The Heart

Here you will find a selection of RSS feeds and blog entries

Statins may double the risk of type 2 diabetes

New research finds an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes among people who take statins in an effort to lower their cholesterol levels and keep heart disease at bay.
woman looking at bottle of pills
Among statins' unwanted effects may be an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

Many people take statins to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease and heart attacks. In the United States, about 83% of people between 40 and 59 years of age who take cholesterol-lowering medication are taking statins.

Although statins are effective at staving off cardiovascular disease, some previous trials have suggested that they may raise the risk of diabetes.

A new study, led by Victoria Zigmont, a graduate researcher in public health at The Ohio State University in Columbus, further explores this link. The findings, which appear in the journal Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews, suggest that statins may indeed raise the risk for this chronic condition.

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Statins and a heightened diabetes risk

Zigmont and team examined the health records of 4,683 men and women who were diabetes-free at the start of the study but were at risk of heart disease. Of the total number of participants, 16% — or 755 people — were taking prescription statins at the start of the study, in 2011. The study ended in 2014.

Zigmont and team accounted for confounders such as gender, age, ethnicity, education, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and how many times the participants visited their doctors.

The analysis revealed that people who took statins were more than twice as likely to receive a diabetes diagnosis than those who did not take the medication. Additionally, people who took statins for longer than 2 years were more than three times as likely to develop diabetes.

"The fact that increased duration of statin use was associated with an increased risk of diabetes — something we call a dose-dependent relationship — makes us think that this is likely a causal relationship," explains Zigmont.

Additionally, the analysis revealed that those who took statins had a 6.5% higher risk of elevated blood sugar, as checks determined by HbA1c values.

"That said, statins are very effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes. I would never recommend that people stop taking the statin they've been prescribed based on this study, but it should open up further discussions about diabetes prevention and patient and provider awareness of the issue."

Victoria Zigmont

Study strengths and limitations

The researchers note some of the strengths of their study, such as having a large study sample of almost 5,000 people and using "real world" data from doctors. Also, having access to biometric measurements meant the researchers could consider and adjust for values before statin use.

Using pharmacy data allowed the researchers to "accurately measure statin class and intensity," but a weakness of the study is that researchers could not account for the participants' compliance with their prescriptions.

Also, the study is limited to "insured individuals who are routinely monitored by a healthcare provider," and so the researchers are unable to generalize about their results beyond this group. Furthermore, all participants were white.

Finally, the researchers could not account for other medications that the participants might have taken, nor did they consider other health habits, such as smoking status or alcohol use. Similarly, the researchers were unaware whether the participants had prediabetes at the start of the study or not.

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How calcium in coronary arteries can predict future heart health

According to one new study, having high levels of calcium in the coronary arteries could be responsible for detrimental changes to the structure of the heart.
Heart anatomy model
A new study investigates calcium and heart disease.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Being able to identify people at risk is therefore a crucial public health issue.

One way to determine a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, or heart attack is by looking at their coronary artery calcium (CAC) levels.

Calcium plays a number of roles in the body, including keeping bones healthy. However, calcium present in coronary arteries can lead to the accumulation of plaque.

Over time, this calcified substance can cause atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis restricts blood flow and oxygen supply to vital organs, potentially resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol levels can indicate that a person is at risk; but scientists can also test CAC levels directly.

Using a CT scan to take numerous sectional pictures of the heart, doctors can see specks of CAC. A person's scores tend to range from zero to over 400. The higher the score, the higher the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol guidelines from 2018 recommend a CAC scan for people ages 40–75 whose risk status is "uncertain," note the American Heart Association (AHA).

A new study, the results of which now appear in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, has examined the CAC scores of younger people and drawn some interesting conclusions.

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Heart abnormalities

The scientists used data from almost 2,500 people to track CAC and heart structure differences between young adulthood and middle age. Women made up 57% of the group, and 52% of participants were white.

They took data from participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which began in the 1980s with the aim of identifying young adult risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"We looked at early adulthood to middle age because this is a window in which we can see abnormalities that might not be causing symptoms, but could later increase the risk of heart problems," explains study co-author Dr. Henrique Turin Moreira.

The researchers compared test results from years 15 and 25 of the CARDIA study period. At the 25-year mark, the average age of the group was around 50.

When it came to their CAC results, 77% of participants had a score of zero in year 15 of the study. However, in year 25, this had dropped to 72%.

A number of factors were linked to a rise in CAC scores, including being older, being male, being black, smoking, having higher cholesterol levels, and having higher systolic blood pressure.

Middle-aged people who had higher CAC scores also showed a 9% increase in left ventricular volume and a 12% increase in left ventricular mass.

When the left ventricle changes in this way, the heart has to put more effort into pumping blood. This, in turn, leads to a thickening of the heart, which increases the risk of heart failure.

The study authors also note that these abnormalities were more significant among black people. For these people, every one-unit change in their CAC score correlated with quadruple the increase in their left ventricular mass.

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Future implications

It is unclear why people exhibited such differences depending on their race. Dr. Moreira explains that it could be "due to genetic factors or perhaps greater exposure to cardiovascular risk factors that usually appear earlier" in black people.

What that do already know, however, is that black people are already more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Although just 43% of white women and 50% of white men have cardiovascular disease, it affects 57% of black women and 60% of black men.

Further research, explains Dr. Moreira, will be needed to "examine the link between coronary artery calcium and heart health" — especially in relation to race. However, documenting the relationship between CAC and heart failure risk factors in a younger age group is significant.

"Given the burden of morbidity and mortality associated with heart failure, these are important findings," says Dr. Salim Virani, a co-author of the AHA's 2018 cholesterol guidelines.

"Prior studies from this cohort have also shown that a better risk factors profile in young adulthood is associated with much lower CAC and therefore, these results further highlight the importance of primordial prevention and risk factor modification in early adulthood."

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What to know about cardiac muscle tissue

Cardiac muscle tissue, or myocardium, is a specialized type of muscle tissue that forms the heart. This muscle tissue, which contracts and releases involuntarily, is responsible for keeping the heart pumping blood around the body.

The human body contains three different kinds of muscle tissue: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac. Only cardiac muscle tissue, comprising cells called myocytes, is present in the heart.

In this article, we discuss the structure and function of cardiac muscle tissue. We also cover medical conditions that can affect cardiac muscle tissue and tips for keeping it healthy.

What is cardiac muscle tissue? Senior man running in the park
A person can strengthen cardiac muscle tissue by doing regular exercise.

Muscle is fibrous tissue that contracts to produce movement. There are three types of muscle tissue in the body: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac. Cardiac muscle is highly organized and contains many types of cell, including fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, and cardiomyocytes.

Cardiac muscle only exists in the heart. It contains cardiac muscle cells, which perform highly coordinated actions that keep the heart pumping and blood circulating throughout the body.

Unlike skeletal muscle tissue, such as that which is present in the arms and legs, the movements that cardiac muscle tissue produces are involuntary. This means that they are automatic, and that a person cannot control them.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today How does cardiac muscle tissue function? The heart also contains specialized types of cardiac tissue containing "pacemaker" cells. These contract and expand in response to electrical impulses from the nervous system. Pacemaker cells generate electrical impulses, or action potentials, that tell cardiac muscle cells to contract and relax. The pacemaker cells control heart rate and determine how fast the heart pumps blood. How is it structured? Cardiac muscle tissue gets its strength and flexibility from its interconnected cardiac muscle cells, or fibers. Most cardiac muscle cells contain one nucleus, but some have two. The nucleus houses all of the cell's genetic material. Cardiac muscle cells also contain mitochondria, which many people call "the powerhouses of the cells." These are organelles that convert oxygen and glucose into energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Cardiac muscle cells appear striated or striped under a microscope. These stripes occur due to alternating filaments that comprise myosin and actin proteins. The dark stripes indicate thick filaments that comprise myosin proteins. The thin, lighter filaments contain actin. When a cardiac muscle cell contracts, the myosin filament pulls the actin filaments toward each other, which causes the cell to shrink. The cell uses ATP to power this contraction. A single myosin filament connects to two actin filaments on either side. This forms a single unit of muscle tissue, called a sarcomere. Intercalated discs connect cardiac muscle cells. Gap junctions inside the intercalated discs relay electrical impulses from one cardiac muscle cell to another. Desmosomes are other structures present within intercalated discs. These help hold cardiac muscle fibers together. What conditions affect it woman with shortness of breath holding chest in pain looking out of window
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath may be a symptom of cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of medical conditions that affect cardiac muscle tissue and impair the heart's ability to pump blood or relax normally. Some common symptoms of cardiomyopathy include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath fatigue swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet inflammation in the abdomen or neck irregular heartbeat heart murmurs dizziness or lightheadedness Factors that can increase a person's risk of cardiomyopathy include: A heart attack due to a blocked artery can cut off the blood supply to certain areas of the heart. Eventually, the cardiac muscle tissue in these areas will start to die. The death of cardiac muscle tissue can also occur when the heart's oxygen demand exceeds the oxygen supply. This causes the release of cardiac proteins such as troponin into the bloodstream. Read more about how raised troponin levels can indicate heart damage here. Some examples of cardiomyopathy include: Dilated cardiomyopathy Dilated cardiomyopathy causes the cardiac muscle tissue of the left ventricle to stretch and the heart's chambers to dilate. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic condition in which the cardiomyocytes are not arranged in a coordinated fashion and are instead disorganized. HCM can interrupt blood flow out of the ventricles, cause arrhythmias (abnormal electrical rhythms), or lead to congestive heart failure. Restrictive cardiomyopathy Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) refers to when the walls of the ventricles become stiff. When this happens, the ventricles cannot relax enough to fill with an adequate amount of blood. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia This rare form of cardiomyopathy causes fatty infiltration in cardiac muscle tissue in the right ventricle. Transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy Transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) develops when amyloid proteins collect and form deposits in the walls of the left ventricle. The amyloid deposits cause the ventricle's walls to stiffen, which prevents the ventricle from filling with blood and reduces its ability to pump blood out of the heart. This is a form of RCM. Tips for healthy cardiac muscle tissue Children playing basketball
Children should do 60 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity each day. Doing regular aerobic exercise can help strengthen the cardiac muscle tissue and keep the heart and lungs healthy. Aerobic activities involve moving the large skeletal muscles, which causes a person to breathe faster and their heartbeat to quicken. Doing these types of activities often can train the heart to become more efficient. Some examples of aerobic exercises include: running or jogging walking or hiking cycling swimming jumping rope dancing jumping jacks climbing stairs The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) make the following recommendations in their Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Children aged 6–17 years old should do 60 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity each day. Adults aged 18 years and older should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of high-intensity, aerobic exercise each week. Pregnant women should try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. The DHHS also suggest that a person should try to spread aerobic activity throughout the week. Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities can replace aerobic exercise with at least two muscle-strengthening sessions per week. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Summary Cardiac muscle tissue is a specialized, organized type of tissue that only exists in the heart. It is responsible for keeping the heart pumping and blood circulating around the body. Cardiac muscle tissue, or myocardium, contains cells that expand and contract in response to electrical impulses from the nervous system. These cardiac cells work together to produce the rhythmic, wave-like contractions that is the heartbeat. Regular aerobic exercise can help strengthen cardiac muscle tissue and lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.
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Atrial fibrillation may raise dementia risk by 50%

