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Gaining a few pounds may increase long-term heart failure risk

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 15:19
Study Highlights

  • Modest weight gain over time may alter the structure and function of heart muscle, affecting long-term risk of heart failure.
  • Researchers say maintaining weight and avoiding weight gain may be an important strategy to prevent changes in heart muscle that could lead to heart failure.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 19, 2017

DALLAS, July 19, 2017 — Gaining even a little weight over time may alter the structure and function of heart muscle, affecting long-term risk of heart failure, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Researchers followed 1,262 adults (average age 44, 57 percent women, 44 percent black, 36 percent obese) who were free from heart disease and other conditions that put them at high risk for heart disease for seven years. Participants had MRIs scans of their hearts and multiple body fat measurements at the start of the study and then seven years later.

Researchers found those who gained weight:

  • even as little as 5 percent, were more likely to have thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle, well-established indicators of future heart failure;

  • were more likely to exhibit subtle decreases in their hearts’ pumping ability; and

  • were more likely to exhibit changes in heart muscle appearance and function that persisted even after the researchers eliminated other factors that could affect heart muscle performance and appearance, including high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use.

Conversely, people who lost weight were more likely to exhibit decreases in heart muscle thickness.

Notably, how much a person weighed at the beginning of the study didn’t impact the changes, suggesting that even those of normal weight could experience adverse heart effects if they gain weight over time, researchers said.

“Any weight gain may lead to detrimental changes in the heart above and beyond the effects of baseline weight so that prevention should focus on weight loss or if meaningful weight loss cannot be achieved – the focus should be on weight stability,” said Ian Neeland, M.D., study senior author and a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. “Counseling to maintain weight stability, even in the absence of weight loss, may be an important preventive strategy among high-risk individuals.”

The researchers caution that their study was relatively small and their findings do not mean that every person with weight gain will necessarily develop heart failure. The results do suggest that changes in weight may affect heart muscle in ways that can change the organ’s function.

Further research is needed to determine whether aggressive weight management could, reverse the changes, Neeland said.

Co-authors are Bryan Wilner, M.D.; Sonia Garg, M.D.; Colby Ayers, M.S.; Christopher D. Maroules, M.D.; Roderick McColl, Ph.D.; Susan A. Matulevicius, M.D.; James A. de Lemos, M.D.; Mark H. Drazner, M.D. and Ronal Peshock, M.D. Author disclosures and funding 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

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

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsWed, 19 Jul 2017 20:00:10 GMTStudy Highlights: Modest weight gain over time may alter the structure and function of heart muscle, affecting long-term risk of heart failure. Researchers say maintaining weight and avoiding weight gain may be an important strategy to prevent changes in heart muscle that could lead to heart failure. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/gaining-a-few-pounds-may-increase-long-term-heart-failure-riskWed, 19 Jul 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Government funds dwindle for cardiac arrest research

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 15:51
Study Highlights

  • Despite being a leading cause of death, annual National Institutes of Health (NIH) investment in cardiac arrest research is a fraction of the dollars spent to research other deadly conditions.
  • In 2015, $91 was invested in cardiac arrest research per death compared to $13,000 per diabetes death.
  • This is the first study to examine the trend in annual cardiac arrest research funding in the United States.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 12, 2017

DALLAS, July 12, 2017 — National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to conduct cardiac arrest research has dwindled in the last decade and is a fraction of what the government spends to study other leading causes of death, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Study authors cite Institute of Medicine statistics that suggest cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 450,000 lives each year.

“If you look at the public health burden of cardiac arrest, it’s a major public health issue,” said senior study author Robert Neumar, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the University of Michigan Health System’s Department of Emergency Medicine in Ann Arbor Michigan. “Right now, if someone has a sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital, they have a less than one in 10 chance of surviving. If they have a sudden cardiac arrest inside the hospital, they have a one in four chance of surviving.”

Cardiac arrest is treatable when people, including bystanders, know what to do and act quickly, according to lead study author Ryan A. Coute, a medical student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, who conducted the research while completing a fellowship at University of Michigan. “Funding of cardiac arrest research is a critical step towards improving survival of cardiac arrest,” Coute said.

Researchers studied NIH trends in cardiac arrest research funding from 2007 to 2016 and compared the investment in cardiac arrest research to that of other leading causes of death in the United States.

In 2015, NIH investment breakdown was:

  • $13,000 for each death from diabetes;
  • $9,000 per cancer death;
  • $2,200 for each stroke fatality;
  • $2,100 for each death from heart disease; and
  • $91 for each death from cardiac arrest.

Overall, cardiac arrest research funding decreased during the last decade.

In 2007, adjusted for inflation, funding was $35.4 million but was down nearly 7 million to $28.5 million in 2016.

Cardiac research received about 0.19 percent of the total NIH research grant funding in 2015.

While there has been an increase in research funding for pediatric cardiac arrest and cardiac arrest training during the past decade, little to no growth has occurred in the number of funded researchers, newly funded grants and overall funded grants from the NIH.

Unlike diseases, which often receive research funding from industry, including pharmaceutical companies or medical device makers, cardiac arrest rarely receives funding from outside sources and relies heavily government research dollars, the authors wrote.

“One of the challenges could be that we don’t have enough scientists applying for grants in cardiac arrest research,” Neumar said. “It could also be a chicken or the egg scenario where there isn’t enough money to do research, so researchers study other diseases.”

This study is the first to provide a detailed picture of the trend in annual cardiac arrest research funding in the United States.

“Although our results do not demonstrate the cause in this apparent funding disparity, they should help inform the debate regarding optimal funding of cardiac arrest research in the U.S.,” Coute said.

Other co-authors are Ashish R. Panchal, M.D., Ph.D., and Timothy J. Mader, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation supported Ryan Coute, who was a research fellow during 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.

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: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsWed, 12 Jul 2017 20:00:08 GMTStudy Highlights: Despite being a leading cause of death, annual National Institutes of Health (NIH) investment in cardiac arrest research is a fraction of the dollars spent to research other deadly conditions. In 2015, $91 was invested in cardiac arrest research per death compared to $13,000 per diabetes death. This is the first study to examine the trend in annual cardiac arrest research funding in the United States. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/government-funds-dwindle-for-cardiac-arrest-researchWed, 12 Jul 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Blacks suffer higher rates of fatal first-time heart attacks than whites

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 15:10
Study Highlights

  • Black adults, ages 45-64 years of age, are twice as likely to die during their initial cardiac event as white adults.
  • However, the risk for nonfatal coronary heart disease is consistently lower among black men versus white men.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, July 10, 2017  

DALLAS, July 10, 2017 — Black men may have similar risk of coronary heart disease as white men, but their first cardiac event is twice as likely to be fatal. That means preventing a first heart attack is even more crucial for blacks, according to research findings reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

In an analysis that examined cardiac events in three major heart studies, researchers found that in two of these studies, black adults aged 45-64 have about twice the risk of fatal events compared with whites. The same is true for older individuals, with less pronounced differences. The study found that this high risk may be due to cardiovascular risk factors and the conditions in which people are born, grow, work and live – known as social determinants of health.

