Easy Habits for Preventing Heart Attacks

January 15, 2013 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE, HEART AND STROKE

Ambulance

Photo credit: Andrew Malone

You’ve probably heard that taking a baby aspirin daily can help prevent heart attacks. The bulk of Bayer’s commercials are centered on the idea, and what better way to up sales than prescribing aspirin daily? However, there are a number of other ways you can help prevent a heart attack. If your parents have had a heart attack, you’re especially at risk and should take precaution.

Not everyone likes the idea of taking medication to become healthier. Kicking the tobacco habit and working out at least 30 minutes a day are natural ways to lower your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight by eating foods low in fat, bad cholesterol and sodium is also wise. However, just like e-therapy, this is easier said than done. Check out these ways to keep heart-healthy easily.

A Strange Approach

A recent study shows getting annual flu shots may prevent heart attacks. The study involved over 3,000 patients over 60 and it seems that these shots can lower your risk by up to 50 percent. Many people are divided over the benefits of flu shots, but this information might sway some doubters. Flu shots are especially helpful for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly.

Less than half of all Americans get the shot, but that may change. Shots are widely available at pharmacies and at a reasonable cost. Older people are more prone to heart attacks, and a weakened immune system with the flu can’t help. It might be time to consider a new, annual autumnal habit.

Health Habits to Start

Vitamin K2 is crucial for a healthy heart, and fermented foods are rich in this vitamin. Yogurt and kimchi are just two examples. Of course, you can also check to make sure your multi-vitamin has appropriate K2 levels. A study has shown that people with proper K2 levels are 52 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.

Cod liver oil is another essential nutrient for a healthy heart. If you were traumatized by foul-tasting spoonfuls in the past, don’t worry. There are a number of pill forms available, and some even come with a non-fishy taste. This is an important supplement to add to your regular regimen.

The Hardest Easy Tip

Reducing stress and being happy is the best way to prevent a heart attack, as well as other ailments. It might seem that if you could be happy and stress-free, you would. However, many people pile stress on themselves unnecessarily. It’s essential to find an outlet for stress and make time for activities you enjoy.

There’s no guaranteed way to prevent a heart attack. Knowing your family history and taking care of yourself (mentally, physically and emotionally) can, however, provide a great boost to your health. The next time you feel like skipping the gym, lighting up or taking on that extra project you don’t have time for, think again. Is it worth it?

About the author:

Adrienne is a blogger and aspiring writer. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

Heart Attack Prevention for Women

December 13, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=owWCMpSFS4g%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Dr. Bob gives tips for women on the prevention of heart attacks. For more health tips and information visit www.DrBobShow.com.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Heart Disease: Worse For Women Than Men?

December 10, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=vCkDjDjbQxk%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Do men really have it easy? Can heart disease really be worse just because you’re a woman? Dr. Bob gives the answer. For more health tips and information visit www.DrBobShow.com.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Heart Disease: Worse For Women Than Men?

December 10, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=vCkDjDjbQxk%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Do men really have it easy? Can heart disease really be worse just because you’re a woman? Dr. Bob gives the answer. For more health tips and information visit www.DrBobShow.com.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Heart Disease: Worse For Women Than Men?

December 10, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=vCkDjDjbQxk%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Do men really have it easy? Can heart disease really be worse just because you’re a woman? Dr. Bob gives the answer. For more health tips and information visit www.DrBobShow.com.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Factoring In Gender: Women’s Health Research at Yale

October 19, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=rsds9tD1viM%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Scientists and community members speak about a variety of topics including: 1) the dramatic need for scientific information on women’s health and on gender-specific factors determining health and disease; 2) the scientific tradition of excluding women as participants in many clinical trials, and the continuing practice of “pooling” subject data rather than analyzing health outcomes by gender that have each contributed to this “knowledge gap,”; 3) the progress being made in reversing these historical trends, and; 4) new scientific information being uncovered in women’s health and gender-specific medicine.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Dr. Jud Fisher of Healthcare Partners of Nevada Discusses Men’s Health

June 17, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=4ARAwVb_WMQ%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Dr. Jud Fisher, a renown family practitioner, talks with the Las Vegas Morning Blend channel 13 about men’s health during Men’s Health Week.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Health Problems In Men

May 9, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=V0-s1Y2oxsM%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Board certified internal medicine specialist Dr. Tony Ramos talks about health problems in men. For more health tips and information visit www.DrBobShow.com.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine Physician Gives Tips on Heart Health

