factors did not believe they needed to improve their health, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

While most people in the study at the highest risk for a heart attack were more likely to agree on needed health improvements, more than half of those perceiving this need identified barriers to change, which were most commonly lack of self-discipline, work schedule and family responsibilities.

“Understanding what motivates changes in behavior is key to improving the health of individuals and communities,” said F. Daniel Ramirez, M.D, lead study author and a research fellow at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. “Our study sheds light on how knowledge of personally modifiable risk factors for heart attack, such as quitting smoking and exercising, affects people’s perception of the need to improve their health.”

Researchers analyzed 45,443 responses from adults participating in the 2011-12 Canadian Community Health Survey. The survey gathered information about eight established risk factors for heart attack that people can change, including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and poor diet. Along with high cholesterol, which was not included in the survey, researchers noted these factors account for 90 percent of heart attack risk. The survey also asked participants if they thought “there is anything you should do to improve your physical health?”

Researchers found:

  • 73.6 percent reported there was something they should do to improve their health.
  • 90.7 percent of those identifying a specific change indicated they wanted to quit/reduce smoking, exercise more, lose weight or eat better.
  • 81.1 percent desiring a change said they intended to improve their health in the coming year.
  • 17.7 percent at greatest risk (5 or more risk factors) did not feel a need to improve their health.

Respondents who reported that they had high blood pressure or diabetes also weren’t more likely to perceive the need to improve their health than those without those conditions. The survey did not include information about whether this group took medications to control these health problems, which may have affected their perceptions about the need to improve their health.

Still, “lifestyle modifications are very important for these conditions, particularly diabetes, even for those on medications,” said Benjamin Hibbert, M.D., Ph.D. senior study author and an interventional cardiologist and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. 

The study also looked at factors that might bias results, including age, education, income and whether respondents had a regular healthcare provider. After adjusting for these factors, researchers found that older and white participants were more likely than younger and minority group members to express a desire to improve their health.

Hibbert said the study’s take-home message is that recognizing the risk factors for heart attack is effective for motivating some, but not all people to improve their physical health. Effectively convincing people to adopt and sustain healthy lifestyle changes requires a better understanding of what makes them tick, he said.

Despite many similarities between Canada and the United States, researchers said they couldn’t say whether differences in healthcare systems and culture would limit generalizing study findings to the United States.

Co-authors are Yue Chen, Ph.D.; Pietro Di Santo, M.D.; Trevor Simard, M.D.; and Pouya Motazedian, B.Sc. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Darcy Spitz : (212) 878-5940; darcy.spitz@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsWed, 03 May 2017 20:00:12 GMTStudy Highlights: A Canadian study found that nearly one in five of those at highest risk for a heart attack did not believe they needed to improve their health. While most of those at highest risk for a heart attack were more likely to agree on needed health improvements, more than half of those perceiving this need identified barriers to making changes. Older and white participants were more likely than younger and minority group members to express a desire to improve their health. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/nearly-1-in-5-with-highest-cardiac-risk-dont-think-they-need-to-improve-healthWed, 03 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

The American Heart Association Wants to Know How You #BreakUpWithSalt

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 08:00
DALLAS, May 2, 2017 – A diet with too much salt can lead to a wide range of cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure. During May, National High Blood Pressure Month, the American Heart Association Sodium Reduction Initiative is encouraging consumers to kick the salt habit with its first ever #BreakUpWithSalt Hack Contest. As the leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, sodium reduction is a top health issue for the American Heart Association.

Because some companies in the food industry add ingredients like sodium to processed and restaurant foods before it even reaches your table, the American Heart Association is searching for easy, healthy, and original sodium reduction hacks to help people reduce their consumption.

Ideas will be judged in two different categories: processed food and restaurant food. Three hacks in each category will win. The winning tips and tricks will be published on the American Heart Association’s website (heart.org/sodium) and promoted through social media. Winners in each category will also receive prizes:

  • 1st prize- $250 Visa gift card
  • 2nd prize- AHA cookbook and water bottle
  • 3rd prize- Add Color Booklet

A high sodium diet can lead to a wide range of cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure. Also, known as “the silent killer”, high blood pressure is major risk factor for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of all Americans.

About three-quarters of the sodium we consume comes from packaged, prepared and restaurant foods. Because most of the sodium we eat is in our food before we buy it, it makes it hard for people to limit how much sodium they are eating. The American Heart Association recommends an ideal limit of eating no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day, or less than one teaspoon. The average American eats more than twice that daily.