However, the findings differed for nonfatal events. Accounting for these same factors resulted in lower risk of nonfatal events in black men compared to white men, with similar patterns among women that were not statistically significant. According to the researchers, blacks have a higher burden of unfavorable social determinants of health and cardiovascular risk factors, so the lower risk of nonfatal cardiac events among blacks, especially black men, after accounting for these factors was surprising. These findings suggest that some other factor that the researchers could not measure may be driving the findings.

“Our concern is that blacks may not be seeking medical attention for important symptoms that could signal heart problems,” said Monika Safford, M.D., senior author and John J. Kuiper Professor of Medicine and Chief of General Internal Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. “Greater public awareness of heart attack symptoms would benefit everyone. Many people think that heart attacks are only present if they have severe chest pain. In fact, many heart attacks cause only mild symptoms and people may mistakenly think they are having a bout of indigestion.” If the heart condition is not recognized, medications that save lives after a heart attack cannot be offered.

The lead author of the study is Lisandro Colantonio, M.D., Ph.D.; and co-authors are Christopher Gamboa, MPH; Joshua Richman, M.D., Ph.D.; Emily Levitan, ScD; Elsayed Soliman, M.D.; and George Howard, ScD.

Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services; and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute supported 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

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: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsMon, 10 Jul 2017 20:00:10 GMTStudy Highlights: Black adults, ages 45-64 years of age, are twice as likely to die during their initial cardiac event as white adults. However, the risk for nonfatal coronary heart disease is consistently lower among black men versus white men. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/blacks-suffer-higher-rates-of-fatal-first-time-heart-attacks-than-whitesMon, 10 Jul 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Health insurance expansion via Obamacare linked to fewer cardiac arrests

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 15:31
Study Highlights

  • The incidence of cardiac arrest significantly decreased among middle-aged adults who acquired health insurance after the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) expanded coverage.
  • Among older adults with constant health insurance coverage, the incidence of cardiac arrest remained the same.
  • These preliminary findings highlight the importance of preventive medical care but do not definitively prove that health insurance expansion prevents cardiac arrest, researchers noted.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 28, 2017

DALLAS, June 28, 2017 — A sudden catastrophic loss of heart function, or cardiac arrest, occurred significantly less among adults who acquired health insurance via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

In a study of emergency medical services in an urban Oregon county before and after the ACA, researchers noted that the incidence of cardiac arrest was significantly lower among middle-aged adults after they gained health insurance through the ACA, primarily through Medicaid expansion.

Among adults between 45 and 64 years old, the incidence of cardiac arrest decreased by 17 percent. In contrast, the incidence remained the same among adults over age 65 with consistently high rates of health insurance coverage, primarily through Medicare.

“Cardiac arrest is devastating and under-recognized cause of premature death for both men and women older than 45 years,” said study lead author Eric Stecker, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of cardiology at Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute in Portland, Oregon. “Health insurance allows people to engage in regular medical care, which is crucial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that can cause cardiac arrest.”

In the United States, more than 350,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest happen each year. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s regulatory system suddenly malfunctions, causing an abnormal heart rhythm. Death occurs if immediate medical attention, including CPR, isn’t started after cardiac arrest.

In this study, researchers used records for emergency medical services in Multnomah County, Oregon, to identify patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. They then compared this information to U.S. Census Bureau data for the county’s adult population in the years before ACA implementation (2011-2012) and after ACA implementation (2014-2015). The study was part of a larger research project led by the study’s senior author Sumeet Chugh, M.D., director of the Heart Rhythm Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.

“These findings underscore the important role of prevention in the battle against sudden cardiac arrest, which affects almost a thousand Americans every day,” Chugh said. “Less than 10 percent of these patients make it out of the hospital alive, so by the time we dial 9-1-1 it is much too late. For this reason, effective primary prevention is vital.”

Although the results of this small, preliminary study show an association between health insurance and lower rates of cardiac arrest, they do not prove cause and effect. To prove that health insurance decreases the rate of cardiac arrest, it is necessary to do larger studies that control other possible influences and include more diverse groups of patients.

Still, the results confirm the American Heart Association’s support of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and other health insurance coverage.

“It is critical to more comprehensively identify the health benefits of insurance and to carefully consider public policies that affect the number of uninsured Americans,” Stecker said.

In an accompanying editorial Mary Fran Hazinski, R.N., MSN, and Carole R. Myers, Ph.D., RN., note expanded Medicaid services have reduced deaths in other states but call these findings “intriguing.”

“The hypothesized relationship between healthcare expansion and decline in [out-of-hospital cardiac arrest] incidence is certainly a timely question that requires further study,” they wrote.  “A follow-up study should be based on a framework that looks more broadly at a complement of social and other determinants of health, and accounts for the various dimensions of access, and evaluates access by looking at utilization.”

Hazinski is a former consultant for the American Heart Association.

Co-authors are Kyndaron Reinier, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Carmen Rusinaru, M.D., Ph.D.; Audrey Uy-Evanado, M.D.; Jonathan Jui, M.D., M.P.H.; and Sumeet Chugh, M.D. 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.

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) 706-1134; bridgette.mcneill@heart.org  

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsWed, 28 Jun 2017 20:00:09 GMTStudy Highlights: The incidence of cardiac arrest significantly decreased among middle-aged adults who acquired health insurance after the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) expanded coverage. Among older adults with constant health insurance coverage, the incidence of cardiac arrest remained the same. These preliminary findings highlight the importance of preventive medical care but do not definitively prove that health insurance expansion prevents cardiac arrest, researchers noted. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/health-insurance-expansion-via-obamacare-linked-to-fewer-cardiac-arrestsWed, 28 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Hospitalizations for heart failure on the decline; disparities remain for blacks and men

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 15:38
Study Highlights

  • Heart failure hospitalizations in the United States have declined overall but remain significantly higher among blacks.
  • While still hospitalized more than whites, the disparity narrowed between Hispanics and whites.
  • Men were hospitalized more than women.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, June 27, 2017

DALLAS, June 27, 2017 – The number of people hospitalized for heart failure in the United States declined about 30 percent between 2002 and 2013, but large disparities between blacks vs. whites and men vs. women remain, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

The study is the first to report on the age-standardized racial/ethnic differences in national heart failure hospitalization rates between whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders.

Researchers examined data from the National Inpatient Survey from 2002-2013, which consisted of data from 7-8 million hospital discharge per year across thousands of hospitals.

They found:

  • Overall, the national rate of heart failure hospitalization decreased by about 30 percent.
  • Hospitalization rates for heart failure in men grew to be 39 percent higher than women.
  • Hospitalization rates for heart failure in blacks was more than 200 percent higher than for whites with no significant change over the period.
  • The rate for Hispanics dropped much faster than for whites with the disparity between the two groups narrowing to just 4 percent higher among Hispanic men, and decreasing from an initial 55 percent higher rate among Hispanic women in 2002 to only 8 percent higher in 2013.