A large study concludes that atrial fibrillation does, indeed, raise the risk of dementia even in people who did not have a stroke and that anticoagulants may reduce this risk.
stethoscope on blue background
An irregular heartbeat may be a sign of A-fib, which may, in turn, raise dementia risk.

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a condition in which the heart beats irregularly. More specifically, the atria of the heart — the chambers that receive blood and pump it out to the heart's ventricles and the rest of the body — beat at an irregular rhythm.

A-fib is the most common form of arrhythmia, affecting between 2.7 and 6.1 million adults in the United States.

Previous research has shown that people with A-fib have a higher risk of dementia, and also that people can take blood thinners to reduce this risk.

New research confirms that the above is true, even in people who never experienced a stroke. The new study is the largest of its kind ever conducted.

Boyoung Joung, who is a professor of cardiology and internal medicine at Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Republic of Korea, is the leading author of the paper, which appears in the European Heart Journal.

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A-fib raises dementia, Alzheimer's risk

In the new research, Prof. Joung and team examined 262,611 adults aged 60 and older who did not have A-fib or dementia at baseline, in 2004.

The scientists accessed the data from the Korea National Health Insurance Service Senior cohort and followed the study participants until 2013.

During the study period, 10,435 participants developed A-fib. Of these, 24.4% also developed dementia. However, only 14.4% of the participants without A-fib developed dementia.

"We found that the people who developed atrial fibrillation had a 50% increased risk of developing dementia compared [with] those who did not develop the condition," reports Prof. Joung.

"[T]his increased risk remained even after we removed those who suffered a stroke from our calculations. This means that among the general population, an extra 1.4 people per 100 of the population would develop dementia if they were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. The risk occurred in people aged younger and older than 70 years."

Prof. Boyoung Joung

"We also found that atrial fibrillation increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 30% and more than doubled the risk of vascular dementia," continues Prof. Joung.

How blood thinners can help

"However, among people who developed atrial fibrillation and who took oral anticoagulants, such as warfarin, or non-vitamin K anticoagulants, such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, or edoxaban, the risk of subsequently developing dementia reduced by 40% compared [with] patients who did not take anticoagulants."

On the point of anticoagulants, or blood thinners, Prof. Joung thinks that "non-vitamin K anticoagulants, which have a significantly lower risk of cerebral hemorrhage than warfarin, may be more effective than warfarin in terms of dementia prevention and this will be answered by an ongoing clinical trial."

The researcher also thinks that more investigations are necessary to determine "whether aggressive rhythm control, such as catheter ablation, helps to prevent dementia."

"Our study suggests that the strong link between atrial fibrillation and dementia could be weakened if patients took oral anticoagulants. Therefore, doctors should think carefully and be readier to prescribe anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation patients to try to prevent dementia."

Prof. Gregory Lip, study co-author

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Strengths and limitations of the study

The researchers explain that this is the largest study of its kind due to the high number of participants and the long follow-up period.

"With these large figures, we can be sure of our findings," comments study co-author Gregory Lip, who is a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

"We also believe that our results can be applied to other populations too, as they confirm similar findings of a link between atrial fibrillation and dementia in studies of people in Western and European countries," adds Prof. Lip.

The authors caution that the research only shows a link between A-fib and dementia but does not suggest causality.

However, they speculate that a possible mechanism behind the association could be that people with A-fib often have altered blood vessels in the brain, which may have been the result of symptomless ministrokes.

Such brain damage may, over time, lead to dementia, suggest the researchers. Prof. Joung and team go on to point out further limitations to the study.

For instance, they note that they could not identify whether the study participants had paroxysmal or persistent A-fib. Also, A-fib can take place without any noticeable symptoms, so the study may have omitted some cases.

Also, the scientists did not know whether the patients were receiving treatment for A-fib and suggest that successful treatment may have affected dementia risk differently. They also lacked information on the participants' blood pressure. Finally, the researchers say, there may have been "unidentified confounding factors" that they did not account for.

Prof. Joung concludes, "Dementia is an untreatable disease, and so prevention is important."

"This study confirms that atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for the development of dementia. Therefore, the prevention of atrial fibrillation may be a means to reduce the incidence of dementia."

Prof. Boyoung Joung

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What is end-diastolic volume?

End-diastolic volume is the amount of blood that is in the ventricles before the heart contracts. Doctors use end-diastolic volume to estimate the heart's preload volume and to calculate stroke volume and ejection fraction. These different measurements indicate the health of a person's heart.

In this article, we explain what end-diastolic volume is and how doctors use it. We also discuss some conditions that can affect end-diastolic volume.

What is it? End diastolic volume is the measure of blood in the left or right ventricle before the heart contracts.
End-diastolic volume is the measure of blood in the left or right ventricle before the heart contracts.

End-diastolic volume refers to the quantity of blood in the left or right ventricle at the end of diastole, just before systole starts.

The heart consists of four chambers: two atria and two ventricles. The chambers contain valves that open and close in sequence so that blood flows in one direction through the atria and ventricles.

The veins carry oxygen-poor blood into the right atrium, which connects to the right ventricle. From here, the heart pumps blood into the lungs for oxygenation.

The newly oxygenated blood enters the left atrium and flows into the left ventricle, which contracts, forcing blood up through the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and it supplies the entire body with oxygen-rich blood.

Diastole occurs when the heart muscle relaxes, and the chambers fill with blood. Blood pressure decreases during diastole.