“Here’s the real challenge: most of our salt intake, about three-quarters, is buried in the food we eat. If we intend to reduce sodium intake, we must be deliberate and seek every opportunity. This begins with reading labels,” said Dr. Clyde Yancy, M.D., former president of the American Heart Association and Chief of Cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Don’t just look at packaged food items in grocery stores, ask about sodium content in casual dining facilities—think about the sodium in bread, soups and desserts; and pay attention to the custom of “salting” food before it’s served. Even in restaurants, you can and should either ask about sodium content or request a lower sodium food preparation.”

Participants can submit their hack online through May 12. Terms and conditions apply. Must be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident. Only one hack submission per person is allowed. Winners will be announced May 23 via email and social media.

All hacks must comply with AHA nutrition criteria. Judging will be based on originality, ease of preparation, and alignment with the AHA’s nutrition requirements.

Additional Resources:

###

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact:

Bridget O’Leary, 214-706-1152, bridget.oleary@heart.org

 

 

]]>Heart NewsTue, 02 May 2017 12:00:07 GMTA diet with too much salt can lead to a wide range of cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure. During May, National High Blood Pressure Month, the American Heart Association Sodium Reduction Initiative is encouraging consumers to kick the salt habit with its first ever #BreakUpWithSalt Hack Contest.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/the-american-heart-association-wants-to-know-how-youTue, 02 May 2017 12:00:00 GMT

Golden years are longer and healthier for those with good heart health in middle age

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 15:26
Study Highlights

  • People who have better cardiovascular health in middle age live longer and spend fewer of their later years with chronic illnesses of all types.
  • They also save money on healthcare costs.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET, Monday, May 1, 2017

DALLAS, May 1, 2017 — People with no major heart disease risk factors in middle age live longer and stay healthy far longer than others, according to a 40-year study reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

“Good cardiovascular health in middle age delays the onset of many types of disease so that people live longer and spend a much smaller proportion of their lives with chronic illness,” said Norrina Allen, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

In the first study to analyze the impact of cardiovascular health in middle age on the duration of illness later in life, researchers examined data from the Chicago Health Association study, which did initial health assessments in the late 1960s/early 1970s and has followed participants on an ongoing basis using Medicare health records. Researchers determined how many participants had favorable factors: non-smokers, free of diabetes and normal weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels; versus those with elevated risk factors or high risk factors.

Comparing those who had two or more high-risk factors in middle age among the 17,939 participants who reached age 65 without a chronic illness, researchers found that those with all favorable factors:

  • lived an average of 3.9 years longer;
  • survived 4.5 years longer before developing a chronic illness;
  • spent 22 percent fewer of their senior years with a chronic illness (39 percent vs. 50 percent); and
  • saved almost $18,000 in Medicare costs.

“Health professionals need to let young adults know that maintaining or adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle makes it more likely that you’ll live longer and still be healthy enough to do the things you love to do when you’re older,” Allen said.

Looking solely at heart disease in 18,714 participants who reached age 65 without having a heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure, those with all favorable risk factors:

  • lived 6.9 years longer without heart disease; and
  • spent 46.5 percent fewer of their senior years with heart disease.

Allen noted that at the start of the study, when their average age was 44, only 5.6 percent of participants had all favorable factors.

That data is even more grim than a 2011-2012 national survey suggesting only 8.9 percent of U.S. adults age 40-59 had five or more “ideal” health factors, according to The American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2017 Update.

“We need to think about cardiovascular health at all stages of life,” she said. “The small proportion of participants with favorable levels in their 40s is a call for all of us to maintain or adopt healthy lifestyles earlier in life. But risk factors and their effects accumulate over time, so even if you have risks it’s never too late to reduce their impact on your later health by exercising, eating right, and treating your high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.”

The American Heart Association created My Life Check ® to educate the public on improving health by aiming to achieve seven health measures called Life’s Simple 7. It’s a composite measure of seven modifiable heart-healthy factors: cigarette smoking, physical activity, diet, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

The study recruited people from Chicago worksites in 1967-1972 and lacks information on how chronic illnesses affected the quality of life of participants. 