The decrease in hospitalization rates suggest that efforts to improve outpatient treatment and prevention measures have successfully reduced the number of heart failure patients needing hospitalization. However, the improvements are not equally distributed across races/ethnicities and genders.

“Disparities in disease burden for males and especially African-Americans have not improved in the recent decade,” said lead author Boback Ziaeian, M.D., Ph.D., clinical instructor at the University of California Los Angeles and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “The findings highlight the need to address population-based health, prevention and outpatient management of chronic diseases.”

The authors note higher hospitalization burden among blacks and Hispanics is more reflective of underlying social determinants of health of health rather than genetics or physiologic differences.

The results should be met with caution as data collection had limitations.

Co-authors are Gerald F. Kominski, Ph.D., Michael K. Ong, M.D., Ph.D.., Vickie M.

Mays, Ph.D., Robert H. Brook, M.D., Sc.D. and Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Institutes of Health partially 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

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

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

 

 

]]>Heart NewsTue, 27 Jun 2017 20:00:08 GMTStudy Highlights: Heart failure hospitalizations in the United States have declined overall but remain significantly higher among blacks. While still hospitalized more than whites, the disparity narrowed between Hispanics and whites. Men were hospitalized more than women. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/hospitalizations-for-heart-failure-on-the-decline-disparities-remain-for-blacks-and-menTue, 27 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

More funding for heart disease research crucial for health of patients and the economy

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:07
Statement Highlights

  • By 2030, more than 40 percent of the U.S. population is projected to have heart failure or other forms of heart disease, with costs exceeding $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity.
  • Funding biomedical research is essential to the country’s health, but government and private funding is not keeping pace with need.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, June 26, 2017

DALLAS, June 26, 2017 — Biomedical research on heart disease produces a significant return on investment for both health and the economy, but government and private funding is not keeping pace with need, according to a new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research.

“For the last decade, biological research has been under siege owing to tightening budgets at the taxpayer funded National Institutes of Health and private funders,” said Joseph A. Hill, M.D., Ph.D. chair of the writing committee of the new scientific statement.

“Many people question the value of scientific research funded with taxpayer dollars, yet this research is essential to both our nation’s health and to our economy,” said Hill, who is also the James T. Willerson, M.D., distinguished chair in cardiovascular diseases at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the editor-in-chief of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

For example, Hill pointed to the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which is estimated to have contributed to approximately 200,000 fewer cases of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease since its results were published in 2003. The initiative was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to the considerable health benefits from the WHI, the economic return from the $260 million program is estimated to be $37 billion in healthcare costs and work productivity, yielding a return on investment of $142 saved for every dollar spent.

While advances in treatments for heart disease over the last 50 years have led to a 75 percent decrease in deaths from heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions, many people who previously would have died from a heart attack now leave the hospital with a damaged heart. This scenario frequently leads to heart failure, a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to maintain its workload.

“Beyond many benefits to individual and societal health, investments in research yield substantial economic returns in terms of jobs and tax revenues, products in the marketplace and for export, and skills that promote economic growth in other areas, which together ultimately “pay back” the money spent,” said Hill.

By 2030, more than 40 percent of the U.S. population is projected to have heart failure or other forms of heart disease, with costs exceeding $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity.

Discoveries that result from biomedical research lead to new insights into the underpinnings of disease, which in turn leads to new drug targets and the development of better drugs and improved diagnostic strategies.

Although scientific advances have dramatically prolonged the lives of people with heart disease, it remains the number one killer of men and women around the world and likely will continue into the future, Hill said.

Co-authors are Christine Seidman, M.D., vice-chair; Reza Ardehali, M.D., Ph.D.; Kimberli Taylor Clarke, M.D.; Gregory J. del Zoppo, M.D.; Lee L. Eckhardt, M.D.; Kathy K. Griendling, Ph.D.; Peter Libby, M.D.; Dan M. Roden, M.D.; Hesham A. Sadek, M.D.; and Douglas E. Vaughan, M.D.

Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Additional Resources:

###

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 and device manufacturers 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: (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

]]>Heart NewsMon, 26 Jun 2017 20:00:14 GMTStatement Highlights: By 2030, more than 40 percent of the U.S. population is projected to have heart failure or other forms of heart disease, with costs exceeding $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity. Funding biomedical research is essential to the country’s health, but government and private funding is not keeping pace with need. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/more-funding-for-heart-disease-research-crucial-for-health-of-patients-and-the-economyMon, 26 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

African Americans with healthier lifestyles had lower risk of high blood pressure

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:07
Study Highlights

  • For every additional healthy behavior African Americans followed, there was a reduced risk for high blood pressure.
  • African Americans who followed 6 of the Life’s Simple 7 modifiable healthy behaviors had a 90 percent lower risk for high blood pressure than those who followed 0-1 of these behaviors.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET, Monday, June 26, 2017

DALLAS, June 26, 2017 – Among African Americans, small health improvements were associated with lower risk of developing high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension. African Americans who had at least two modifiable healthy behaviors at the beginning of the study, compared to those with one or none, researchers found the risk of high blood pressure at follow-up was reduced by 20 percent.

Researchers also found that there was a 90 percent lower risk for high blood pressure among African Americans who had at least six of seven modifiable healthy behaviors that are defined as part of the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 compared with participants who followed none or one.

The Life’s Simple 7 was developed by the American Heart Association to monitor cardiovascular health in US adults and to help demonstrate that small changes can lead to a big impact in improving heart health. The Life’s Simple 7 includes: not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; eating healthy; being physically active; maintaining healthy blood sugar levels; controlling cholesterol levels and managing blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Compared with whites, African Americans have a greater risk for developing high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, currently one out of three adults in America has high blood pressure. Among non-Hispanic blacks, 45 percent of men and nearly half (46.3 percent) of women have high blood pressure.

“The Life’s Simple 7, an approach used by the American Heart Association to monitor cardiovascular health, can also be used to monitor high blood pressure risk in African Americans, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said John N. Booth, III, MS, lead study author and PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We found that even small improvements in cardiovascular health can reduce risk for developing high blood pressure.”

These latest findings are based on the Jackson Heart Study, a community-based study designed to assess cardiovascular risk among African Americans. Blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol were measured in more than 5,000 study participants (5,306 total). They were also asked about their exercise, eating and smoking habits at the beginning of the study and followed up about 8 years later.

Among the study group researchers found:

  • More than half (50.3 percent) developed high blood pressure.
  • Eight out of 10 (81.3 percent) who followed only one or none of the healthy behaviors developed high blood pressure compared with only 1 in 10 (11.1 percent) of participants who followed six of the behaviors. None of the participants followed all seven healthy behaviors at the beginning of the study.

Overall, participants who followed more ideal health behaviors were younger and more likely to be women and to have at least a high school education and a household income of at least $25,000 a year.

Booth said that more research is needed to better understand why African Americans remain a population particularly vulnerable to high blood pressure, but that the Life’s Simple 7 program offers an opportunity to intervene and reduce their risk for additional heart health complications.