Systole occurs when the ventricles contract, pushing blood out of the right ventricle into the lungs and out of the left ventricle to the rest of the body. Blood pressure increases during systole.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today How do doctors use it? Doctors use end-diastolic volume to evaluate the condition of a person's heart and their general health. A doctor can measure end-diastolic volume using the following tests: Echocardiogram. In this noninvasive procedure, doctors use ultrasound technology to create detailed images of a person's heart. Left heart catheterization. This procedure involves threading a thin, flexible tube called a catheter through a large blood vessel and into the heart. Doctors can use the catheter to take blood samples and measure the pressure and oxygen content in the four chambers of the heart. Doctors use end-diastolic volume to calculate several different measurements of heart function, which we discuss below. Sometimes, they specifically use left ventricular end-diastolic volume, which is the amount of blood that is present in the left ventricle before contraction. Preload Doctors use left ventricular end-diastolic volume to estimate cardiac preload, which is how much the cardiac fibers of the ventricle stretch before contraction. Doctors are unable to test preload directly, so they use end-diastolic volume as a close estimate. Stroke volume Doctors use both end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume to calculate stroke volume. End-systolic volume is the amount of blood remaining in the ventricle at the end of systole, after the heart has contracted. Stroke volume is the quantity of blood that the heart pumps out of the left ventricle with each beat. The formula for stroke volume is: Stroke volume = end-diastolic volume - end-systolic volume. According to a large 2017 study, normal stroke volume ranges are: 48.2–114.3 milliliters (ml) for people aged 18 to 29 years 39.1–98.5 ml for people aged 30 to 59 years 39.7–115.3 ml for people aged 60 years or older Ejection fraction Ejection fraction refers to the proportion of blood that leaves the left ventricle during systole relative to the end-diastolic volume. Essentially, it is the percentage of blood that the heart pumps out of the left ventricle during each beat. Doctors use ejection fraction to determine how well the heart is pumping blood and to help diagnose heart failure. The calculation for ejection fraction is: Ejection fraction = (stroke volume / end-diastolic volume) x 100. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy ejection fraction ranges between 50% and 70%. What conditions affect it? Certain health conditions can affect end-diastolic volume. These include: Cardiomyopathy A doctor may recommend an echocardiogram to measure end-diastolic volume.
A doctor may recommend an echocardiogram to measure end-diastolic volume. Cardiomyopathy is an umbrella term for medical conditions that affect the heart muscle. These conditions can cause the heart muscle to thicken, enlarge, or lose its elasticity. Cardiomyopathy affects the heart's ability to pump blood around the body, which can lead to an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and other serious complications. There are several different types of cardiomyopathy. In people with dilated cardiomyopathy, the ventricles become enlarged, which increases the end-diastolic volume. Enlargement of the heart muscle can cause the ventricle walls to thicken, causing a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This thickening can affect blood flow out of the left ventricle, which can lead to an increase in end-diastolic volume. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Mitral valve regurgitation Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when blood leaks backward through the mitral valve, which connects the left atrium and ventricle. The left atrium may enlarge to accommodate the extra blood leaking through the mitral valve. An enlarged left atrium can lead to complications, such as atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and stroke. Summary End-diastolic volume is a useful indicator of a person's heart health. Doctors use end-diastolic volume to estimate preload and calculate the heart's stroke volume and ejection fraction. Certain conditions may affect end-diastolic volume, including cardiomyopathy and mitral regurgitation.
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Coronary heart disease may speed up cognitive decline

It is natural for a person's memory and thinking abilities, or cognitive function, to wane as they age — even if they are in good health. However, the rate of cognitive decline can speed up if they experience heart attack or angina, according to new research.
senior woman reading on a tablet
Cognitive decline may speed up after a heart attack or angina.

Studies that have explored the links between circulation problems and cognitive decline have tended to focus on conditions that affect the blood supply to the brain, such as stroke.

Few of these earlier studies, however, have looked at the long-term links between incident coronary heart disease (CHD), such as heart attack and angina, and cognitive decline.

The recent Journal of the American College of Cardiology study is unique; it tracked cognitive decline both before and after incident CHD.

"Incident CHD," its authors conclude, "is associated with accelerated cognitive decline after, but not before, the event."

They suggest that the findings highlight the long-term relationship between cognitive decline and CHD.

Lead and corresponding study author Wuxiang Xie, Ph.D., says that because there is not yet a cure for dementia, it is important to detect and treat the brain condition as early as possible in order to delay its progression.

"Even small differences in cognitive function can result in an increased risk of dementia in the long-term," explains Xie, who holds research posts at Peking University Clinical Research Institute in China and in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

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Narrow arteries reduce blood supply

CHD, or coronary artery disease, can develop when the arteries that feed the heart become narrow and obstruct blood flow.

The arteries become narrow because fatty deposits, or plaques, build up inside their walls. Medical professionals call this process atherosclerosis.

The reduction in blood flow causes heart muscle to receive less oxygen, increasing the likelihood of a heart attack. The reduction in blood supply can also cause chest pain, or angina.

CHD is the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2016, it was responsible for more than 9 million deaths.

Xie and his colleagues believe that their study is one of the largest to investigate cognitive decline in the years before and after receiving a diagnosis of CHD.

Their analysis took in data from 7,888 participants, aged 50 and older, from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA).

CHD and cognitive decline

The ELSA collected data twice per year between 2002 and 2017. None of the participants had a history of heart attack, angina, or stroke or a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease at the start of the study period.

The researchers excluded people who did not complete all the cognitive assessments or who had a stroke during the median follow-up of 12 years.

Over the follow-up period, the participants underwent three tests of cognitive function, which the researchers conducted in eight waves. The tests assessed verbal memory, semantic fluency, and sense of time, or "temporal orientation."

During the study period, 5.6% of the participants experienced angina or heart attacks. Everyone in this group demonstrated a more rapid decline in cognitive function in the three tests compared with those who did not experience a CHD event.

Those who developed angina showed a faster decline in the tests of temporal orientation, while verbal memory and semantic fluency declined more rapidly in those who experienced heart attacks.

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The study authors note that they "found that incident CHD was significantly associated with faster rates of post-CHD-diagnosis cognitive decline, but not with cognitive changes in the years before or short-term changes following the event."

Speculating on the findings, they suggest that the reduction in oxygen to the brain is the likely reason for the link between CHD and faster cognitive decline.

Previous research linked CHD to interruptions of blood supply to the brain, or cerebral microinfarcts. Such links suggest that CHD might promote small vessel disease, which is a major contributor to dementia in older adults.

"Heart attack and angina patients need careful monitoring in the years following a diagnosis."

Wuxiang Xie, Ph.D.

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Low fruit and vegetable intake may account for millions of deaths

Findings from a new study suggest that inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables may be a major factor in heart disease death.
very few vegetables on a plate
Not eating enough fruits or vegetables may have dire consequences for cardiovascular health.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.

A diet that includes fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and improve digestive health.

Previous research — part of the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study — confirmed that a diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables can even lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

After analyzing these results and combining them with findings from other studies, researchers estimated that the risk of heart disease is 20% lower among individuals who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, compared with those who eat fewer than three servings per day.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommend that adults eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2–3 cups per day of vegetables. According to another study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only around 1 in 10 adults meet these guidelines.

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The global impact of inadequate nutrition

Now, a new study — the results of which the researchers presented at Nutrition 2019, the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in Baltimore, MD — suggests that a low fruit intake can cause 1 in 7 deaths from heart disease, and that a low vegetable intake can cause 1 in 12 deaths from heart disease.

Analyzing data from 2010, researchers found that low fruit consumption resulted in almost 2 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, while low vegetable intake resulted in 1 million deaths. The global impact was more significant in countries with a low average consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The data suggest that low fruit consumption results in more than 1 million deaths from stroke and more than 500,000 deaths from heart disease worldwide every year, while low vegetable intake results in about 200,000 deaths from stroke and more than 800,000 deaths from heart disease per year.

"Our findings indicate the need for population-based efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the world," says study co-author Victoria Miller, a postdoctoral researcher at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Medford, MA.

Tracking death toll by region, age, and sex

The researchers tracked the death toll by region, age, and sex using diet surveys and food availability data of 113 countries. They combined these with data on causes of death in each country and data on the cardiovascular risk linked to low fruit and vegetable intake.

The findings showed that fruit intake was lower in South Asia, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, while vegetable consumption was lower in Central Asia and Oceania. Countries in these regions have low average fruit and vegetable intakes and high rates of deaths from heart disease and stroke.

When the researchers analyzed the impact of inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption by age and sex, they found that the biggest impact was among young adults and males. Miller adds that females tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.

"These findings indicate a need to expand the focus to increasing availability and consumption of protective foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes — a positive message with tremendous potential for improving global health."

Senior study author Dariush Mozaffarian, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

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Heart disease death: 'White coat hypertension' may double risk

New research suggests that untreated 'white coat hypertension' may be a major risk factor for heart disease and heart disease-related death.
doctor taking a patient's blood pressure
Blood pressure may spike when a doctor performs the reading.

White coat hypertension describes a disorder in which a person develops high blood pressure only in the presence of doctors.

Some doctors and researchers believe that white coat hypertension is a sign of underlying anxiety. Others, however, think that it may precede and contribute to the development of actual hypertension.

In the United States, more than 100 million people are living with high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is a contributor to heart attack and stroke.

Experts define high blood pressure as a top reading of at least 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a bottom reading of 80 mm Hg or higher.

New research finds that white coat hypertension is in itself a significant risk factor for heart disease and cardiovascular death, just like hypertension.

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Specifically, untreated white coat hypertension may increase the risk of dying from heart disease by more than 100%, according to a new paper that the Annals of Internal Medicine recently published.

Dr. Jordana B. Cohen, who is an assistant professor in the division of Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, is the lead author of the research.

"Studies suggest that about one in five adults may have white coat hypertension. Our findings underscore the importance of identifying people with this condition."

Dr. Jordana B. Cohen

Dr. Cohen and colleagues carried out a meta-analysis of 27 observational studies, which included more than 60,000 participants in total. Each of the studies examined the health risks that correlated with white coat hypertension and had a follow-up period of at least 3 years.

Two investigators independently extracted the data from these studies and assessed their quality.

The researchers found that participants who had untreated white coat hypertension were 36% more likely to have heart disease, 33% more likely to die prematurely from any cause, and 109% more likely to die of heart disease.

Treated white coat effect, however, did not correlate with higher cardiovascular risk. Dr. Cohen and colleagues conclude:

"Untreated [white coat hypertension], but not treated [white coat effect], is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. Out-of-office [blood pressure] monitoring is critical in the diagnosis and management of hypertension."

"We believe individuals with isolated in-office hypertension — those who are not taking blood pressure medication — should be closely monitored for transition to sustained hypertension, or elevated blood pressure both at home and the doctor's office," emphasizes Dr. Cohen.