Co-authors are Lihui Zhao, Ph.D.; Lei Liu, Ph.D.; Martha Daviglus, M.D., Ph.D.; Kiang Liu, Ph.D.; James Fries, M.D.; Tina Shih, Ph.D.; Daniel Garside, M.S.; Thanh Huyen Vu, M.D.; Jeremiah Stamler, M.D.; and Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded the study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsMon, 01 May 2017 20:00:13 GMTPeople who have better cardiovascular health in middle age live longer and spend fewer of their later years with chronic illnesses of all types. They also save money on healthcare costs. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/golden-years-are-longer-and-healthier-for-those-with-good-heart-health-in-middle-ageMon, 01 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Societies Update Heart Failure Management Guidelines

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:34
WASHINGTON, April 28, 2017 — The American College of Cardiology, along with the American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America, today released an updated guideline for the management of heart failure.

The guideline update extends the prior guideline update released May 20, 2016 addressing new pharmacological therapy for heart failure. This guideline update includes revision to the sections on biomarkers, including recommendations for the prevention, diagnosis, and prevention or added risk stratification of heart failure; updates on heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; new data on important comorbidities including sleep apnea, anemia and hypertension; and new insights regarding the prevention of heart failure.

“For clinical practice guidelines to be truly useful, new evidence that changes clinical practice should be rapidly incorporated in the guidelines and disseminated to the practice community. These updates were deemed necessary as new evidence in all of the areas addressed, derived from clinical trials, has emerged since the 2013 Heart Failure Guidelines and now merits inclusion,” said Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc, MACC, FAHA, FHFSA, chair of the writing group for the document.

Revisions to the biomarkers section include:

  • For Prevention: C(Level of Evidence: B-R) for utilizing -based screening for those at risk of developing heart failure, followed by team-based care including a cardiovascular specialist optimizing guideline-directed medical therapy, to prevent the development of left ventricular dysfunction or new-onset heart failure.

  • For Diagnosis: Class(Level of Evidence: A) measurement of in patients presenting with dyspnea, to support a diagnosis or exclusion of heart failure.

  • For Prognosis or Added Risk Stratification:

    • Class I recommendation (Level of Evidence: A) for measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide or N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide for establishing prognosis or disease severity in chronic heart failure.
    • C(Level of Evidence: A)measurement of baseline
    • Class IIa recommendation (Level of Evidence: B-NR) for measurement of a predischarge natriuretic peptide level during a heart failure hospitalization, to establish a post-discharge prognosis
    • Class IIb recommendation (Level of Evidence: B-NR) for measurement of other clinically available tests, such as biomarkers of myocardial injury or fibrosis, in patients with chronic heart failure for additive risk stratification.

Revisions to the section on Stage C heart failure with preserved ejection fraction include:

  • Class IIb recommendation (Level of Evidence: B-R) for use of aldosterone antagonists in appropriately selected patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (with ejection fraction ≥45 percent, elevated B-type natriuretic peptide or heart failure admission within one year, estimated glomerular filtration rate >30 and creatinine <2.5 mg/dL, potassium <5.0 mEq /L), to decrease hospitalizations.
  • Class III recommendation: (Level of Evidence: B-R) for routine use of nitrates or phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors to increase quality of life or outcomes in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, as there is no benefit.

Revisions to the section on comorbidities include:

  • Anemia:

    • Class(Level of Evidence: B-R) for
    • Class(Level of Evidence: B-R)
  • Hypertension:

    • Class I recommendation (Level of Evidence: B-R) for targeting an optimal blood pressure of less than 130/80 mm Hg in those with hypertension and at increased risk (stage A heart failure).
    • Class(Level of Evidence: C-EO) for guideline-directed medical therapyheart failure with reduced ejection fraction
    • Class(Level of Evidence: C-LD) for guideline-directed medical therapyheart failure with preserved ejection fraction
  • Sleep Disordered Breathing:

    • Class IIa recommendation (Level of Evidence: C-LD) for a formal sleep assessment in patients with NYHA class II–IV heart failure and suspicion of sleep disordered breathing or excessive daytime sleepiness.
    • C(Level of Evidence: B-R) for utilization of continuous positive airway pressure in patients with cardiovascular disease and obstructive sleep apnea, to improve sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.
    • Class(Level of Evidence: B-R) for use of adaptive servo-ventilation in patients with NYHA class II–IV heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and central sleep apnea as it causes harm.