Co-authors are: John N. Booth III, MS; Paul Muntner, PhD Marwah Abdalla, MD, MPH; Rikki Tanner, PhD; Keith Diaz, PhD; Samantha Bromfield, PhD; Gabriel Tajeu, PhD; Adolfo Correa, MD, PhD; Mario Sims, PhD; Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD; Adam Bress, PharmD; Tanya Spruill, PhD; and Daichi Shimbo, MD;. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Jackson Heart Study is funded by Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center contracts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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

 

]]>Heart NewsMon, 26 Jun 2017 20:00:09 GMTStudy Highlights: For every additional healthy behavior African Americans followed, there was a reduced risk for high blood pressure. African Americans who followed 6 of the Life’s Simple 7 modifiable healthy behaviors had a 90 percent lower risk for high blood pressure than those who followed 0-1 of these behaviors. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/african-americans-with-healthier-lifestyles-had-lower-risk-of-high-blood-pressureMon, 26 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Study: AHA Guidelines to Treating Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 10:03
DALLAS, Monday, June 26, 2017 – The most recent dual antiplatelet guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology encourage healthcare providers to take a customized approach to treating patients with coronary artery disease. Healthcare providers can find out more about the latest best practices for using dual antiplatelet therapy by going to www.heart.org/amitoolkit.

The guidelines update recommendations in six previously published treatment guidelines, including those for bypass graft surgery, catheter-placed stents and myocardial infarction patients. The comprehensive new version reflects today’s best practices for using aspirin combined with P2Y12 receptor inhibitors clopidogrel, prasugrel or ticagrelor. It includes a review of 11 studies of patients treated with coronary stent implantation done predominately with drug-eluting stents, to assess the risks and benefits of shorter-versus longer-duration dual antiplatelet therapy.

“With drug-eluting stents, which represent one of the most common types of the stents used today, we have better outcomes, with lower risk of restenosis. But the downside is we have to use dual antiplatelet therapies for much longer,” said John A. Osborne, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist at State of the Heart Cardiology in Dallas.

Newer longer-term studies have helped to clarify optimal durations of dual antiplatelet therapy for specific patients, according to Osborne.

“One of the big questions among providers has been: What is the benefit, versus the harm, of long-term therapy?” said Osborne. “The guidelines suggest that longer term therapy may be reasonable for certain individuals, including those who are at lower risk of bleeding, because we are seeing further reduction of cardiovascular events with prolonged use of these drugs.”

Studies looking at prolonging dual antiplatelet therapy for an additional 18 or 48 months have found decreased risks of heart attack and stent thrombosis, but increased bleeding risk.

To get the best outcomes, providers must weigh the patient’s bleeding risk into the equation, according to Osborne.

The good news is that patients who are at generally lower risk of subsequent events but higher bleeding risk have fared well in studies looking at three to six months of dual antiplatelet therapy, compared with a standard 12 months of therapy. In appropriate patients, reducing the duration of dual antiplatelet therapy did not increase stent thrombosis risk and resulted in fewer bleeding complications.

The authors recommend shorter-duration dual antiplatelet therapy in patients treated with “newer-generation,” versus “first-generation,” drug-eluting stents.

The key for providers, according to Osborne, is individualization. For example, patients at higher than average cardiovascular risk, who appear to have a low bleeding risk,  benefit from not only continued efforts at risk factor modification but also may benefit from prolonged dual antiplatelet therapy treatment, he said. To help with those risk assessments, the guidelines provide lists of factors that increase clotting and heart attack risk, as well as increase bleeding risk.

The update also addresses such things as aspirin use, recommending most patients remain on a dose of 81 mg aspirin daily indefinitely after dual antiplatelet therapy.

It’s important for providers to take notice of the changes in the latest dual antiplatelet therapy update because the recommendations impact the quality of care for many among the roughly 16.5 million Americans with coronary heart disease.

“Guidelines always change according to the latest science. We want to make sure that providers are informed of the latest data, and how it ultimately will have the best impact for our patients,” Osborne said.

###

About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are 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 American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. 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:

Alexson Calahan: (515) 994-0772; Alexson.Calahan@heart.org

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsProgram NewsMon, 26 Jun 2017 14:38:50 GMTThe most recent dual antiplatelet guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology encourage healthcare providers to take a customized approach to treating patients with coronary artery disease. Healthcare providers can find out more about the latest best practices for using dual antiplatelet therapy by going to www.heart.org/amitoolkit.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/study-aha-guidelines-to-treating-patients-with-coronary-artery-diseaseMon, 26 Jun 2017 13:00:00 GMT

Breastfeeding may reduce a mother’s heart attack and stroke risk

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 15:31
Study Highlights

  • Breastfeeding is not only healthy for children, it may reduce a mother’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life.
  • A study of Chinese women found that the longer a mother breastfeeds, the greater the cardiovascular health benefit appears to be.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DALLAS, June 21, 2017 — Breastfeeding is not only healthy for babies, it may also reduce a mother’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life, according to new research published in of the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Previous studies have suggested that mothers get short-term health benefits from breastfeeding, such as weight loss and lower cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels after pregnancy. However, the long-term effects of breastfeeding on the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in mothers are unclear. A new study in China found that women who breastfed their babies had about a ten percent lower risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

Researchers from the University of Oxford, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking University analyzed data from 289,573 Chinese women (average age 51) participating in the China Kadoorie Biobank study who provided detailed information about their reproductive history and other lifestyle factors. Nearly all were mothers and none had cardiovascular disease when they enrolled in the study. After eight years of follow-up, there were 16,671 cases of coronary heart disease, which includes heart attacks, and 23,983 stroke cases.

Researchers observed that:

  • Compared to women who had never breastfed, mothers who breastfed their babies had a 9 percent lower risk of heart disease and an 8 percent lower risk of stroke.
  • Among mothers who breastfed each of their babies for two years or more, heart disease risk was 18 percent lower and stroke risk was 17 percent lower than among mothers who never breastfed.
  • Each additional 6 months of breastfeeding per baby was associated with a 4 percent lower risk of heart disease and a 3 percent lower risk of stroke.

The researchers considered a range of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and physical activity that could have biased results.

“Although we cannot establish the causal effects, the health benefits to the mother from breastfeeding may be explained by a faster “reset” of the mother’s metabolism after pregnancy. Pregnancy changes a woman’s metabolism dramatically as she stores fat to provide the energy necessary for her baby’s growth and for breastfeeding once the baby is born. Breastfeeding could eliminate the stored fat faster and more completely,” said co-author, Sanne Peters, Ph.D., a research fellow at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The authors noted that women who breastfeed may be more likely to engage in other beneficial health behaviors that lower their risk of cardiovascular disease compared to women who do not breastfeed.

Because this study was observational, relying on information provided by the mothers about their breastfeeding histories, it does not prove cause and effect. Results from observational studies such as this one must be confirmed by a different type of study that can prove that a behavior may results in an outcome.