March 15, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=O1iGT9i-ra8%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Dr. Mimi Guarneri, medical director of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, gave tips on women and heart health. Dr. Guarneri discusses the risk factors for heart disease in women and how to minimize them through a healthy lifestyle and stress management. The clip was originally aired on KSWB in San Diego.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

The heart, the thyroid and medications

February 9, 2011 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

When it feels like your heart is jumping erratically inside your chest, you ask yourself “What’s wrong with me?” If you are a health-conscious person like me, you will ask “Where did I do wrong?” Was it the coffee this morning? Was it the glass of wine I had last night? Was it the jogging run in the cold?

My palpitations started last weekend and worsened on Monday. Monday night was a sleepless night as I felt my heart regularly “missing a beat.” I was wreck on Tuesday, walking around like a bear with a sore head. So I sat down and went through my risk factors for heart problems.

  • Family history of heart disease – no
  • Weight/Body Mass Index – normal
  • Physical exercise – regular jogging runs and walks
  • Diet – not perfect but okay
  • Smoking – no
  • Alcohol – 1 glass a week
  • Coffee intake – 1 cup a day
  • Stress levels – manageable at the moment
  • Sleep – 6 to 7 hours a day is not bad
  • Postmenopausal – no yet
  • Blood pressure – always low
  • Lipids – never had any problems before

So my risk profile makes me a very unlikely candidate for a heart problem. So what is wrong with me? Do I need to see a doctor? Many people tend to put off seeing the doctor because of the feeling of being foolish when told “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.” Many times last Monday I started reaching for the phone and many times I changed my mind.

Then I began to think back. Have I felt like this before? What has changed in the last few months? And it dawned on me…

…racing pulse, irregular heartbeat, sleeplessness, nervousness, mood swings

Gosh! It’s my thyroid hormones again! In 2001, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and had my thyroids taken out. Since then, I had to have hormone replacement therapy and take levothyroxine in the form of tablets every day. It is a challenge to find the right dosage as it is dependent on age, body weight, and pre-existing medical conditions including pregnancy, menopausal stage, etc. I have had major problems a couple of years back when I moved to another country and had to change the brand of my medication – same dosage, same active ingredient, different brand name. It took us (me and my new doctor) almost a year of trial and error to figure out the right dose for me. Then silly of me – we changed to another brand late last year.

So now I believe I know what’s wrong with me. And in an hour, I have an appointment with my doctor.

I have learned a few lessons in this experience:

What happened before can happen again. Be careful when changing medication brands. The concept of “personalized medicine” is really important. In my case, the drugs in theory were the same – bioequivalent – but my body reacts differently to different brands.

No, I have to run to my doctor for a new prescription.

Heart valve replacement: conventional vs. emergent

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under . ANNOUNCEMENTS, HEART AND STROKE

Heart valve disease leads to about 20,000 deaths in the US a year. To save these patient’s lives, the valves are repaired or replaced.

The conventional heart valve replacement has been performed more than 95,000 times since its introduction and has saved thousands of lives. However, this well-established procedure has its disadvantages, especially its invasiveness. Conventional valve replacement requires open heart surgery, and therefore comes with a lot of complications, general anaesthesia, and longer hospital stay and recovery period. This is why not all patients with narrowed heart valve are not qualified to have the replacement procedure due to the risks involved. About one-third of patients with heart valve disease, e.g. those with severe disease and advanced age cannot undergo to this procedure.

The percutaneous heart valve replacement is a more recent and less invasive procedure wherein the replacement valve is implanted through a catheter rather than by open heart surgery. First introduced in 2002, it is less invasive and it is suitable for patients who are very sick or elderly and cannot withstand open-heart surgery. The operation time as well as recovery and rehabilitation period are much shorter. Thus, this emergent heart valve replacement technique has become very popular.

However, a new study funded by the US Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warns that although the new procedure seems to be safe and effective, very little is known about the potential long-term risks and benefits of the procedure and that more research is needed before the new procedure can truly replace the conventional heart valve replacement.

The report gives us the following figures:

  • About 92% of patients who underwent percutaneous valve replacement survived the procedure
  • About 86% survived for at least 30 days.