She goes on to add that this "pressing need" for constant monitoring is a "nationwide" concern, as are the lifestyle changes that people should make for better cardiovascular health.

"Simultaneously, we advise individuals with untreated white coat hypertension to engage in lifestyle modifications, including smoking cessation, reduction in their alcohol intake, and making improvements to their diet and exercise regimen."

"We also caution providers not to overtreat individuals with white coat hypertension who are already on blood pressure medication, as this could lead to dangerously low blood pressures outside of the office and unnecessary side effects from medication," concludes Dr. Cohen.

Finally, the authors also point to some limitations of their analysis, noting the insufficient number of studies that evaluated isolated cardiac outcomes. Also, the studies did not contain enough information about the participants' race and ethnicity.

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3 interventions could prevent millions of cardiovascular deaths

Millions of people die prematurely each year due to noncommunicable diseases, some of the most common of which are cardiovascular diseases. New research from Harvard suggests that three tried and tested interventions could prevent many of those deaths if implemented through global policies.
older patient speaking to doctor
Three global interventions could prevent millions of deaths over the next couple of decades.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.9 million deaths worldwide each year are due to cardiovascular disease, accounting for an estimated 31% of yearly global deaths.

The WHO note that heart attacks and strokes account for about 85% of these deaths.

In a new study, researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, have pinpointed three well-known, verified interventions that have the potential to prevent a significant number of such premature deaths at a global level.

More specifically, the Harvard T. H. Chan investigators estimate that the three public health interventions combined could help extend the lives of 94 million people over 25 years, from 2015 through to 2040.

However, the team notes that for this very achievable goal to become a reality, policymakers across the world have to commit to implementing the recommended measures.

"Focusing our resources on the combination of these three interventions can have a huge potential impact on cardiovascular health through 2040," argues the study's lead author Goodarz Danaei, who is an associate professor of global health at Harvard T. H. Chan.

Danaei and colleagues explain their findings in an open-access study paper that appears in the journal Circulation.

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In their analysis, the researchers used data on mean blood pressure levels, as well as sodium (salt), and trans fat consumption in populations from different countries. They accessed this information via population health surveys and country-wide estimates, looking at available data and projections covering a period of 25 years, from 2015 through 2040.

The team found that three "well-known interventions," namely: lowering blood pressure, reducing sodium intake, and eliminating trans fat from one's diet could have an important beneficial effect in terms of preventing millions of premature, cardiovascular event-related deaths worldwide.

The researchers believe that boosting the reach of treatments for high blood pressure to 70% of the world's population could save an estimated 39.4 million people. They also estimate that reducing salt consumption by 30% could prevent an estimated 40 million deaths, as well as decrease blood pressure rates in populations around the world.

This, the researchers explain, is important because high blood pressure is a top risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Finally, they note that cutting the intake of trans fat, which is present in many fast food products and can endanger heart and vascular health, could extend the lives of 14.8 million people, according to the new study.

Danaei and team note that over half of all the premature deaths these interventions would prevent, as well as two-thirds of deaths delayed before the age 70, would most likely be among men. Should there be a global commitment to implementing these interventions, the regions that would see the most benefits would be East Asia, the Pacific, South Asia, and some countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Overall, this study indicates that these [three] interventions have enormous potential to save lives. However, scaling up these interventions to global populations is a huge challenge," the researchers write in their study paper.

Countries all over the world would have to dedicate extra resources to providing antihypertensive (blood pressure-lowering) medication, promote education about the risks associated with too much sodium intake, and update and push out new and better health policies.

These goals are entirely achievable, the investigators emphasize. Other programs have already demonstrated this. One such program, tested by Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, was able to increase blood pressure control to 90% among its patients between 2001–2013.

"These are realistic goals that have been shown to be attainable on smaller scales. We need the commitment to scale up the programs to achieve them globally."

Goodarz Danaei

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What is the normal range for troponin levels?

Troponin refers to a group of proteins that help regulate the contractions of the heart and skeletal muscles. High troponin levels can indicate a problem with the heart.

The heart releases troponin into the blood following an injury, such as a heart attack. Very high troponin levels usually mean that a person has recently had a heart attack. The medical term for this attack is myocardial infarction.

In this article, we discuss what troponin is, why doctors test troponin levels, and what the normal range is. We also cover the causes and treatment of high troponin levels and what to expect during the test.

What is troponin? Blood test for troponin levels
A doctor may test troponin levels if a person is experiencing possible symptoms of a heart attack.

Troponin refers to three different proteins. Troponin C binds calcium and transports troponin I so that muscles can contract. Troponin T binds troponin proteins to muscle fibers.

The heart is essentially a muscle, and damage to the heart causes it to release troponin into the bloodstream. Troponin levels in the blood are normally very low, but injuries to the heart can cause the levels to increase significantly.

Troponin tests typically measure levels of troponin I or troponin T in the blood as a way to check for heart damage.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Why do doctors test troponin levels? A troponin test can help detect an injury to the heart. A doctor may order the test if a person is experiencing possible symptoms of a heart attack, such as: chest pain shortness of breath a rapid heart rate lightheadedness fatigue A doctor will not use elevated troponin levels alone to diagnose a heart condition. They will also take into account the person's other symptoms and may use other diagnostic tools, such as a physical examination or an electrocardiogram (ECG). Troponin testing, however, allows a doctor to assess the extent of any heart damage, which can guide treatment decisions and help determine if current treatments are effective. What is the normal troponin range? Troponin levels are usually so low that standard blood tests are unable to detect them. Even small increases in troponin can indicate some damage to the heart. Significantly raised levels of troponin, particularly if they rise and fall over a series of hours, are a strong indication of a heart injury. The range for normal troponin levels can vary between laboratories, so it is best to discuss the results with the doctor who ordered the test. Laboratories measure troponin in nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/ml). The University of Washington's Department of Laboratory Medicine provides the following ranges for troponin I levels: Normal range: below 0.04 ng/ml Probable heart attack: above 0.40 ng/ml Having a result between 0.04 and 0.39 ng/ml often indicates a problem with the heart. However, a very small number of healthy people have higher than average levels of troponin. So, if the result is in this range, a doctor may check for other symptoms and order further tests before making a diagnosis. According to Lab Tests Online, many labs in the United States are now using a high-sensitivity version of the troponin test, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in 2017. This newer test can detect elevated troponin levels earlier than previous versions. Doctors usually order a series of troponin tests to monitor how a person's levels are changing over time. Causes of high troponin levels troponin T test
Elevated troponin levels may result from sepsis, kidney failure, heart failure, or a traumatic injury to the heart. Very high levels of troponin typically indicate that a person has had a heart attack, which can occur if the blood supply to some of the heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. Lower but elevated troponin levels may point to another diagnosis. Some causes of elevated troponin levels can include: sepsis, which is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to an infection entering the bloodstream kidney failure or chronic kidney disease heart failure chemotherapy-related damage to the heart pulmonary embolism heart infection myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart heart damage from using recreational drugs, such as cocaine a traumatic injury to the heart, such as from a sudden, hard blow to the chest Treatment for high troponin levels High troponin levels are a symptom, not a diagnosis, so treatment will focus on finding and addressing the underlying cause. Very high levels of troponin usually indicate that a person has recently had a heart attack. Treatment for a heart attack depends on whether the blockage preventing blood flow to the heart is partial or complete. Some common treatments of a heart attack include: clot-dissolving medications coronary angioplasty, which is a procedure that involves threading a small balloon into the coronary artery to open up the blockage the insertion of a stent — a wire mesh tube — to prop open a blocked blood vessel during an angioplasty bypass surgery, which involves a surgeon creating new pathways for blood to travel to the heart muscle ablation, which is a treatment that destroys certain heart cells using radio waves To prevent the risk of further heart attacks, a doctor will usually recommend lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, getting more exercise, and eating a more healthful diet. Treatments of other causes of high troponin levels may be different from treatments of a heart attack. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What happens during the test? A troponin test is a simple blood test, and a healthcare professional will usually take the blood sample from the arm. Blood tests are generally very safe and quick. To take the blood sample, the healthcare professional usually begins by wrapping a band around the person's upper arm. Tightening this band causes the blood vessels to swell, making it easier to draw the blood. The healthcare professional will then insert a needle into a blood vessel and withdraw some blood. The needle may cause a short, sharp sensation, but many people feel little or no pain. It is important for a person to inform the healthcare professional if they feel dizzy or nauseous after giving the sample. Sitting for 5–10 minutes and drinking a glass of water or sugary juice can help relieve dizziness and nausea. A doctor may request additional blood samples over the course of a few hours. Summary Doctors use troponin tests to assess whether there is damage to a person's heart. Very high levels of troponin can indicate a recent heart attack. Doctors usually order troponin testing if they suspect that a person has had a recent heart attack. Higher than normal levels of troponin can also indicate other injuries and conditions that affect the heart. However, doctors do not use elevated troponin levels alone to diagnose a heart condition. They will also take into account the person's other symptoms and may order further tests, such as an ECG. Treatment for high troponin levels depends on the underlying cause. For people having a heart attack, treatment may involve emergency procedures to open the blocked artery.
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Tomato juice: Could 1 cup per day keep heart disease at bay?