Compared to women in China, breastfeeding duration is typically shorter among women in the United States. Ninety-seven percent of the women in this study breastfed each of their babies for an average of 12 months, compared to 30 percent of U.S. mothers in 2016, according to the World Health Organization. However, the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study found only women with a lifetime duration of breastfeeding of 2 years or more had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who never breastfed. 

 “The findings should encourage more widespread breastfeeding for the benefit of the mother as well as the child,” said Zhengming Chen, M.B.B.S., D.Phil., senior study author and professor of epidemiology at the University of Oxford. “The study provides support for the World Health Organization’s recommendation that mothers should breastfeed their babies exclusively for their first six months of life.”

The American Heart Association suggests breastfeeding for 12 months if possible.

Co-authors are Ling Yang, Ph.D.; Yu Guo, M.Sc.; Yiping Chen, D.Phil.; Zheng Bian, M.Sc.; Jianwei Du, M.D.; Jie Yang, MSc.; Shanpeng Li, M.Sc.; Liming Li, M.P.H. and Mark Woodward, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, Hong Kong; UK Wellcome Trust; Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology; Chinese National Natural Science Foundation; The British Heart Foundation; UK Medical Research Council; Cancer Research UK; National Natural Science Foundation of China and British Heart Foundation 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

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

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsStroke NewsWed, 21 Jun 2017 20:00:07 GMTBreastfeeding is not only healthy for children, it may reduce a mother’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life. A study of Chinese women found that the longer a mother breastfeeds, the greater the cardiovascular health benefit appears to be. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/breastfeeding-may-reduce-a-mothers-heart-attack-and-stroke-riskWed, 21 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Healthcare providers should individualize patient education

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 15:29
Statement Highlight

  • Health information should be tailored to a patient’s ability to understand health concepts and keep them motivated to maintain long-term changes.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, June 19, 2017

DALLAS, June 19, 2017 — Effective patient education includes more than brochures and written patient information. It should be tailored to a patient’s ability to understand recommendations to help them manage their health and control their risk factors, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published in the Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The statement encourages healthcare professionals to use a multi-faceted approach to help patients and their families learn healthy habits after a heart attack or if they have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation or heart failure.

“As hospital stays and clinic visits get shorter, the responsibility for patient management has increasingly shifted to patients and their families,” said Susan Barnason, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the statement and professor of nursing practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln.

“Patient education can’t be one-size-fits-all. It needs to meet the patients where they are, so clinicians need to assess their patients’ health literacy and cognitive skills, and include family and other caregivers when needed,” Barnason said.

The statement recommends a collaborative approach between healthcare providers, the patient and their family. For example, a regular follow-up call from a nurse could be helpful for a patient struggling to make healthy lifestyle choices. Registered dieticians or health coaches can help patients solve barriers to healthy lifestyle changes. Nurses can provide brief self-management support and training for patients in regular medical visits. 

“Tell your provider if you don’t understand your condition or you are unclear about the plan to help you manage it. Your physician may schedule an extended or follow-up visit, or may ask the nurse to answer your immediate questions,” Barnason said.

Technological advances, such as such as apps that allow people to measure and monitor blood pressure or track and remind them to take their medication, may make it easier and more engaging for patients to monitor their health and communicate the results with their healthcare providers.

“We can’t make you take your pills or check your blood pressure or blood sugar. Some of the new technologies help it become more real – instead of just putting numbers on a piece of paper you can see the trends and get a better picture of how you’re doing.” Barnason said.

Co-authors are co-chair of the writing committee Connie White-Williams, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P.; Laura P. Rossi, Ph.D., R.N.; Mae Centeno, D.N.P., R.N., C.C.N.S., A.C.N.S.-B.C.; Deborah L. Crabbe, M.D.; Kyoung Suk Lee, Ph.D., R.N., M.P.H.; Nancy McCabe, Ph.D., R.N.; Julie Nauser, Ph.D., R.N.; Paula Schulz, Ph.D., R.N.; Kelly Stamp, Ph.D., R.N., A.P.N.-C. and Kathryn Wood, Ph.D., R.N. on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Stroke Council. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Additional Resources:

###

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 and device manufacturers 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: (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

]]>Heart NewsMon, 19 Jun 2017 20:00:08 GMTStatement Highlight: Health information should be tailored to a patient’s ability to understand health concepts and keep them motivated to maintain long-term changes. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/healthcare-providers-should-individualize-patient-educationMon, 19 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Replacing saturated fat with healthier fat may lower cholesterol as well as drugs in context of a healthy diet

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 15:19
Highlights

  • Scientific studies that lowered intake of saturated fat and replaced it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced cardiovascular disease by approximately 30 percent; similar to cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins.
  • Several studies found that coconut oil – which is predominantly saturated fat and widely touted as healthy – raised LDL cholesterol the same way as other saturated fats found in butter, beef fat and palm oil.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Thursday, June 15, 2017  

DALLAS, June 17, 2017 – The American Heart Association continues to recommend replacing saturated fats with poly- and mono-unsaturated vegetable oil to help prevent heart disease, according to a new American Heart Association advisory, published in the association’s journal Circulation.

Periodically, the evidence supporting limiting saturated fats has been questioned in scientific literature and the popular press. This advisory was commissioned to review the current evidence and explain the scientific framework behind the American Heart Association’s long-standing recommendation to limit foods high in saturated fats. 

“We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels,” said Frank Sacks, M.D., lead author of the advisory and professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. “Saturated fat increases LDL – bad cholesterol – which is a major cause of artery-clogging plaque and cardiovascular disease.”

Saturated fats are found in meat, full-fat dairy products and tropical oils such as coconut, palm and others. Other types of fats include poly-unsaturated fats, found in corn, soybean, peanut and other oils, and mono-unsaturated fats, found in olive, canola, safflower, avocado and other oils. The advisory reports that:  

  • Randomized controlled trials that lowered intake of dietary saturated fat and replaced it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced cardiovascular disease by approximately 30 percent –similar to that achieved by cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins.
  • Prospective observational studies in many populations showed that lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease.
  • Several studies found that coconut oil – which is predominantly saturated fat and widely touted as healthy – raised LDL cholesterol in the same way as other saturated fats found in butter, beef fat and palm oil.
  • Replacement of saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrate and sugars is not associated with lower rates of CVD.

“A healthy diet doesn’t just limit certain unfavorable nutrients, such as saturated fats, that can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other blood vessel diseases. It should also focus on healthy foods rich in nutrients that can help reduce disease risk, like poly- and mono-unsaturated vegetable oils, nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and others,” Sacks said.

Examples of healthy dietary patterns include the Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and a Mediterranean-style diet, both of which emphasize unsaturated vegetable oils, nuts, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish and poultry and limits red meat, as well as foods and drinks high in added sugars and salt.