USA Today reports about a study led by Dr. Ted Feldman of North Shore University Health System in Evanston:

“Only 9.6% of patients in the device group had complications within 30 days; 12 had enough blood loss to warrant transfusion. In contrast, 57% of surgery patients had complications, including two deaths, two strokes and four patients who needed emergency surgery.”

The percutaneous heart valve replacement has been in use in Europe for almost 2 years now and was only recently used in the US, with only one valve, the Medtronic Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and Ensemble Delivery System, currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new procedure seems very promising. However, it is only right to be prudent and cautious when it comes to important medical procedures such heart surgery. That is why health authorities in the US are calling for more research to clarify the safety of the technique.

According to AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy:

“As the U.S. population ages, the number of patients with heart valve disease will increase, so more Americans will need options for safe, effective heart valve replacement. This report identifies what is known about this emerging procedure and where the research is lacking to give patients more options about their treatment.”

The percutaneous heart valve replacement gives hope to many heart patients and we are crossing our fingers that its efficacy and safety will be tested and proven in the long-term.

Childhood abuse damages the heart

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Heart disease may have its origins quite early in life and may not have anything to do with lifestyle factors but rather with adverse childhood experiences. Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered that physical abuse during childhood can result in poor heart health later in life.

Previous studies have shown that childhood abuse leads to poor health outcomes in adulthood. This study found a strong link between child abuse and heart disease that persisted even after controlling for other adverse childhood experiences such as parental addictions or socioeconomic factors such as income and education level, lifestyle factors smoking, obesity and physical activity, and chronic conditions such as diabetes, self-reported stress hypertension and mood disorders.

According to Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson of the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine:

“Individuals who reported they had been physically abused as children had 45 per cent higher odds of heart disease than their peers who had not been abused, despite the fact we had adjusted for most of the known risk factors for heart disease.”

Their results were based on a 2005 representative community survey conducted in two Canadian provinces of 13,000 respondents. The survey showed that 7% of the respondents had been physically abused as children and 4% had been diagnosed with heart disease.

The findings indicate a link between psychological and physical health but the mechanisms behind the link are not fully understood. According to co-author John Frank, director of Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy:

“Like many previous studies linking early life characteristics and experiences with late life serious disease, this study does not explain precisely how such links operate, biologically; further research will be required to understand that process.”

The results indicate a need for more intensive management of cardiovascular risk factors among those with a history of childhood abuse.

Can people with heart disease fly?

August 5, 2010 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

It is holiday or vacation time in many parts of the world and many people are travelling by car, boat, train or plane, with the mode of transport mainly determined by distance. Summer school break is definitely the peak season for flying as people have more time for longer and farther trips. But how safe is air travel for those who have heart problems and other chronic conditions?

The British Cardiovascular Society recently issued a guidance on the safety of travelling on a commercial aircraft that will help both primary health care clinicians and their patients.

But first of all, how does air travel affect our health? The authors explain:

“…the main impact of air travel is the inhalation of air with reduced oxygen content in a pressurized environment, resulting in lower circulating oxygen levels in the blood, known as hypobaric hypoxia. Passengers already at high risk of angina, MI, heart failure, or abnormal heart rhythms might be adversely affected by hypoxia.”

Recent studies have shown however that the blood oxygen levels have little or no adverse effects on the circulatory system, certainly not in short-haul flights.

Based o these new findings, here is what the new guidelines has to say:

Patients after heart surgery

What are the travelling restrictions for those who had just a heart surgery? The guidance states it depends on the type of procedure and the risk profile of the patient.

“For post-STEMI and NSTEMI, those at low risk are advised that they can fly three days after their event and those at medium risk can fly after 10 days.”

Those with high-risk profiles should wait a little longer for stabilization. At any rate, the decision to fly should be discussed with the doctor.

Heart patients with pacemakers and other implants

People are wondering how flying can affect their implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), pacemakers and stents. The guidance states that  in most cases, flying is safe for people wearing these implants.

“After uncomplicated elective PCI, the guidelines state that patients can fly “after two days.” Likewise, patients with pacemakers implanted are advised they can fly after two days, unless they have suffered pneumothorax, in which case they should wait until two weeks after it has fully healed. The same advice applies to those with ICDs, with the added recommendation that they should not fly after the ICD has delivered a shock until the condition is considered stable.applies to those with ICDs, with the added recommendation that they should not fly after the ICD has delivered a shock until the condition is considered stable.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and venous thromboembolism (VTE)

Many studies have shown that the risk for DVT and VTE increase when flying for long periods of time such as during a long-haul flight. However, the same increased risk applies when travelling by car, bus, or train. The absolute risk for DVT among healthy individuals is 1 in 6000 for a long-haul flight (e.g. more than 4 hours).

