A new procedure is being tested in the United States to help people with resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension is a condition where high blood pressure fails to normalize even after taking prescribed medication. Resistant hypertension affects approximately 1 in 11 people who suffer from high blood pressure. It can cause serious health risks such as heart attacks, kidney disease, strokes and heart failure. The procedure consists of a medical machine that sends short bursts of radio waves to kill the sympathetic nerves. Murray Esler, MD, PhD, professor and senior director of the Baker IDI Heart and diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia said “the sympathetic nerves are the stimulant nerves of the kidneys. They are commonly activated in high blood pressure”. More here
Symptoms of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks can be brought upon when blockage occurs in the arteries. Every year approximately 610,000 American endure their first heart attack, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study from the University of Missouri discovered a defense to fight arterial blockage. Bilirubin, a drug usually used to treat newborns that have been diagnosed with jaundice may now bring hope for many people who suffer from cardiovascular disease. More here
A study focused on finding ways to reduce readmission rates among congestive heart failure patients over the age of 65 found that patients who saw a cardiologist had a significantly lower risk of returning to the hospital within 30 days. The study looked at heart failure admissions between 2009 and 2011 and found, among 2,311 patients, 65 percent were treated by a hospitalist and 35 percent were treated by a cardiologist. Among the 23.2 percent of patients that re-entered the hospital within a month of being discharged, 27 percent had been attended to by a hospitalist while just 16 percent were among those treated by a cardiologist. In addition, the analysis noted that readmission rates were lower for patients seen by a cardiologist despite being among the more severe cases. More here.
A new study from Northwestern Medicine finds that maintaining optimal heart health in middle age may add up to 14 years to your lifespan. The study looked at data collected for the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project and tracked risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking status. The results found that individuals with none of those common risk factors lived free of cardiovascular disease longer than their peers with two or more of those risk factors. John T. Wilkins, M.D., author of the study, said many people develop cardiovascular disease as they live into old age but those with optimal risk factor levels increase their chances that they’ll live longer and healthier lives. More here.
Americans are now spending more money on medication used to treat conditions that were formerly considered part of the normal aging process than they are on drugs to fight chronic diseases. The research, presented at the American Public Health Association’s 140th Meeting, found that anti-aging medications cost an average of $73.30 per individual user last year, 16 percent higher than the amount spent on both high blood pressure and heart disease medication. And the cost of anti-aging drugs has increased along with their popularity. Since 2006, the price of aging medications, such as those used to treat sexual dysfunction and mental alertness, has risen 46 percent. More here.
A recent study from the American Heart Association has discovered a possible link between blood type and the risk of developing heart disease. The study, which tracked 89,500 adults for 20 years or more, found people with blood type A, B, or AB had a higher risk for coronary heart disease compared to people with blood type O. Blood type AB, which is only found in 7.0 percent of Americans, had the highest risk at 23 percent. Type B was associated with an 11 percent increased risk and participants with type A blood had an elevated risk of 5.0 percent. Type O blood, which is found in about 43 percent of Americans, had the lowest risk. Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s senior author and an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said it’s good to know your blood type the way you know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers. More here and here.
Partners of heart attack victims are more likely to suffer from depression than husbands and wives of people with other major health issues. New research from Denmark’s Gentofte University Hospital found that, among people whose partner died of a heart attack, three times as many were taking antidepressants in the year after compared to the year before the heart attack. Even among spouses of people who survived a heart attack, prescriptions for antidepressants rose by 17 percent. The researchers suspect that the suddenness of a heart attack may be a factor in the elevated risk of depression. Previous research revealed that heart attack survivors also commonly suffer from depression following the event. More here.
How much stress you feel and how you react under stressful situations affects your heart, whether it has a direct physical effect or leads to behaviors proven to increase risk such as smoking or overeating. Learning to effectively manage stress is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart and avoiding numerous health problems associated with stress, such as high blood pressure, asthma, and ulcers. Experts recommend managing stress with relaxation and natural techniques rather than medication and tranquilizing drugs. Exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, not smoking, cutting back on coffee, and maintaining a healthy weight and diet are among the top recommendations from the American Heart Association on how to manage stress and reduce risk of cardiovascular trouble. More here.
After tracking the health of nearly 24,000 people over 11 years, the authors of a new study published in the journal Heart found that taking calcium supplements may increase the risk of having a heart attack. The research also revealed that higher levels of calcium, even from dietary sources, provided no significant protection from heart attack and stroke. The authors wrote that the findings suggest increasing calcium intake from dietary sources may not be of any cardiovascular benefit and supplements should be taken with caution. Participants who took calcium supplements regularly were 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared with those who didn’t use any supplements. Calcium supplements are often recommended to the elderly for help with bone thinning. More here and here.
A review of 29 clinical trials covering nearly 1,400 adults between the ages of 22 and 74 found that taking vitamin C supplements may have a lowering effect on blood pressure. Participants in the study took 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily for eight weeks and, in people with high blood pressure, systolic pressure fell nearly 5 points and diastolic pressured dropped 1.7 points. Despite the results, the study’s authors stress that more research is needed before they can recommend vitamin C supplements for high blood pressure. Researchers say the reviewed studies were often small and included instances where patients were taking supplements in addition to medication for their blood pressure. In America, one in three people has high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. More here.