This updated guideline is the second of a two-stage publication. Part one was published as the 2016 ACC/AHA/HFSA Focused Update on New Pharmacological Therapy for Heart Failure, which introduced guidance on new therapies, specifically for the use of an angiotensin receptor–neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) (valsartan/sacubitril) and a sinoatrial node modulator (ivabradine). The 2017 ACC/AHA/HFSA Focused Update of the 2013 ACCF/AHA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure will publish online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Circulation and the Journal of Cardiac Failure. Both updates represent a new model in the generation of heart failure clinical practice guidelines that now includes the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America.

About the American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiology is a 52,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit acc.org.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke - America's No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) represents the first organized effort by heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure, and congestive heart failure (CHF) research and patient care.  HFSA supports a multi-disciplinary clinical team approach for the preventions of and care for heart failure patients and is seeking to raise awareness about this devastating disease.

###

Media Contacts:

]]>Heart NewsFri, 28 Apr 2017 18:00:10 GMTThe American College of Cardiology, along with the American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America, today released an updated guideline for the management of heart failure. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/societies-update-heart-failure-management-guidelinesFri, 28 Apr 2017 18:00:00 GMT

Energy drinks linked to more heart, blood pressure changes than caffeinated drinks alone

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 15:46
Study Highlights

  • Two hours after drinking 32 ounces of a commercially available energy drink, the heart’s electrical activity was abnormal compared to drinking a caffeine-matched control drink.
  • Both caffeine and energy drinks raised systolic blood pressure initially but blood pressure normalized faster after caffeine.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, April 26, 2017

DALLAS, April 26, 2017 — Drinking 32 ounces of a commercially available energy drink resulted in more profound changes in the heart’s electrical activity and blood pressure than drinking 32 ounces of a control drink with the same amount of caffeine – 320 milligrams (mg), according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally considers caffeine in doses of less than 400 mg as safe, energy drinks often consist of not only caffeine but proprietary energy blends. With more than 500 types of energy drinks on the market, there has been an increase in energy-drink-associated emergency room visits and deaths, prompting questions about their safety, researchers said.

“We decided to study energy drinks’ potential heart health impact because previous research has shown 75 percent of the base’s military personnel have consumed an energy drink. And nearly 15 percent of military personnel, in general, drink three cans a day when deployed, which is more than we studied here,” said Emily A. Fletcher, Pharm.D., study author and deputy pharmacy flight commander from David Grant U.S.A.F. Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Eighteen young participants were randomly divided into two groups. The first group received 32 ounces of a commercially-available energy drink (containing 108 g of sugar, 320 mg of caffeine, and various other compounds). The second group was given a control drink containing 320 mg of caffeine, 40 ml of lime juice and 140 ml of cherry syrup in carbonated water. After a six-day washout period, participants switched drinks.

Researchers measured the electrical activity of the volunteers’ hearts by electrocardiogram. They also measured their peripheral and central blood pressures at the study’s start and at one, two, four, six and 24 hours after drink consumption.

“Peripheral blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure in an outlying artery, typically an upper arm. Central blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure in the aorta near the heart,” she said. “Blood pressures at each location are not always affected equally when a substance is introduced, such as medications. Central blood pressure is an emerging and potentially superior method to assess health outcomes related to elevated blood pressure.”

They found that, when compared to the caffeine group, those in the energy drink group had a corrected QT interval 10-milliseconds higher at 2 hours.

“The QT interval is the measurement of the time it takes ventricles in the heart (the lower chambers) to repolarize, or prepare to generate a beat again. It’s the pause from the end of the electrical impulse generating the heart to beat to the next impulse,” Fletcher said. “If this time interval, which is measured in milliseconds, is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life threatening.”

To put the 10-millisecond difference in perspective, there are medications that affect the corrected QT interval by 6 milliseconds and have warnings about the effect on product labels, Fletcher said.

While both the energy drink and caffeine-only groups had similar increases in systolic blood pressure, systolic pressures in the caffeine group had almost returned to their original readings after six hours.

“On the other hand, those who consumed the energy drinks still had a mildly elevated blood pressure after six hours,” Fletcher said. “This suggests that ingredients other than caffeine may have some blood pressure altering effects, but this needs further evaluation.”

Based on this preliminary evidence in young, healthy adults, people who have high blood pressure, underlying cardiac conditions or other health issues might want to avoid or use caution when consuming energy drinks until more is known about their impact on heart health, Fletcher said.

“This is a small study and further studies are needed to confirm these results,” Fletcher said.