Co-authors are Alice H. Lichtenstein, ScD.; Jason H.Y. Wu, MSc., Ph.D.; Lawrence J. Appel, M.P.H., M.D.; Mark A. Creager, M.D.; Penny Kris-Etherton, R.D., Ph.D.; Michael Miller, M.D.; Eric B. Rimm, ScD.; Larry Rudel, Ph.D., Jennifer G. Robinson, Ph.D.; Neil J. Stone, M.D.; Linda Van Horn, R.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Additional Resources:

###

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 and device manufacturers 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

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

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

]]>Heart NewsThu, 15 Jun 2017 20:00:11 GMTHighlights: Scientific studies that lowered intake of saturated fat and replaced it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced cardiovascular disease by approximately 30 percent; similar to cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins. Several studies found that coconut oil – which is predominantly saturated fat and widely touted as healthy – raised LDL cholesterol the same way as other saturated fats found in butter, beef fat and palm oil. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/replacing-saturated-fat-with-healthier-fat-may-lower-cholesterol-as-well-as-drugs-in-context-of-a-healthy-dietThu, 15 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Horse, rhythm-and-music therapies may boost recovery after stroke

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 15:19
Study Highlights

  • Horseback riding and rhythm-and-music therapies may improve balance, gait, cognition and long-term perception of recovery for stroke survivor’s years after their stroke.
  • Researchers said significant improvements are still possible years after stroke using motivating, comprehensive therapies that combine physical, sensory, cognitive and social components to stimulate and increase brain activity.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Thursday, June 15, 2017

DALLAS, June 15, 2017 — Horseback riding and rhythm-and-music therapies may improve stroke survivors’ perception of recovery, gait, balance, grip strength and cognition years after their stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

A variety of interventions that engage patients in physical, sensory, cognitive and social activities simultaneously target a range of functions. Researchers said this combination of different activities and stimuli, rather than the individual components, appear to produce additional beneficial effects for stroke recovery.

“Significant improvements are still possible, even years after a stroke, using motivating, comprehensive therapies provided in stimulating physical and social surroundings to increase brain activity and recovery,” said Michael Nilsson, M.D., Ph.D. senior author and Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute and Professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia and University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Researchers studied 123 Swedish men and women (age 50-75) who had suffered strokes between 10 months and 5 years earlier. Survivors were randomly assigned to rhythm-and-music therapy, horse-riding therapy or ordinary care (the control group). The therapies were given twice a week for 12 weeks.

Researchers found that among the survivors who felt they experienced an increased perception of recovery:

  • 56 percent were in the horse-riding group;
  • 38 percent in the rhythm and music group; and
  • 17 percent in the “control or usual care” group.

The perception of recovery was sustained at three-month and six-month follow-ups.

Horse-riding therapy produces a multisensory environment and the three-dimensional movements of the horse’s back create a sensory experience that closely resembles normal human gait and is beneficial for stroke survivors.

In rhythm-and-music therapy patients listen to music while performing rhythmic and cognitively demanding hand and feet movements to visual and audio cues. Researchers found that the rhythm-and-music activity helped survivors with balance, grip-strength and working memory.

Limitations of the study include the relatively small number of participants and survivors with severe disabilities could not be considered for the therapy. In addition, researchers doubt these therapies would be cost-effective if patients with mild deficiencies had been included.

Further analyses of the study results and follow-up studies involving more participants are planned to help determine efficiency, timing and costs.

Co-authors are Lina Bunketorp-Käll, Ph.D.; Åsa Lundgren-Nilsson, Ph.D.; Hans Samuelsson, Ph.D.; Tulen Pekny, M.D.; Karin Blomvé, M.D.; Marcela Pekna, M.D., Ph.D.; Milos Pekny, M.D., Ph.D.; and Christian Blomstrand, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures and funding 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

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 NewsThu, 15 Jun 2017 20:00:07 GMTStudy Highlights: Horseback riding and rhythm-and-music therapies may improve balance, gait, cognition and long-term perception of recovery for stroke survivor’s years after their stroke. Researchers said significant improvements are still possible years after stroke using motivating, comprehensive therapies that combine physical, sensory, cognitive and social components to stimulate and increase brain activity. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/horse-rhythm-and-music-therapies-may-boost-recovery-after-strokeThu, 15 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Snake venom might provide a safer antiplatelet drug

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 15:17
Study Highlights:

  • In preliminary research, an antiplatelet drug based on a snake venom protein prevented blood clotting without leading to excessive bleeding, a dangerous side effect of currently available antiplatelet drugs.
  • The venom protein may be the template for a new class of antiplatelet drugs that offers fewer bleeding complications.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Thursday, June 8, 2017

DALLAS, June 8, 2017 – Researchers have designed a safer antiplatelet drug based on a snake venom, according to new research in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal.

Antiplatelet drugs prevent blood cells called platelets from clumping together and forming blood clots and are widely used to treat heart disease. Excessive bleeding after injury is a serious effect of current antiplatelet drugs.

Researchers from the National Taiwan University designed a drug to interact with the protein glycoprotein VI (GPVI) that sits on the surface of platelets.

An earlier study by the team found that trowaglerix, a protein in the venom of the Tropidolaemus waglerix snake, stimulated platelets to form blood clots by latching onto GPVI. Previous studies have shown that platelets missing GPVI do not form blood clots in patients and do not lead to severe bleeding, leading researchers to think that blocking GPVI could prevent blood clotting while avoiding the side effects of prolonged bleeding.

The new study may be the first to design a molecule based on the structure of trowaglerix to block GPVI activity. It prevented platelets from clotting when it was mixed with blood, and mice administered this new drug had slower blood clot formation compared to untreated mice. In addition, the treated mice did not bleed longer than untreated mice.

Some of the currently available antiplatelet drugs target another protein, glycoproteins IIb/IIIa. Those drugs were based on another protein found in snake venom – but why that target leads to the bleeding side effect is not fully understood, said lead co-author Tur-Fu Huang, Ph.D., Graduate Institute of Pharmacology at National Taiwan University.

Excessive bleeding after injury is a serious effect of current antiplatelet drugs, so the results support that this molecule design can be a template for a new, safer class of antiplatelet drugs with limited bleeding side effect, according to researchers.

However, the drug needs further testing in animals and then in humans before it can be used in patients.

“In general, this type of molecule design does not last long in the body, so techniques like formulation or delivery system are likely needed to extend the exposure time in the human body,” said co-author Jane Tseng, Ph.D., director and professor at Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics and Drug Research Center at the National Taiwan University. “The design must also be optimized to ensure that the molecule only interacts with GPVI and not other proteins which can cause unintended reactions.”

Efforts to improve this molecule’s design are underway, Tseng added.

Other co-authors are Chien-Hsin Chang, Ph.D.; Ching-Hu Chung, Ph.D.; Yi-Shu Tu, Ph.D.; Cheng-Chieh Tsai, M.S.; Chun-Chieh Hsu, Ph.D. and Hui-Chin Peng, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Science Council of Taiwan supported the study.