Researchers have recently investigated the potential benefits of tomato juice on cardiovascular risk. Although the team reported reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the results are not entirely convincing.
Bottles of tomato juice
Can tomato juice protect against cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for the most deaths in the United States.

People can modify certain risk factors, such as smoking, but it is impossible to modify others, such as age.

So, as the population ages, finding ways of reducing cardiovascular risk is of growing importance.

Nutrition is vital for good health, and heart health is no exception. Now, one new study has asked whether regular consumption of unsalted tomato juice might be a cost-effective intervention.

The study authors explain how the tomato "contains a variety of bioactive compounds, such as carotenoid, vitamin A, calcium, and gamma‐aminobutyric acid, which may play a role in maintaining physical and psychological health, including the prevention of [cardiovascular disease]."

Atherosclerosis in brief

The main driver of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, which occurs when plaque builds up within blood vessels. As time goes on, plaque becomes harder, narrowing the arteries.

Atherosclerosis begins when the endothelium, or the inside surface of blood vessels, sustains damage.

This damage can occur for a number of reasons, some of which are high blood pressure, diabetes, and levels of cholesterol in the blood. If a person can control these three factors, they could significantly reduce their risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular conditions.

The authors of the recent study published a similar study in 2015. In their previous work, they concluded that drinking unsalted tomato juice over 8 weeks reduced the levels of triglycerides in the blood of middle-aged women. Triglycerides are a type of fat; high levels of these fats contribute to atherosclerosis.

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Another look at tomato juice

Their previous results prompted the scientists to widen their net and assess whether tomato juice might also benefit other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and lipid and glucose metabolism, over a longer period.

This time, they also wanted to measure the benefits of tomato juice in people of different ages and sexes. The scientists published their findings in the journal Food Science & Nutrition.

According to its authors, "the current study is the first to investigate the effects of tomato or tomato product intake on cardiovascular disease risk markers over the course of a year and over a wide age range."

At this point, it is important to note that the authors received a research grant from the Kikkoman Corporation to conduct both this study and the previous one.

The Kikkoman Corporation manufacture a range of soy sauces but also hold the exclusive marketing rights to the Del Monte brand in Asia, where the company "manufactures and markets tomato-based goods."

1 cup each day

In total, the scientists recruited 184 men and 297 women as participants. For 1 year, all participants had access to as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted; the average was around 215 milliliters per day per person, which is slightly less than 1 cup.

At the beginning and end of the study, the scientists measured a range of factors, including blood pressure, levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, and fasting plasma glucose.

They analyzed data from the 94 participants who had hypertension or prehypertension (elevated blood pressure not high enough for the person to receive a diagnosis of hypertension).

Their blood pressure was significantly lower after 1 year of consuming tomato juice. Average systolic blood pressure dropped from 141.2 to 137.0 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Also, average diastolic blood pressure dropped from 83.3 to 80.9 mm Hg.

According to the American Heart Association's (AHA) guidelines, this change in blood pressure would move the average participant from hypertension stage 2 down to hypertension stage 1.

These effects were similar for both men and women and people of all ages.

No change for glucose or triglycerides

The researchers also assessed glucose metabolism in 62 participants with untreated impaired glucose tolerance; however, there were no significant improvements for these people.

In a subgroup of 127 participants with abnormal lipid levels in their blood, there were no changes to triglycerides or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol.

However, they did see a significant drop in the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol. LDL is a risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Importantly, using a questionnaire, the researchers ensured that the participants' lifestyles had not changed significantly over the year, which might account for these beneficial changes.

Sizable limitations

The study has a number of significant limitations; aside from the source of its funding, the study only recruited a relatively small number of participants. In the blood pressure analysis group specifically, there were only 94 individuals.

It is also worth noting that the participants were all residents of Kuriyama, Japan. Therefore, it is possible that the results might not apply to other populations or ethnicities.

Also, the researchers did not have access to the participants' other dietary habits; in some cases, it might be possible that when a participant introduced a glass of tomato juice, it replaced a less healthful snack.

Therefore, it could be the removal of the snack that generated the health benefits, rather than the juice itself.

Also, when the scientists checked for lifestyle changes between the beginning and end of the study, only around half of the participants had completed the questionnaire. It is quite possible that during those 12 months, some people made significant changes to their levels of exercise or food intake.

That being said, these are not the first studies to examine whether tomato products could reduce cardiovascular risk. For instance, as one meta-analysis of 21 studies concluded:

"The available evidence on the effects of tomato products [on cardiovascular] risk factors supports the view that increasing the intake of these has positive effects on blood lipids, blood pressure, and endothelial function."

The cardiovascular benefits of tomato juice are gathering evidence. However, the new study is not powerful enough to prompt a change in drinking habits; we may need to wait a little longer before we can draw reliable conclusions.

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Cardiovascular disease: 7 simple steps that lower future risk

Maintaining good cardiovascular health — as the American Heart Association define it — over an extended period helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in the future.
woman's hands forming a heart symbol against pink background
New research gives important clues on how to protect heart health.

This is the main takeaway of a study which now appears in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Using the best evidence available, the American Heart Association (AHA) developed the so-called Life's Simple 7 — a collection of factors that can help predict and protect a person's heart health.

"Life's Simple 7" consists of four "modifiable behaviors" — that is, things you can do to lower your chances of developing heart diseases. These are: quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthfully, and being physically active.

The AHA also includes three measures: blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Keeping these in check, suggest the AHA, and following the four behaviors above reduces the risk of dying from stroke or cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The AHA suggest assessing each metric and behavior and grading them as "poor," "intermediate," and "ideal." So, the AHA would deem a behavior such as smoking regularly as "poor," having smoked in the past year as "intermediate," and quitting smoking or not smoking at all as "ideal."

"Only about 2% of people in the United States and other countries meet all the ideal requirements for these seven factors," explains Dr. Xiang Gao, who is an associate professor of nutritional sciences and director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Gao is the last and corresponding author of the new study, which aimed to see if sticking to these seven steps over time will lower a person's future risk of CVD.

The fact that so few people meet AHA's criteria, Dr. Gao continues, "raises the question of whether improving these metrics is related to lower future risk of CVD. It should, but no one had the data to support this idea."

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To find out, Dr. Gao and team examined data from 74,701 Chinese adults who took part in the Kailuan Study. The study participants answered questionnaires about their overall health and took part in various clinical tests three times between 2006 and 2010.

The researchers gathered this information and analyzed how it related to the incidence of CVD in the following years.

In 2006–2010, the researchers identified five heart health patterns that the study participants followed. "[A]bout 19% of participants were able to maintain a better cardiovascular health score over the 4 years," reports Dr. Gao.

"We found that those people had a 79% lower chance of developing heart disease in the future than people who maintained a low cardiovascular health score."

The researchers say that they obtained the same results when they looked at stroke and heart attack risk.

"We also examined whether improving cardiovascular health score over time affected future risk of CVD," Dr. Gao continues.

"We found that improvement of overall cardiovascular health over time related to lower future CVD in this population, even for those with poor cardiovascular health status at the beginning of the study."

Dr. Xiang Gao

Finally, the researchers also ran several tests repeatedly, each time removing one of the seven health factors. They did so to see if one health factor was more important than the others, but found no significant difference in risk prediction when they removed a single measure.

"This suggests that overall cardiovascular health is still the most important thing and that one factor isn't more important than the others," Dr. Gao says. "It also helps confirm that these seven metrics are valid and a very useful tool for developing a strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention."

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Is coffee bad for the heart or not?

Studies on coffee consumption variously claim that coffee harms the arteries, that it protects the heart, or that it has no effect on cardiovascular health. New research on thousands of participants weighs in again on the link between this favorite beverage and heart health.
coffee cup in a heart made from coffee beans
New findings suggest that even heavy coffee drinkers may have nothing to worry about when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Does coffee harm, protect, or have no effect on heart health and the vascular system?

For years, scientists have been trying to answer these questions, since coffee is such a favorite beverage around the world.

While some studies warn that drinking coffee can increase a person's risk of cardiovascular events, others suggest that it can help maintain heart health and blood vessel function.

Some research has suggested that regularly drinking a lot of coffee contributes to aortic stiffness — this is when the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in the human body, becomes less and less flexible. Aortic stiffness can contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

At the same time, other evidence has indicated that drinking more than three cups of coffee a day can protect against atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the arteries, preventing blood from flowing normally.

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom has found that even people who drink a significant amount of coffee each day do not experience arterial stiffness, meaning that coffee does not increase their risk of cardiovascular problems in this way.

Lead author Prof. Steffen Petersen and colleagues presented the study's findings yesterday at the annual British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester, U.K.

The British Heart Foundation, a registered charity based in the U.K. that supports research about heart and circulatory conditions, funded the study.

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Same results across all groups

In the new study, the research team analyzed the data of 8,412 participants recruited via the U.K. Biobank Imaging Study. At the BCS Conference, the team explained that the participants agreed to undergo cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging and other specialist assessments to allow the investigators to determine the state of their cardiovascular function.