Co-authors are Carolyn S Lacey, M.D.; Melenie Aaron, B.S.; Mark Kolasa, M.D.; Andrew Occiano, Pharm.D.; and Sachin A Shah, Pharm.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Clinical Investigations Facility at Travis Air Force Base, California funded this study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Karen Astle: (214) 706-1392; karen.astle@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsWed, 26 Apr 2017 20:00:09 GMTStudy Highlights: Two hours after drinking 32 ounces of a commercially available energy drink, the heart’s electrical activity was abnormal compared to drinking a caffeine-matched control drink. Both caffeine and energy drinks raised systolic blood pressure initially but blood pressure normalized faster after caffeine.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/energy-drinks-linked-to-more-heart-blood-pressure-changes-than-caffeinated-drinks-aloneWed, 26 Apr 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Gut bacteria may turn common nutrient into clot-enhancing compound

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:07
Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, April 24, 2017

DALLAS, April 24, 2017 — Gut bacteria can produce a clot-enhancing compound when people eat a nutrient found in a variety of foods including meat, eggs and milk, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Excessive blood clotting limits or blocks blood flow which can cause heart attack, stroke, damage to the body’s organs or death.

The new study provides the first direct evidence in humans that consuming excess choline, an essential nutrient plentiful in a Western diet, raises both levels of the bacteria-produced compound, called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), and the tendency of platelets to clump together and form clots. Numerous studies have shown that higher blood levels of TMAO are associated with a greater risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes in humans, and recent studies showed that feeding animals choline-supplemented diets also raised their risk of clotting.

In this small study, 18 volunteers (8 vegan or vegetarian, 10 omnivores) without heart disease or major risk factors (average age 46 years, 40 percent male), took supplements of 500 milligrams (mg) of choline bitartrate twice daily for two months. The average daily intake is about 302 mg a day.

Researchers found:

  • Blood levels of TMAO rose more than 10 times after both 1 and 2 months of choline supplementation in both vegans/vegetarians and omnivores alike.
  • The tendency of platelets to form clots in a laboratory test rose with choline supplementation.
  • The ability of elevated TMAO levels to promote clot formation was reduced when subjects were also taking a daily baby aspirin (81 mg/day).

“Foods that raise TMAO may increase your risk for clotting and thrombotic events. Unless prescribed by your doctor, avoid supplements with choline. A Mediterranean or vegetarian diet is reported to help reduce TMAO,” said Stanley L. Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study, chair of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Co-authors are Weifei Zhu, Ph.D.; Zeneng Wang, Ph.D.; and W.H. Wilson Tang, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Institutes of Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements funded the study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding. 

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsMon, 24 Apr 2017 20:00:08 GMTGut bacteria can produce a clot-enhancing compound when people eat a nutrient found in a variety of foods including meat, eggs and milk, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/gut-bacteria-may-turn-common-nutrient-into-clot-enhancing-compoundMon, 24 Apr 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Fainting episodes may increase risk of workplace accidents, job loss

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 15:28
Study Highlights

  • People who experience fainting spells have a higher risk of workplace accidents and job loss, compared to adults who do not have fainting episodes.
  • In a Danish study, one in three employed people with syncope were no longer in the workforce within two years of having a first-time fainting spell.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DALLAS, April 18, 2017 –– Working-age people who have fainting spells (a condition known as syncope) have a higher risk of occupational accidents and job loss, compared to adults without the condition, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Syncope is characterized by a sudden loss of consciousness followed by spontaneous recovery.

In a Danish study comparing adults age 18 to 64 with recurrent syncope to those without it, those with syncope had:

  • a 1.4-fold increased risk of occupational accidents; and
  • a 2-fold higher risk of loss of employment (31 percent vs 15 percent),

Also, patients with recurrent syncope who were young, had poor socioeconomic status, or additional conditions (such as cardiovascular disease or depression), were particularly at high risk of workplace accidents or job termination.

Researchers said the study is the first to show a significant association between syncope and work-related outcomes.

“We believe that our findings shed light on a hidden consequence of syncope,” said Anna-Karin Numé, M.D., the study’s first author and a research fellow in the cardiology department at Copenhagen University Herlev Gentofte Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark.

“The ability to feel safe at work and maintain a full-time job addresses an indirect effect and cost of syncope beyond the usual clinical parameters such as mortality and hospitalization. Employment is more than a measure of performance status; besides its financial importance, it is crucial for self-esteem and quality of life.”