Additional Resources:

  • After June 8, view the manuscript online.
  • Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews
  • For the updates and new science from the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology journal follow @atvbahajournals

###

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 NewsThu, 08 Jun 2017 20:00:08 GMTStudy Highlights: In preliminary research, an antiplatelet drug based on a snake venom protein prevented blood clotting without leading to excessive bleeding, a dangerous side effect of currently available antiplatelet drugs. The venom protein may be the template for a new class of antiplatelet drugs that offers fewer bleeding complications. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/snake-venom-might-provide-a-safer-antiplatelet-drugThu, 08 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Four-year follow-up confirms that participation in competitive sports may be okay for many athletes with implanted cardioverter defibrillators

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 15:22
Study Highlights

  • A four-year follow-up study of athletes with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) found they suffered no irregular heartbeats, shock-related injuries or deaths while competing.
  • ICD patients should talk to their doctors about their individual risks of participating in competitive sports.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, Monday, June 5, 2017

DALLAS, June 5, 2017 — A four-year study of athletes with implantable defibrillators confirms an earlier short-term study’s findings that competitive sports may be considered for many of these athletes, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that tracks the heart rate and delivers an electric shock when it detects a type of abnormal heart rhythm called an arrhythmia. In 2015, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement advising that participating in competitive sports may be considered for athletes with ICDs, based on a 2013 study from a multinational registry of ICD patients which followed 372 athletes over a two-year period. The new study followed the same registry of athletes for a four-year period. 

“Even though some people did receive shocks while they were participating in sports, no harm came to patients,” said Rachel Lampert, M.D., lead author of both studies and professor of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine. “After a four-year follow-up, we still did not see any failures of the device to terminate an arrhythmia, or injuries related to the arrhythmia or device, in these patients.”

Researchers followed 440 ICD recipients, ages 10-60, for an average of nearly four years each. They included competitive athletes at the national and international level, high school and college athletes, and others who participated in vigorous sports such as running, basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, skiing and snowboarding.

One hundred twenty-one people received a total of 184 shocks during the study. Of the total study population:

  • 7 percent received appropriate shocks while participating in competition or practice (identical to the 2013 study);
  • 5 percent received shocks during other physical activities;
  • 6 percent received shocks while resting.

According to Lampert, the current study’s longer follow-up period and larger number of participants enabled the researchers to identify one group of athletes for whom vigorous sports may be less safe: athletes who have a particular type of heart disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a rare inherited condition where muscle tissue in the right ventricle dies and is replaced with scar tissue, which disrupts the heart's electrical signals and causes arrhythmias.

“Patients with ARVC were more likely than others to experience life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias requiring shock during sports, and more likely to require multiple shocks to terminate their arrhythmias during physical activity,” Lampert said.  “While all the shocks were ultimately successful in this study, this raises concern that vigorous physical activity could lead to arrhythmias that would not be terminated by the device. Although the ICD did work eventually and got the ARVC patients out of the arrhythmias, we don't like to see people requiring multiple shocks.”

Other athletes who have these devices and want to participate in sports should talk to their doctors, Lampert said, because the risk for many of them is lower than had been previously thought.

Co-authors are Brian Olshansky, M.D.; Hein Heidbuchel, M.D., Ph.D.; Christine Lawless, M.D.; Elizabeth Saarel, M.D.; Michael Ackerman, M.D.; Hugh Calkins, M.D.; N.A. Mark Estes, M.D.; Mark S. Link, M.D.; Barry J Maron, M.D.; Frank Marcus, M.D.; Melvin Scheinman, M.D.; Bruce L. Wilkoff, M.D.; Douglas P. Zipes, M.D.; Charles I. Berul, M.D.; Alan Cheng, M.D.; Luc Jordaens, M.D., Ph.D.; Ian Law, M.D.; Michele Loomis, A.P.R.N.; Rik Willems, M.D., Ph.D.; Cheryl Barth, B.S.; Karin Broos, B.A.; Cynthia Brandt, M.D.; James Dziura, Ph.D.; Fangyong Li, M.S.; Laura Simone, B.A.; Katleen Vandenberghe, Ph.D. and David Cannom, M.D.

Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Boston Scientific Corporation, Medtronic Inc., and St. Jude Medical 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

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 NewsMon, 05 Jun 2017 20:00:10 GMTStudy Highlights: A four-year follow-up study of athletes with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) found they suffered no irregular heartbeats, shock-related injuries or deaths while competing. ICD patients should talk to their doctors about their individual risks of participating in competitive sports. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/four-year-follow-up-confirms-that-participation-in-competitive-sports-may-be-okay-for-many-athletes-with-implanted-cardioverter-defibrillatorsMon, 05 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Smaller dose combos of blood pressure meds may be effective with fewer side effects

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 15:22
Study Highlights

  • Combinations of smaller doses of blood pressure medications may lower blood pressure with fewer side effects, compared to standard single medication doses.
  • However, the research is preliminary and patients should not reduce their medication on their own.
  • Long-term research is needed to confirm these findings.

Embargoed 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET Monday, June 5, 2017

DALLAS, June 5, 2017 – Quarter-dose combinations of blood pressure lowering medications appear to be effective in treating hypertension and result in fewer side effects for patients than a single dose of one drug, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

“Widespread control of blood pressure is generally low, even in high-income countries. The largest global survey of hypertension patients showed 88 percent of those aware of hypertension are treated with medications, but only one in three were able to gain control of their blood pressure,” said Anthony Rodgers, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., study author and professor at The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. “Because high blood pressure is so common and serious, even small improvements in management can have a large impact on public health.”

There are a variety of classes of high blood pressure medications and each includes a list of different possible side effects, such as weakness, dizziness, insomnia, headache, muscle cramps and more.

In this first review to compare quarter-dose therapy to both standard dose and placebo, researchers analyzed and compared results from 42 trials, involving 20,284 people with high blood pressure on various doses of medications or taking no medication. The review included many different types of medications from the five main classes of drugs to treat hypertension, including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blocker and thiazides.

They found:

  • Two medications in combination, each at a quarter dose, was just as effective as one blood pressure lowering medication at standard dose.
  • Four medications in combination, each at a quarter dose, was nearly twice as effective as taking one blood pressure lowering medication at the standard dose.
  • The side effects from single and dual quarter-dose therapies were about the same as from placebo and much less than from a standard dose of a single antihypertensive medication. There was little information on side effects for the quadruple quarter dose therapy.

While low-dose combinations for blood pressure control is promising, there still isn’t enough research to warrant a change in how doctors prescribe blood pressure lowering therapies and there are also few low dose combinations currently available, researchers said.

“This new approach to treatment needs more research before it can be recommended more widely,” Rodgers said. “The findings have not yet been tested in large long-term trials. People should not reduce the doses of their current medications.”