The participants also self-reported how much coffee they typically drank on a day-to-day basis. Following these reports, the investigators then categorized the participants into three groups, according to their coffee consumption habits:

people who drank one or fewer cups of coffee a day those who drank between one and three cups of coffee per day those who drank more than three cups of coffee per day

In their final analysis, Prof. Petersen and team excluded individuals who drank more than 25 cups of coffee per day, as well as those who had cardiovascular disease at baseline.

When comparing measurements of arterial stiffness between the three groups, the researchers found no differences between moderate and heavy coffee drinkers (those who drank between one and three or more than three cups of coffee per day, respectively) and those who had one cup off coffee or less per day.

These results, the investigators say, suggest that even drinking significant amounts of coffee is unlikely to have an ill effect on arterial health, so it may not negatively influence heart health and vascular function.

"Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off from enjoying it. Whilst we can't prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn't as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest," explains study coauthor Kenneth Fung.

These findings remained in place after the investigators adjusted for possible factors contributing to arterial stiffness, including age, biological sex, ethnicity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, height, weight, eating habits, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and diabetes.

What should and what shouldn't we believe?

The researchers also noted that moderate and heavy coffee drinkers were more likely to be male, habitual smokers, and frequent drinkers of alcohol.

"Although our study included individuals who drink up to 25 cups a day, the average intake amongst the highest coffee consumption group was five cups a day. We would like to study these people more closely in our future work so that we can help to advise safe limits," Fung also specifies.

Prof. Metin Avkiran, who is Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, and who was not involved in the current research, explains that such studies about the relationship between coffee consumption habits and heart health can help individuals make better-informed decisions.

"Understanding the impact that coffee has on our heart and circulatory system is something that researchers and the media have had brewing for some time. There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn't."

Prof. Metin Avkiran

"This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries," Prof. Avkiran says.

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Can blueberries protect heart health?

According to a new study, consuming 1 cup of blueberries each day might improve the metabolic markers associated with cardiovascular risk.
Hands holding blueberries
Blueberries are tasty, but are they good for our hearts?

Blueberries are delicious and nutritious; if they could also lower the risk of heart disease, that would be a bonus.

For that reason, the United States Highbush Blueberry Council helped fund a study to investigate blueberries' potential benefit to heart health.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom teamed up with scientists from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

In particular, they wanted to understand whether regularly consuming blueberries could alter the metabolic profile of people with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, high blood sugar levels, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Together, these factors increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Currently, metabolic syndrome affects more than one-third of adults in the U.S., with some experts referring to it as a global epidemic.

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Blueberries and anthocyanins

"Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," says lead researcher Prof. Aedin Cassidy.

"This," she says, "may be because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins."

Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments that can appear red, black, blue, or purple. These flavonoids are present in the tissues — including the stems, leaves, flowers, roots, and fruits — of many higher plants.

Previous studies have revealed a relationship between increased anthocyanin consumption and reduced mortality risk; others have linked these chemicals to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, to date, much of the research has taken place over a relatively short period; in fact, some studies looked at the consumption of just a single portion of blueberries.

There have also been no randomized controlled trials investigating blueberries' potential to protect against disease in a population with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Prof. Cassidy says, "We wanted to find out whether eating blueberries could help people who have already been identified as being at risk of developing these sort of conditions."

Testing blueberry powder

To investigate, the team recruited 115 participants, ages 50–75, all of whom were either overweight or obese and had metabolic syndrome. The study ran for 6 months, making it the longest of its kind.

Importantly, the scientists used "dietarily achievable levels" of blueberries rather than expecting the participants to consume an unsustainable and unrealistic amount of blueberries each day.

They split the participants into three groups:

One group consumed 1 cup (150 grams) of freeze-dried powdered blueberries per day. Another group consumed half a cup (75 grams) of freeze-dried powdered blueberries per day. The final group acted as a control group; they received a powder that looked similar to blueberry powder but which primarily contained dextrose, maltodextrin, and fructose.

At the start and end of the trial, the researchers assessed biomarkers for insulin resistance, lipid status, and vascular function. They recently published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"We found that eating 1 cup of blueberries per day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness — making enough of a difference to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15%."

Co-lead study author Dr. Peter Curtis

Interestingly, the scientists only saw the benefits in the group consuming 1 cup of blueberries per day — not in those consuming half a cup.

Dr. Curtis believes that this is because "higher daily intakes may be needed for heart health benefits in obese, at-risk populations, compared with the general population."

It is also worth noting that the blueberry intervention did not alter the other parameters the scientists measured. The authors write:

"No favorable effects of the intervention were shown for the primary endpoint [insulin sensitivity] or indices of glucose control. [...] The intervention had no effect on [blood pressure] or other biomarkers of vascular function."

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Explaining the benefits of blueberries

The scientists believe that the cardiovascular benefits they saw are primarily due to the presence of anthocyanins in blueberries.

In the lower intestine, the body metabolizes anthocyanins to produce a range of chemicals; some of these chemicals provide sustenance to the resident gut bacteria and are "likely play a key beneficial metabolic role," say the study authors.

They offer some examples. For instance, some researchers have shown that syringic acid, which is a chemical that the metabolism of anthocyanin produces, benefits vascular endothelial cells in the laboratory.

Similarly, scientists have found that vanillic acid, another breakdown product, reduces hypertension in rats.

Dr. Curtis concludes, "The simple and attainable message is to consume 1 cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health."

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At this point, it is worth mentioning that other foods contain anthocyanin, including blackcurrants, black and red raspberries, blackberries, red cabbage, plums, red radish, black carrot, and purple potato.

Although this project was the first long-term, placebo-controlled study to look at blueberries and cardiovascular and metabolic health, it is important to remember that only 115 participants completed this trial.

By the end, only 37 participants remained in the group consuming 1 cup of blueberries per day.

Blueberries are likely to be a healthful addition to any diet, as are most other fruits and vegetables. However, scientists will need to carry out larger studies to confirm the clinical benefits of blueberries.

Because the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council are dedicated to "driving consumer demand," more research is likely to follow.

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Why sleep is essential for health

Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to their health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.

Modern-day living in the United States and many other countries does not always embrace the necessity for adequate sleep. Yet, it is important that people make an effort to get enough sleep regularly.

The following are some of the many benefits health professional associate with getting a good night's rest.

1. Better productivity and concentration Why is sleep important
Research has linked getting enough sleep to better concentration, productivity, and cognition.

There were several studies that scientists did in the early 2000s that looked at the effects of sleep deprivation.

What the researchers concluded is that sleep has links to several brain functions, including:

concentration productivity cognition

A more recent 2015 study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry showed that children's sleep patterns can have a direct impact on their behavior and academic performance.

2. Lower weight gain risk The link between weight gain and obesity and short sleep patterns is not completely clear. There have been several studies throughout the years that have linked obesity and poor sleep patterns. However, a more recent study in the journal Sleep Medicine concludes that there is no link between being overweight and sleep deprivation. This research argues that many previous studies fail to account adequately for other factors, such as: drinking alcohol living with type 2 diabetes level of physical activity education levels long working hours long sedentary time A lack of sleep may affect a person's desire or ability to maintain a healthful lifestyle, but it may or may not be a direct contributor to weight gain. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today 3. Better calorie regulation Similarly to gaining weight, there is evidence to suggest that getting a good night's sleep can help a person consume fewer calories during the day. For example, one study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America says that sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. When a person does not sleep long enough, it can interfere with their body's ability to regulate food intake correctly. 4. Greater athletic performance Why is sleep important athletic performance
Getting a sufficient amount of sleep can boost a person's athletic performance. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep for adults is between 7 and 9 hours a night, and athletes may benefit from as many as 10 hours. Accordingly, sleep is as important to athletes as consuming enough calories and nutrients. One of the reasons for this requirement is that the body heals during sleep. Other benefits include: better performance intensity more energy better coordination faster speed better mental functioning 5. Lower risk of heart disease One risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting adequate rest each night allows the body's blood pressure to regulate itself. Doing so can reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health. 6. More social and emotional intelligence Sleep has links to people's emotional and social intelligence. Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues with recognizing other people's emotions and expressions. For example, one study in the Journal of Sleep Research looked at people's responses to emotional stimuli. The researchers concluded, similarly to many earlier studies, that a person's emotional empathy is less when they do not get adequate sleep. 7. Preventing depression The association between sleep and mental health has been the subject of research for a long time. One conclusion is that there is a link between lack of sleep and depression. A study appearing in JAMA Psychiatry examines patterns of death by suicide over 10 years. It concludes that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to many of these deaths. Another study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry suggests that people with sleep disorders such as insomnia are likely to show signs of depression. 8. Lower inflammation There is a link between getting adequate sleep and reducing inflammation in the body. For example, a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests a link between sleep deprivation and inflammatory bowel diseases that affect people's gastrointestinal tract. The study showed that sleep deprivation can contribute to these diseases — and that these diseases, in turn, can contribute to sleep deprivation. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today 9. Stronger immune system Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection. However, scientists still need to do further research into the exact mechanisms of sleep in regards to its impact on the body's immune system. Sleep recommendations Why is sleep important outdoor walking
Spending more time outside can improve sleep quality. Sleep needs vary from person to person, depending on their age. As a person ages, they typically require less sleep to function properly. According to the CDC, the breakdown is as follows: Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours School age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours As well as the number of hours, the quality of sleep is also important. Signs of poor sleep quality include: Waking in the middle of the night. Still not feeling rested after an adequate number of hours sleep. Some things a person can do to improve sleep quality are: Avoiding sleeping in when you have had enough sleep. Going to bed around the same time each night. Spending more time outside and being more active during the day. Reducing stress through exercise, therapy, or other means. Summary Sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of every person's overall health and well-being. Sleep is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration.
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How many calories do you burn by walking?