Numé and colleagues identified 21,729 patients who had a first-time diagnosis of syncope that required a trip to the emergency room or hospitalization. Of that number, 49.5 percent were employed at that time and most returned to work within a month of hospital discharge.

Researchers noted that 622 patients had a subsequent occupational accident and 36 involved severe injuries such as fracture, amputation crush or internal bleeding. Accidents were most frequent among those working manual jobs.

The study was based on 2008-2013 data covering residents from Denmark’s national population-based registers. The median age was 48, and 49.7 percent were men.

One of the Danish study’s limitations is the lack of information on potentially relevant factors such as the individuals’ work environment, their habits and health behaviors, or exact circumstances of the syncopal events. Consequently, causal effects cannot be established, only associations, and the results should be interpreted with caution.

The results may apply to similar Western countries, yet researchers advise caution when making comparisons because of differences in health, social security and other policies that may exist.

“People with fainting episodes should be evaluated medically and have appropriate interventions to help them maintain their employment and keep safe at work,” Numé said. “In general, syncope can be managed, and workplace risks might be managed by a change in job duties, such as avoidance of operating heavy equipment.”

“We hope that our findings will stimulate more research to examine why syncope is associated with adverse employment outcomes and to identify and test preventive strategies,” she said. “Until then, we urge physicians to ask patients with syncope about their work to reduce any adverse consequences of syncope and educate them about underlying mechanisms and coping strategies.”

Co-authors are Kristian Kragholm, M.D., Ph.D.; Nicolas Carlson, M.D.; Søren Kristensen, M.D, Ph.D.; Henrik Bøggild, M.D., Ph.D.; Mark Hlatky, M.D.; Christian Torp-Pedersen, M.D., DSc; Gunnar Gislason, M.D., Ph.D.; and Martin Ruwald, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Department of Cardiology at Gentofte University Hospital funded the study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . .  we help people live longer, healthier lives.

]]>Heart NewsTue, 18 Apr 2017 20:00:07 GMTStudy Highlights: People who experience fainting spells have a higher risk of workplace accidents and job loss, compared to adults who do not have fainting episodes. In a Danish study, one in three employed people with syncope were no longer in the workforce within two years of having a first-time fainting spell.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/fainting-episodes-may-increase-risk-of-workplace-accidents-job-lossTue, 18 Apr 2017 20:00:00 GMT

“Bad” air may impact “good” cholesterol increasing heart disease risk

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 15:13
Study Highlights

  • Traffic-related air pollution may increase risk of developing cardiovascular diseases through its effects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol.  
  • U.S. middle-aged and older adults living in areas with high levels of traffic-related air pollution tended to have lower levels of good cholesterol.
  • Changes in HDL levels were observed after brief and medium-length exposures to air pollution.

Embargoed 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Thursday, April 13, 2017

DALLAS, April 13, 2017 – Traffic-related air pollution may increase cardiovascular disease risk by lowering levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), commonly known as “good” cholesterol, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Scientists have long known that air pollution increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis and heart failure, but are uncertain how the two are connected. The connection may be explained by a reduction in the number of small, cholesterol-depleted HDL particles, leaving the average amount of cholesterol in HDL particles higher on a per-particle basis. Recent evidence suggests that the number and functionality of HDL particles may be a better gauge of HDL’s heart-healthy effects than their cholesterol content, said lead author Griffith Bell, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle.

In a study of 6,654 middle-aged and older U.S. adults from diverse ethnic backgrounds, participants living in areas with high levels of traffic-related air pollution tended to have lower HDL levels.

Researchers found:

  • Higher exposure to black carbon (a marker of traffic-related pollution) averaged over a one year period was significantly associated with a lower “good” cholesterol level.

  • Higher particulate matter exposure over three months was associated with a lower HDL particle number.

  • Men and women responded to air pollutants differently: HDL was lower at higher pollution exposure for both sexes, but the magnitude was greater in women.

The lower levels of HDL observed with high levels of air pollution “may put individuals at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease down the line,” Bell said.

Changes in HDL levels may already appear after brief and medium-length exposures to air pollution, the authors noted.

The findings are part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, an ongoing U.S. study examining the lifestyle factors that predict development of cardiovascular disease. This study follows a large, diverse population and unlike many previous studies on the health effects of air pollution that assumed individuals living in the same city have the same level of air pollution exposure, this study used cohort-focused monitoring campaigns looking at time and place to estimate air pollution exposure for each study participant, Bell said. It is also the first large cohort study to examine associations between air pollution and HDL particle number, he added.