“Even those at high risk—those who have already had a DVT, recent surgery lasting more than 30 minutes, or known thrombophilia or are pregnant or obese (BMI>30 kg/m2)—can still fly, provided they consume plenty of fluids, exclude caffeine and alcohol, wear compression stockings, and take a low-molecular-weight heparin.[as blood thinner]..”

Warning: Aspirin as a blood thinner during flying is not recommended!

Who needs cardiogenetic testing?

June 2, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

dna4Every year, millions of people die suddenly of unknown causes. In many cases, no autopsy is performed to determine the cause of death. In cases where autopsy was performed, the sudden unexplained death (SUD) is usually due to heart problems. In some cases, no conclusive results can be found.

A study by researchers at the Department of Cardiogenetics, Academic Medical Centre, in Amsterdam reports that hereditary heart disease was detected in a large number of families with a member who died of SUD. The research team looked at 127 families affected by SUD. The SUD victims’ age ranged from 1 to 20 years, with and average of 29.8 years. The researchers conducted autopsies and genetic analysis on the SUD victims as well as their first-degree relatives. The researchers found ´that 32% of the family studied had inherited heart disorders.

According to team leader Dr. Christian van der Werf

“The scale of heart disease that we found in such families underlines the necessity for general practitioners to refer first degree relatives of SUD victims to a specialised cardiogenetics department as soon as possible. Currently we estimate that only 10% of SUD families are being examined for inherited heart conditions.”

With advances in the field of genetics, more and more genetic markers have been discovered that enables people to determine their predisposotion to certain diseases, from breast cancer to Huntington’s disease. In the case of SUD victims, however, family members are usually left guessing.

With their results, the researchers are hoping to stimulate:

  • Performance of autopsy in SUD cases
  • Genetic testing of preserved tissue samples the deceased
  • Referral of family members to cardiogeneticists

Some people actually would prefer not knowing their predisposition to certain diseases. In the case of heart disease, however, a lot can be gained in knowing because heart disease can actually be successful managed with lifestyle modifications and prophylactic medications. In other words, when it comes to cardiac problems, forwarned is forarmed.

Dr. van der Werf continues

“Relatives of young sudden death victims are often referred to cardiologists for cardiological examination. We believe relatives should instead be referred to cardiogenetics departments, where clinical geneticists, cardiologists and psychosocial workers cooperate. These professionals specialise in inherited heart diseases and their clinical and psychosocial implications, and can provide a better quality of care. Additionally, cardiologists should receive more education in inherited heart diseases. By taking these measures we can save lives and avoid further distress for families who have already suffered enough.”

How about you? Would you consider undergoing cardiogenetic testing?

Photo credit: stock. xchng

Cola: drinking to your bad health

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

colaIt is the staple drink of people of all ages nowadays – soda or cola drinks in different containers, forms and flavors. An alarming trend is the increasing consumption of sweetened drinks among adolescents and children. But how does cola, normal, light, diet or zero affect our health?

Here some latest findings:

Metabolic Syndrome

It doesn’t matter whether it’s glucose or fructose. The sweeteners in the drinks you consume lead to metabolic syndrome that increases risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to a study at University of California Davis.

Obesity

Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, including soda, in children result in about 110 to 165 excess calories per day, leading to an energy imbalance, e.g. more calories taken in than calories expended for growth, bodily function, and physical movement. The result is weight gain and eventually obesity. This is according to a study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Hypokalemia

Excessive cola consumption can result in hypokalemia or severely low blood potassium, according to Greek researchers. It is characterized by mild weakness to severe paralysis of the muscles. Hypokalemia is caused by excessive consumption of glucose, fructose and caffeine – all found in cola drinks.

Here is a case study:
A 21 year-old woman was consuming up to three litres of cola a day… complained of fatigue, appetite loss and persistent vomiting. An electrocardiagram also revealed she had a heart blockage, while blood tests showed she had low potassium levels.

Bone demineralization

German researchers have observed that cola consumption, but not other carbonate drinks leads to softer bones in women. This was true for normal as well as diet cola, but also for decaffeinated cola.

It is undeniable that sweetened drinks, regardless of the type of sweetener used, pose health risks especially when consumed in large quantities.