The number of calories the body burns while a person is walking varies depending on a range of factors, including body size and walking speed. Walking also offers a variety of other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease.

The body uses energy from food and drinks to sustain bodily functions and perform physical activities. Calories are a measure of how much energy the body receives from particular foods or drinks.

When a person consumes more calories than they burn, the body stores this excess energy as body fat. When the body needs more energy than it can get from the calories it consumes, it burns the stored body fat for energy. Regular physical activity is a good way of maintaining a healthy amount of body fat.

While other forms of physical activity can be time-consuming or expensive, walking is convenient and free for people who can do so. This article discusses how to calculate the number of calories the body burns while walking, and some of the other benefits that walking has to offer.

Calories burned while walking Calories burned walking
Walking burns calories at different rates depending on a person's body size and walking speed.

The number of calories that the body burns during any activity will depend on a person's basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the intensity of the activity, measured in metabolic equivalents (METs).

The formula for this is:

Calories burned = BMR x METs ÷ 24 x duration of activity in hours

It is possible to use this formula to calculate how many calories the body burns by walking.

To do this, it is first necessary to understand about BMR and METs.

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Basal metabolism refers to a series of life-supporting processes that the body constantly carries out, such as breathing. The body burns calories to support these processes. The rate at which the body does this is the BMR.

The BMR varies between people. It is difficult to calculate precisely as it depends on several factors, including genetic factors that are difficult to measure. But it is possible to estimate BMR using sex, body size, and age.

The formulae to estimate BMR for males and females are:


BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds (lbs)) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)


BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)


METs are a measure of how much energy the body is using for a given activity.

When a person walks, the speed at which they are walking speed will determine the number of METs.

For example, walking at a slow pace of 1.7 miles per hour (mph) equates to 2.3 METs per hour. Walking briskly at a speed of 3 mph equals 3.3 METs per hour.

Making the calculation

Pulling all this information together, it is now possible to calculate how many calories the body burns while walking.

For example, a 40-year-old male who weighs 195 lbs and is 69" (5'9") in height will have a BMR of 1,885.2. If they walk at a brisk pace for 1 hour, they will burn 259.2 calories. This is because:

BMR (1,885.2) x METs (3.3) ÷ 24 x duration of activity in hours (1) = 259.2 calories

Comparison with other types of exercise Using this formula, it is possible to calculate how many calories the body burns during any activity. The METs for some other types of exercise are as follows: Type of exercise METs Hatha yoga 3 Weight training, 8 to 15 repetitions of various exercises 3.5 Cycling, casual pace of up to 10 miles per hour 4 Jogging 7 Rope jumping 10 For example, a 50-year old female who weighs 160 pounds and is 64" (5'4") tall will have a BMR of 1,416.8. If this person jogs for 1 hour, they will burn 413.2 calories. BMR (1,416.8) x METs (7) ÷ 24 x duration of activity in hours (1) = 413.2 calories Other benefits Calories burned walking seniors
Regularly walking at a brisk pace can lower blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol. The United States government recommend that healthy adults engage in at least 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, of moderate-intensity activity every week. Moderate-intensity activity can include any activity of 3 to 6 METs. Brisk walking is an excellent way of sticking to these guidelines. Unlike some other types of activity, walking is generally free and accessible to people who are able to do so. It is a relatively low-intensity form of exercise, so it is suitable for people who are unable to engage in more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also easy to fit into a typical day for most people. For example, walking to work or taking a walk during a lunch break for 30 minutes every day will lead to at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. Regularly walking at a brisk pace can have many health benefits, including: Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway In addition to physical health benefits, increasing physical activity through walking may also benefit mental health. Research has found that physical activity could be beneficial for a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Walking is a beneficial way to burn calories — the amount each person burns depends on their age, sex, and how rapidly they walk. Moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, can provide a range of health benefits.
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Olives: Nutrition and health benefits

Olives are popular as both a snack and an ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and stews. They have a chewy texture and a rich, salty taste.

People have cultivated olive trees for more than 7,000 years, and they have long associated its fruit with health benefits.

There are hundreds of olive species, and these fruits and their oil form an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which may help people prevent disease and live longer.

In this article, learn about the possible health benefits of olives as well as their nutritional content and how to use them.

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Are olives good for you? Different types of olives in oil in wooden bowl
Eating olives can help improve cardiovascular health. Olives and olive oil have a long history of reported health benefits, and there is a growing body of scientific evidence to back up these claims. Olive oil, which manufacturers make by crushing olive fruits and then separating the oil from the pulp, plays a key role in the Mediterranean diet. Olives are low in cholesterol and a good source of dietary fiber, which the body needs for good gut health. They are also rich in iron and copper. Research shows that following the diet can help people live longer. One study of almost 26,000 women found that the Mediterranean diet could cut the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 28% compared with a control diet. The Mediterranean diet involves a daily intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. People who follow the diet eat fish and lean meat in moderation but limit red and processed meats to 2–3 portions per month. The diet also emphasizes swapping unhealthful fats, such as the trans fats and saturated fats that are present in butter and margarine, with healthful fats, such as the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are in olives and olive oil. Olives are a good source of oleate, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. A 2016 study found that eating more monosaturated fat reduced the risk of premature death due to disease compared with eating more carbohydrates. The American Heart Foundation also state that monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on heart health when a person consumes them in moderation. Virgin olive oil is also high in a type of antioxidant called polyphenols, which can help prevent diseases relating to the heart and blood vessels. Some people believe that these antioxidants can slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases and even cancer. However, more studies are necessary to confirm these claims. It is worth noting that food producers usually preserve olives in brine, which has a high salt content. Over time, excess levels of salt in the body can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke, so people should eat olives in moderation. Nutritional content of different types of olive Olives and Mediterranean food in buffet
Olives have a high fat content. The nutritional content of 100 grams (g) of ripe, canned black olives is as follows: Macronutrients: energy: 116 calories protein: 0.84 g total fat: 10.90 g carbohydrate: 6.04 g fiber: 1.60 g Minerals: calcium: 88 milligrams (mg) iron: 6.28 mg magnesium: 4 mg potassium: 8 mg sodium: 735 mg zinc: 0.22 mg copper: 0.25 mg Vitamins: vitamin C: 0.90 mg niacin: 0.04 mg vitamin B-6: 0.01 mg vitamin A: 17 micrograms (µg) vitamin E: 1.65 mg vitamin K: 1.4 µg The nutritional content of 100 g of canned or bottled green olives is as follows: Macronutrients: energy: 145 calories protein: 1.03 g total fat: 15.32 g carbohydrate: 3.84 g fiber: 3.30 g Minerals: calcium: 52 mg iron: 0.49 mg magnesium: 11 mg potassium: 42 mg sodium: 1,556 mg zinc: 0.04 mg copper: 0.12 mg Vitamins: niacin: 0.24 mg vitamin B-6: 0.03 mg folate: 3 µg vitamin A: 20 µg vitamin E: 3.81 mg vitamin K: 1.4 µg A tablespoon of standard olive oil contains the following nutrients, among others: energy: 119 calories total fat: 13.5 g (including 9.85 g monounsaturated fatty acids, 1.42 g polyunsaturated fatty acids, and 1.86 g saturated fatty acids) iron: 0.08 mg vitamin E: 1.94 mg vitamin K: 8.13 µg How to use Woman pouring olive oil onto salad
A person can benefit from olive oil by adding it to salads and vegetables. People can add olives and extra virgin olive oil to all manner of foods, including salad, raw or roasted vegetables, and whole-grain pasta. Mild-flavored variants of extra virgin olive oil can replace butter or other oils in baking. People can also cook with olive oil. While olives and olive oil contain plenty of useful nutrients, people should consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Olive oil is high in fat, and the preservation process means that olives are often high in salt. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Summary Generations of people have enjoyed olives and olive oil for their health-promoting qualities. Olives are low in cholesterol and a good source of dietary fiber, which the body needs for good gut health. They are also high in minerals that the body requires to function, such as iron and copper. However, it is best to consume olives in moderation, as producers usually preserve them in brine that is high in salt. Olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which can help people maintain a healthy weight, prevent heart disease, and live longer. The diet includes foods that contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, which are healthful fats that can benefit heart health. Olives are available for purchase in grocery stores, at food markets, and online. We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link(s) above.
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What foods contain high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that manufacturers make from corn starch. As with other sugars, it can cause tooth decay, obesity, and metabolic syndrome when a person consumes it in large quantities.

Health experts continue to debate whether or not high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is worse than other sugars. Many natural and organic health advocates argue that HFCS is more dangerous than other sugars.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explain that HFCS is not more dangerous than other sugars, but research on the topic is ongoing.

HFCS is not necessary for a healthful diet. In fact, avoiding it may help a person maintain a healthful weight.