However, HDL particle numbers were measured only once in this analysis, so “we were unable to examine whether they changed over time,” Bell noted. Continuing to track how HDL levels change with extent of exposure to traffic air pollution and investigating how air pollution interferes with HDL’s activity in the body will help confirm and understand the role of HDL, Bell added. Nonetheless, “our study helps strengthen the biological plausibility of the link between traffic-related air pollution and cardiovascular disease,” he said. “We're slowly beginning to understand some of the biology of how that link works.”  

Co-authors are Samia Mora, M.D.; Philip Greenland, M.D.; Michael Tsai, Ph.D.; Edward A. Gill, M.D. and Joel D. Kaufman, M.D., M.P.H. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Center for Research Resources, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and LipoScience, Inc. funded this study.

Additional Resources:

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Spokesperson Perspective: (214) 706-1173

Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.

 

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsThu, 13 Apr 2017 20:00:07 GMTStudy Highlights: Traffic-related air pollution may increase risk of developing cardiovascular diseases through its effects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol.  U.S. middle-aged and older adults living in areas with high levels of traffic-related air pollution tended to have lower levels of good cholesterol. Changes in HDL levels were observed after brief and medium-length exposures to air pollution.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/bad-air-may-impact-good-cholesterol-increasing-heart-disease-riskThu, 13 Apr 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Take A Free Test that Could Possibly Save Your Life

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 09:04
DALLAS, April 13, 2017 – As part of #CheckIt, the American Heart Association (AHA) ) – the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease –  wants people to check their own blood pressure by May 17, World Hypertension Day, which is part of National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Through World Hypertension Day, the American Heart Association is joining other organizations in striving to reach 25 million blood pressure checks globally (5 million in the U.S.). Also, participants are encouraged to log their action and learn about high blood pressure.

Recent data from the Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration shows there are about one billion people in the world who have high blood pressure. In the United States, nearly 86 million adults have high blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is almost always preventable with simple steps, yet it kills more people worldwide than any other health condition. Taking control starts with a simple action — getting your blood pressure checked.

“Few severe health conditions are ignored as much as high blood pressure. It’s like having too much pressure in a pipe. It damages the pipe, but you often don’t see a problem until the pipe bursts or becomes clogged,” said Willie Lawrence, M.D., an interventional cardiologist for Midwest Heart & Vascular Specialists in Kansas City and an American Heart Association volunteer. “It is a symptomless disease, so the best way to combat it is to check it regularly to know if you need to start or change treatment.”

Community groups, clinics and workplaces can hold blood pressure checks for large groups through programs like the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control.® initiative. Participants in this free, science-based program have seen blood pressure drop, and one-third improved their level of blood pressure control.

Such programs can be particularly important for those known to face higher risks. Nearly half of all African-Americans have high blood pressure, dramatically increasing their chance of stroke. And blacks, along with Hispanic-Americans, are less likely to have their blood pressure under control, according to recent research.

According to the American Heart Association’s most recent statistics, one in three American adults already has high blood pressure, which can cause heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and even vision loss. It also takes a toll on the brain. Research shows that 45- to 64-year-olds with high blood pressure face an almost 40 percent greater chance of dementia compared to those with normal blood pressure.

But getting a grip on high blood pressure could reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke by 30 percent in men and 38 percent in women, according to the Association.

Healthcare providers may prescribe medication in addition to lifestyle changes — like limiting salt and alcohol, getting regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.

“It may take a few tries to find the right medicine, or combination of medicines, to fit your needs,” Lawrence said. “It’s important that you keep an open dialogue with your provider, and use tools like connected devices, mobile apps or web-based tracking programs to help gather the data you need about your condition and share it with your doctor.”

Additional Resources:

###

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contacts:

Maggie Francis, American Heart Association - maggie.francis@heart.org, 214-706-1382

]]>Heart NewsThu, 13 Apr 2017 14:00:07 GMTDALLAS, April 13, 2017 – As part of #CheckIt, the American Heart Association (AHA) ) – the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease – wants people to check their own blood pressure by May 17, World Hypertension Day, which is part of National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Through World Hypertension Day, the American Heart Association is joining other organizations in striving to reach 25 million blood pressure checks globally (5 million in the U.S.). http://newsroom.heart.org/news/take-a-free-test-that-could-possibly-save-your-lifeThu, 13 Apr 2017 14:00:00 GMT

American Heart Association survey finds patients uncertain about how to best manage their cholesterol

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 07:16
EMBARGOED UNTIL 8 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. CT on Monday, April 10, 2017

DALLAS, April 10, 2017 —  People who have high cholesterol may understand they need to manage their condition, but many aren’t sure how to do that, nor do they feel confident they can, according to a new survey from the American Heart Association. 