It is estimated that the worldwide consumption of soft drinks in 2007 was 552 billion liters, which translate to about 83 liters per person per year. This is expected to increase to 95 liters per person per year by 2012. In the US alone consumption has already reached 212 litres per person per year (on average).

Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece

“And the soft drink industry needs to promote safe and moderate use of its products for all age groups, reduce serving sizes and pay heed to the rising call for healthier drinks.”

Photo crecit: stock.xchng

Watch your salt intake!

March 30, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Do you know how saltmuch salt you should take each day? The amount of daily recommended level of sodium is not more than 1,500 mg (equivalent to about 5 to 6 g of table salt). And it seems that most Americans consume more than double of that, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) press release.

But why should we pay attention to our daily salt intake?

A diet rich in sodium is not favourable for our cardiovascular health. It increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These diseases are the first and third leading causes of mortality in the United States, respectively.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco report that even a small reduction in dietary salt can have far-reaching consequences. They estimate that ” cutting just 1 g of salt a day would prevent a quarter of a million new heart-disease cases and 200 000 deaths from any cause over a decade.”

We may not be aware of it, but most of the salt we consume does not come from our very own kitchen. 80% of salt in Western country’s diet comes from processed and prepared food. It is therefore difficult for people to keep track of their salt consumption.

According to the CDC.

Nationwide, 16 million men and women have heart disease and 5.8 million are estimated to have had a stroke.  People who reduce their sodium consumption benefit from improved blood pressure and reduce their risk for developing other serious health problems. Choosing foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, when eating out, asking that foods be prepared without added salt, and reading the nutrition label of foods before purchasing can improve health for all adults.

However, not all food labels reflect the real salt content and some labels are too complicated for consumers to understand.

The USCSF researchers recommend that public-health types of intervention such as

  • regulatory efforts to restrict salt
  • force labeling of foods based on their salt content
  • encouragement of food manufacturers to reduce salt.

The experience in other countries suggests that with these very small changes we are describing, we will not change the taste of foods or the profit margins of the food industry, but it would be a great benefit for public health.”

Some major players in the food industry have answered the public health issue of salt consumption. The food company Campbell’s has set a good example and came up with a special line of heart-friendly products that contains 50% less sodium. Let us hope that more food companies will follow suit.

Photo credit: stock. xchng

Wear Red This Coming Friday

February 2, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Mark it in your calendar. And check your closet for something red to wear. This coming Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 is National Wear Red Day. This is the day when Americans will show their support for women’s heart disease awareness by wearing red. Let’s paint the town red literary. Wear anything that is a red. It could as big as a coat or dress or as small as a pin. Red is for women’s heart health awarenes as pink is for breast cancer awareness.

Just another marketing ploy or or a silly gag? Well, check out who will be wearing red on Friday. It would employees and supporters of

and many other advocacy groups.

How did this thing start anyway?

The Heart Truth-a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease-created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women.

This year, the critical message to share on Wear Red Day is “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear-It’s the #1 Killer of Women.”

How else can you get involved aside from wearing red? Well, you can download this free National Wear Red Day toolkit for ideas on how to celebrate this day.

Now, if you happen to be in the ares of Washington D.C., maybe you should also check out the Sister to Sister National Women’s Heart Health Fair ,

a free, informative and engaging event that features lifestyle presentations, cutting-edge information on medical issues of importance to women and their families, and complimentary heart-health screenings.

Now, remember last year’s Go Red for Women TV special Untold Stories of the Heart? It was such a success that they’ve issued another casting call, this time for the 2009 episode. The casting is from January 15 to February 27.This is your chance to tell your story. Join Marie Osmond and other women and share your story.

So see you (in red) on Friday!

Heart disease among Indian Asians: it’s in their genes

January 22, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Several previous posts have tackled about the increased incidence of CVD in people of Indian Asian origin.

Heart disease is globally, the number one cause of mortality. However, the incidence of CVD in India has been observed to be even higher than the rest of the world. It is predicted that 60% of heart disease cases in 2010 will be diagnosed in India alone.

Indian geneticists have now found the most likely reason for this and it is called genetic mutation.  According to the study published in Nature Genetics, “1% of the world’s population carries a mutation almost guaranteed to lead to heart problems and most of these come from the Indian subcontinent, where the mutation reaches a frequency of 4%.”