Co-authors are Alexander Bennett, B.Med.Sc., M.Phil.; Clara Chow, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Michael Chou, M.B.B.S.; Hakim-Moulay Dehbi, Ph.D.; Ruth Webster, B.Med.Sc., Ph.D.; M. Abdul Salam, M.Pharm., Ph.D.; Anushka Patel, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Bruce Neal, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D.; David Peiris, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Jay Thakkar, M.D.; John Chalmers, M.D., Ph.D.; Mark Nelson, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Christopher Reid, M.Sc., Ph.D.; Graham Hillis, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D.; Mark Woodward, Ph.D.; Sarah Hilmer, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Tim Usherwood, M.D. and Simon Thom, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

A grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council Program Grant 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

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, 05 Jun 2017 20:00:07 GMTStudy Highlights: Combinations of smaller doses of blood pressure medications may lower blood pressure with fewer side effects, compared to standard single medication doses. However, the research is preliminary and patients should not reduce their medication on their own. Long-term research is needed to confirm these findings. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/smaller-dose-combos-of-blood-pressure-meds-may-be-effective-with-fewer-side-effectsMon, 05 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Healthy arteries may be possible with aging

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 15:39
Study Highlights

  • High blood pressure and increased blood vessel stiffness are often considered common parts of aging.
  • Having healthy arteries into one’s 70s and beyond is challenging and depends on modifiable lifestyle factors, not necessarily genetics.

Embargoed 3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET, Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DALLAS, May 30, 2017 – Having the blood vessels of a healthy 20-year-old into one’s 70s is possible but difficult in Western culture, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

“For the most part, it’s not genetic factors that stiffen the body’s network of blood vessels during aging. Modifiable lifestyle factors – like those identified in the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 –  are the leading culprits,” said study author Teemu J. Niiranen, M.D., research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts.

“Vascular aging is thought of as normal aging. As people get older, their arteries become stiffer and they develop high blood pressure. In fact, that’s what happens to most people beyond age 70. But it doesn’t have to happen,” Niiranen said.

Niiranen and colleagues studied 3,196 adults ages 50 and older from the Framingham Heart Study. They defined healthy vascular aging for people 50 years old or older as having both normal blood pressure and pulse-wave velocity near the level of healthy people age 30 or younger. Pulse-wave velocity is a measurement of stiffness in the blood vessels.

Researchers found that overall, 566 (17.7 percent) of the participants studied had healthy vascular aging. The group most likely to have healthy vascular aging was the youngest. More than 30 percent of those 50 to 59 years old in the sample met the standards for healthy vascular aging. Only 1 percent of those 70 and older had healthy vascular aging, and they were more likely to be women.

The most important factors of achieving healthy vascular function were staying lean, or having a low body mass index, and avoiding diabetes, according to Niiranen.

The other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining favorable cholesterol levels, also came into play, according to Niiranen. In fact, the researchers found that those who achieved six out of seven of the American Heart Association’s Life Simple 7 healthy heart goals were 10 times more likely to achieve healthy vascular aging than those who achieved zero to one of the measures.

The researchers also found that people with healthy vascular aging were at a 55 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to Niiranen.

“Western culture that includes poor diets and sedentary lifestyles is a hurdle for maintaining healthy blood vessels. Age-associated high blood pressure, for example, is not common in indigenous hunter-gatherer populations,” according to Niiranen.

“Unfortunately, there is still no magic pill that helps achieve healthy vascular aging. Achieving Life’s Simple 7 increases the odds of keeping healthy blood vessels even into old age,” he said. “For the population’s health, healthy vascular aging should be considered a universal goal.”

Co-authors are Asya Lyass, Ph.D.; Martin G. Larson, S.D.; Naomi M. Hamburg, M.D., M.S.; Emelia J. Benjamin, M.D., Sc.M.; Gary F. Mitchell, M.D.; and Ramachandran S. Vasan, M.D.

Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study and National Institutes of Health contract and grants 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

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 NewsTue, 30 May 2017 20:00:08 GMTStudy Highlights: High blood pressure and increased blood vessel stiffness are often considered common parts of aging. Having healthy arteries into one’s 70s and beyond is challenging and depends on modifiable lifestyle factors, not necessarily genetics. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/healthy-arteries-may-be-possible-with-agingTue, 30 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT

Hack your salt habit with these six tips

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 09:27
DALLAS, May 30, 2017 – The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, is proud to announce the winners in its first #BreakUpWithSalt hack contest. Because some companies in the food industry add ingredients like sodium to processed and restaurant foods before it even reaches your table, consumers were encouraged to submit their favorite tip, trick, or hack for reducing sodium in processed and restaurant foods. Earlier this month, the #BreakUpWithSalt hack contest was created in support of the American Heart Association’s sodium reduction initiative, helping to motivate, inspire and educate American consumers to live healthier lives.

A diet with too much salt 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.

The creative individuals with the top three ideas will be awarded prizes and will have their winning tip, trick, or hack published on the American Heart Association’s website (heart.org/sodium) as well as promoted on social media.

For the processed food category, first place has been awarded to Keltcie Delamar from Richmond, VA for her hack: When preparing processed foods at home, divide portions in half and add an equal amount of cooked veggies. It lessens the sodium and multiplies the vegetables.

“It works with almost any recipe,” said Delamar. “The family hasn’t even noticed.”

The second-place award in the processed food category goes to Catherine Callahan from Federal Way, WA for her hack: Use fresh herbs to add delicious flavor and aroma to low-sodium and no-salt-added processed foods. Many herbs can be easily and affordably grown at home in a pot or planter box.

Third place has been awarded to Anne-Marie Calderone from Monmouth Junction, NJ for her hack: Gradually switch to lower-sodium options to get used to the taste over time. For example, move to reduced sodium, then low sodium, then no-salt-added processed foods.

For the restaurant food category, first place has been awarded to Michelle Duke from Spokane, WA for her hack: Restaurants and foodservice can make small, stealthy changes that diners won’t notice, such as switching to lower sodium soup bases and canned ingredients.

“We were able to make small ‘hacks’ to our current inventory such as changing our soup bases from a regular sodium concentrate to low sodium or all natural reduced sodium,” said Duke, a foodservice director at a retirement community in Spokane. “We also changed some canned items to low salt or no added salt items without anyone noticing! Within four months we had converted over enough items to reduce sodium on campus by 8,827,414 milligrams!”

The second-place award in the restaurant food category goes to Leticia Orosco from Oklahoma City, OK for her hack: When eating out, ask for extra lemon or lime, no salt added, and seeds for seasoning (such as sesame, pumpkin or pine nuts) when possible. You can even keep a small lemon in your purse (just in case)! The juice brings out the natural flavor in foods and can replace dressing.

Third place has been awarded to Eileen Lepionka from Columbus, OH for her hack: Before dining out, go to the restaurant’s website to check for nutritional info, and choose the best options in advance. Bring your own low-sodium dressing or condiments with you.

All finalists and winning recipes follow the American Heart Association’s nutrition criteria.

###

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

Bridget O’Leary, 214-706-1152, bridget.oleary@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, 30 May 2017 14:24:00 GMTThe American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, is proud to announce the winners in its first #BreakUpWithSalt hack contest.http://newsroom.heart.org/news/hack-your-salt-habit-with-these-six-tipsTue, 30 May 2017 14:14:00 GMT

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

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