       The survey was conducted as part of Check.Change.Control.Cholesterol™, the association’s new initiative to help people better understand and manage their overall risk for cardiovascular disease, especially as it relates to cholesterol. Participants included nearly 800 people from across the country with either a history of cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart attack, stroke) or at least one major cardiovascular disease risk factor, (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes).

      “We wanted to get a sense of what people know about their cholesterol risk and its connection to heart disease and stroke, as well as how people engage with their healthcare providers to manage their risks,” said Mary Ann Bauman, M.D., a member of the American Heart Association’s cholesterol advisory group. “We found even among those people at the highest risk for heart disease and stroke, overall knowledge was lacking and there was a major disconnect between perceptions about cholesterol and the significance of its health impact.”

      High cholesterol is a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke, causing about 2.6 million deaths each year. Yet, nearly half (47 percent) of survey respondents with a known history of or at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke, had not had their cholesterol checked within the past year. Respondents with high cholesterol reported more recent testing, although 21 percent of them had not had their cholesterol checked in the past year.

      Among other survey findings:

  • Most people with high cholesterol said they understood the importance of managing their cholesterol, being confused, discouraged and uncertain about their ability to do so.

  • 82 percent of all respondents identified a link between cholesterol and risk for heart disease and stroke.

  • Overall, people with a history of cardiovascular had lower perceptions of their real medical risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Patients with a history of cardiovascular disease are at high risk for having another cardiovascular disease event, but among these patients, only 29 percent recognized they were high risk for another cardiovascular disease event.

  • Primary care providers were the healthcare professionals who participants talked about cholesterol with most often, and were more likely the ones to first diagnose high cholesterol.

  • The most common treatment recommendation given by healthcare providers were medication (79 percent), exercise (78 percent) and diet modifications (70 percent).

  • Patients with high cholesterol felt they were least informed about what should be their target body weight, the differences between the types of cholesterol (LDL vs HDL) and goals for cholesterol management.

      Nearly 94.6 million, or 40 percent, of American adults, have total cholesterol above 200 mg/dL with approximately 12 percent over 240 mg/dL.

      “Research suggests even modestly elevated cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease later in life, but these survey results show an alarming lack of communication between healthcare providers and those most at risk for cardiovascular disease,” Bauman said. “Current guidelines call for lifestyle modifications as a first line treatment, but that’s often not enough. We also need to talk to patients about other risk factors, including genetics and family history, to determine the most effective course of treatment for each individual.”

      The Check.Change.Control.Cholesterol™ initiative combines a public awareness campaign with guideline-based best practices to help providers and patients work together to identify cardiovascular health risks and agree on a treatment plan to improve health. Through the initiative, a pilot project will be carried out in select practices across the country. Learnings from the pilot project will help structure a national clinical initiative to be rolled out next year.

      A national cholesterol summit will convene on April 11 in Dallas to bring together cholesterol patients, healthcare providers and other stakeholder leaders to discuss gaps in cholesterol management goals — from diagnosis to treatment to adherence. The group’s goal is to identify tangible, actionable solutions that can be implemented through the new cholesterol initiative.

      Check.Change.Control.Cholesterol™ is nationally supported by Sanofi and Regeneron. Learn more about the new initiative at heart.org/CheckChangeControlCholesterol.

###

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – two of the leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is one of the world’s oldest and largest voluntary organizations dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, visit http://www.heart.org/ or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Cathy Lewis (214) 706-1324; cathy.lewis@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Program NewsHeart NewsMon, 10 Apr 2017 12:00:09 GMTDALLAS, April 10, 2017 —  People who have high cholesterol may understand they need to manage their condition, but many aren’t sure how to do that, nor do they feel confident they can, according to a new survey from the American Heart Association. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/american-heart-association-survey-finds-patients-uncertain-about-how-to-best-manage-their-cholesterolMon, 10 Apr 2017 12:00:00 GMT

Pages