The genetic mutation is a deletion of 25 letters representing amino acids in the genetic code of the heart protein gene MYBPC3. It supposedly started in the Indian subcontinent 30,000 years ago. This genetic aberration seems to be unique to people from and is found in 1 out of five member of the population. In such a culturally varied and very large population such as India’s, the mutation does not recognize caste, ethnic or religious differences. It is estimated that 60 million people in India have the mutation.

According to study leader, Kumarasamy Thangaraj from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India

The mutation leads to the formation of an abnormal protein…Young people can degrade the abnormal protein and remain healthy, but as they get older it builds up and eventually results in the symptoms we see.”

Usually, genetic mutations which lead to death eventually “die out.” However, the MYBPC3 mutation managed to persist over thousands of years because of the late onset of symptoms, usually beyond the middle age. By the time heart disease develops overt symptoms and causes mortality, the affected individuals have already reproduced and have passed on the mutation to the next generation.

It is only very recently, with the advancement of the field of genomics that identification of genetic aberrations such as reported here is made possible.

So now that the culprit has been identified, what is the next step?

Well, that the cause is know, screening for the genetic aberration can be identified early in life so that management strategies such as a lifestyle designed to mitigate the risks, symptoms and complications can be also implemented early.

The lifetime risk of developing heart failure is roughly one in five for a person aged 40 years. Now that this mutation has been identified, there is a new glimmer of hope for some of them. The mutation’s effects vary a lot from person to person. Carriers could be identified at a young age by genetic screening and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

 

 Phot credit: stock.xchng

Battling Heart and Stroke Is Now Listed in Alltop

January 17, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Featured in Alltop

ALLTOP is an “online magazine rack” of popular topics … that update stories every hour. Pick a topic by searching, news category, or name, and they will deliver it to you 24 x 7. All the topics, all the time.

Hey! Check us out! Battling Heart and Stroke is now included in the Alltop pages – Heart Disease Category!

There is now a banner in our sidebar, plus a widget of random Heart Disease Related posts from the other heart disease sites that are also listed on heart-disease.alltop.com/ .. so feel free to check out the latest from all these great heart disease related sites! And, there are a gazillion topics covered .. there’s bound to be something that you are interested in – click the banner below for their front page directory!

Featured in Alltop

AHA report update 2009

December 23, 2008 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

As the year comes to a close, reports from health authorities and advocacy groups are slowly coming. The American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2009 Update has just been released – with data from 2005 to 2006. The report gives some good and not-so-good news. On the one hand, US mortalities due to heart disease and stroke are down On the other hand, the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are still on the rise.

Some figures to think about:

  • Mortalities due to CHD have gone down by 30.7%.
  • Deaths by stroke have gone down by 29.2%.
  • One out of 2.9 deaths in the US was due to cardiovascular disease.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) was responsible for one out of five deaths in the year 2005
  • Stroke accounted for about one out of ever 18 deaths.
  • Heart failure was a factor in one out of 8 deaths in 2005.

“It’s really gratifying to see that coronary heart disease and stroke deaths are continuing to decline, and they have been declining since 1968,” first author on the report, Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University, told heartwire. “Since 1999, our most recent benchmark, we have seen essentially a 30% reduction in those death rates, which from AHA’s perspective is particularly nice to see because we’ve already exceeded the goal set for 2010. So that’s fantastic, and it comes from a number of different things. But there’s also an important asterisk beside those figures, and that is, if you really drill down in the data, there are some concerning trends to suggest that among younger adults-and we see this best in women ages 35 to 54-there actually appears to be a slight uptick in CVD and stroke death rates, which may well be attributable to the obesity epidemic and subsequent increases in diabetes finally working their way through. So there is cause for celebration, but real cause for concern that we’re going to give back some of the substantial gains that we’ve made, because obesity and the aftereffects are going to start to come to the fore, and we’re going to be paying the price.”

The risks factors that triggered these concerns are as follows:

  • Mean serums levels of total cholesterol were declining in older people (men 40 and above, women 60 and above) but not in younger adults.
  • More that 66% of adults surveyed lacked exercise and did not meet the minimum 10 minute daily recommended vigorous exercise.
  • Incidence of childhood obesity was up by 4% (children aged 6 to 11 years old) in 2003 to 2006.

Although the figures showed some improvement, it seems that AHA and other heart health groups have so much more to do before we can beat the monsters heart disease and stroke.

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