What is HFCS? High fructose corn syrup foods
The most common varieties of HFCS contain either 42% or 55% fructose.

HFCS is a very sweet derivative of corn starch.

Starch consists of chains of glucose, which is a sugar. Breaking corn starch down into individual glucose molecules forms corn syrup.

To create HFCS, manufacturers add enzymes to corn syrup that convert some of the glucose to fructose. Fructose is the type of sugar present in fruit and is very sweet. The amount of fructose in HFCS varies, but the most common varieties contain either 42% or 55%.

As with HFCS, table sugar, or sucrose, also consists of glucose and fructose.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Is HFCS safe? Research has consistently shown links between the consumption of HFCS and obesity, metabolic dysregulation, and similar health issues. According to a 2017 study of mice, HFCS consumption increased fasting glucose and reduced the ability of mice to clear glucose from the body. The study also found changes in dopamine signaling in the group that consumed HFCS. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects feelings of motivation and reward. Past research has linked impaired dopamine signaling to obesity. Contrary to some previous studies, HFCS did not increase body weight. This suggests that HFCS may undermine health even if it does not cause weight gain. A 2012 analysis of 43 countries found that rates of diabetes are 20% higher in those where HFCS is readily available. Several other studies have linked HFCS availability to higher rates of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. However, this research is correlational and does not mean that HFCS directly causes these conditions. In countries where HFCS is prevalent, people might prefer sweetened foods or consume larger quantities of all types of sugar. This is why dissecting claims about whether or not HFCS is safe is difficult. Most research suggests that HFCS availability correlates with an increase in health issues. However, HFCS availability also correlates more generally with high sugar consumption. The FDA and most other public health agencies emphasize that HFCS, as with other added sugars, can increase the risk of diabetes and other health concerns. However, there is little evidence to suggest that HFCS is inherently more harmful than other sugars. The problem with HFCS is its prevalence. It is present in numerous foods, including those that do not taste sweet, such as pizza and crackers. Foods that contain HFCS High fructose corn syrup foods soda
Almost all sodas contain high quantities of HFCS. Many foods contain HFCS, so this list is by no means exhaustive. The most common sources of this ingredient include: Soda: Almost all sodas contain HFCS, often in very large quantities. Sweetened juices: Some fruit juices, including those that manufacturers market to children, contain HFCS. Processed desserts: Packaged sweets, including candy, prepackaged cookies, muffins, and other desserts, often include HFCS. Packaged fruits: Some applesauce, cranberry sauce, dried fruit snacks, and other fruit-based snacks contain HFCS as a sweetener. Crackers: Some crackers, mixed snack packages, and other cracker-like products use HFCS to increase sweetness. Condiments and salad dressings: Many condiments, even salty ones such as ketchup, use HFCS as a sweetener. Check the labels of salad dressings, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and other condiments. Prepackaged meals: A variety of prepackaged meals, including some pizzas, contain HFCS. Granola and nutrition bars: Granola bars, protein bars, and other purportedly healthful snacks often use sweeteners to improve the taste. HFCS is one of the most popular sweeteners in these products. Peanut and other nut butters: Peanut butter might seem to be a savory treat, but it is actually very sweet. Many peanut butter manufacturers add sugar, and some add HFCS. The same is true of some other nut butters, such as cashew and almond butter. Some bread and wheat: Some sweetened breads and wheats, including some pastas, contain HFCS. How to check the label High fructose corn syrup foods label check
To minimize HFCS intake, people can avoid foods that include it high up on the ingredient list. HFCS is usually visible on a product's label. Manufacturers must list ingredients in order from highest to lowest quantity. This means that the first few ingredients on a label are present in the largest quantities. So, people who want to minimize their HFCS intake should avoid any foods that list HFCS among the first few ingredients. In 2010, in response to increased concerns about the dangers of HFCS, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA to change the name of HFCS to corn sugar. The FDA rejected the request, citing concerns about consumer confusion. However, it is possible that the name might change in the future. Because HFCS is not the only sugar that can cause health problems, it is important to also look for other sugars. Sugar goes by at least 61 names on nutrition labels, including: sucrose barley malt dextrose rice syrup maltose The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that men consume no more than 150 calories of added sugar per day. This is equivalent to 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams (g). Women should restrict their intake of added sugar to no more than 100 calories per day, which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons, or 25 g. Summary The debate regarding the risks of HFCS continues. As with other sugars, there is no need to include HFCS in a healthful diet. In fact, its inclusion may increase the risk of numerous health issues. Limiting HFCS consumption can help a person reduce their sugar intake, potentially supporting their weight loss or health goals. People who want to limit their HFCS intake may feel frustrated by the abundance of food that contains HFCS. People who cannot eliminate HFCS from their diet can still reap health benefits by reducing consumption. They can achieve this by limiting soda intake and eating fewer processed snacks.
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What to do in the event of a heart attack

Learning to recognize warning signs and risk factors can help people avoid a heart attack. When a person has a heart attack, knowing what to do and acting quickly can help them have a better outcome.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person has a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States.

A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to the heart. When a blockage to blood flow occurs, it can damage or even kill parts of the heart tissue.

While the movies may depict heart attacks as happening suddenly, many heart attacks begin slowly and have many warning signs.

Signs and symptoms MAn experiencing heart attack sitting in chair holding shoulder and arm in pain.
A heart attack may cause pain in both shoulders and arms.

The main heart attack symptoms include the following:

Chest pain or discomfort: The chest pain or discomfort may feel like pressure, tightness, or a squeezing sensation. Shortness of breath: This may occur with or without chest pain. Discomfort in other parts of the body: The back, both arms and shoulders, neck, or jaw may also be uncomfortable during a heart attack.

While both males and females may experience the primary heart attack signs and symptoms, the symptoms we have listed above are more common in males.

Females are more likely to experience additional signs and symptoms. These include:

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What to do A heart attack is a life-threatening medical emergency. If someone may be having a heart attack, a person should immediately call 911 for emergency help before doing anything else. Acting quickly can help save someone's life. If a person is having a heart attack, calling 911 is often a better course of action than taking the individual to the emergency room. Paramedics typically reach a person faster than they can get to the emergency room themselves. Additionally, when paramedics arrive, they can begin lifesaving treatment immediately. If the individual having the heart attack is unconscious, someone with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training should begin CPR. If a defibrillator is available and someone knows how to use it, they should use the defibrillator after performing CPR if necessary. If you are alone If a person is alone and experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, they should immediately call 911. Next, they should take aspirin if available, and unlock their door, so that paramedics have access. Then they should lay down near the door but not blocking it, to make it easy for paramedics to find them. Causes and risk factors Having high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attacks.
Having high blood pressure can increase the risk of a heart attack. A person should be aware of their risk factors so they can take steps to prevent a heart attack. There are some heart attack risk factors that people can influence and others that they cannot. Heart attack risk factors that people cannot influence include: Age: While heart disease affects people of all ages, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) the most of those who die from coronary heart disease are adults over 65 years of age. Sex: Males are more likely than females to have and die of a heart attack. Family history: People with a significant family history of heart disease are more likely to experience a heart attack. Race and ethnicity: Some ethnic groups, including African Americans, some Asians, and Mexican Americans, are more likely to have a heart attack than others. While people cannot influence the above risk factors, there are many risk factors that they can modify or treat to prevent a heart attack. Modifiable risk factors for heart disease and heart attack include: Prevention Limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The best way to prevent a heart attack is to reduce any risk factors. People can reduce their chances of a heart attack by: losing weight if they are obese or overweight treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol by consulting a doctor controlling diabetes through diet, medication, and managing blood sugar eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits and low in saturated fats and processed foods stopping smoking or using tobacco products limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men or one per day for women getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week Additionally, a person should have regular checkups with their doctor. Regular checkups can help identify new risk factors for heart disease that a person may develop and monitor any existing ones they have. Summary Heart attacks are life-threatening medical emergencies that require immediate medical help. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can help a person get the help they need as early as possible. Reducing risk factors for heart disease can help a person prevent a heart attack.
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How a fruit compound may lower blood pressure

Blueberries, red grapes, red wine, and peanuts are some of the natural sources of resveratrol — a plant compound that has received much attention in the medical community recently. New research in mice and human cells breaks down the mechanism through which resveratrol may lower blood pressure.
close up of woman's hands washing fruit
Red grapes and some blueberries contain resveratrol.

From protecting our neurons against aging to potentially preventing cancer, a significant number of studies have recently hailed the health benefits of resveratrol.

Also, a lot of previous research has focused on the benefits of resveratrol for heart health.

Clinical studies in rats and mice have demonstrated protective effects against stroke, heart failure, and hypertension, among other heart conditions.

Although some researchers believe that the benefits of resveratrol come from its antioxidant properties, the mechanisms behind its cardioprotective effects remain unclear.

New research gets closer to understanding these mechanisms, and the findings are an intriguing paradox.

A team of scientists from King's College London (KCL), in the United Kingdom, added resveratrol to the diet of mice with high blood pressure. Joseph Burgoyne, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in cardiovascular sciences at KCL, is the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Circulation.

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The effects of resveratrol in mice

Burgoyne and the team induced high blood pressure in a group of wild-type mice. The researchers measured the rodent's blood pressure with implanted telemetry probes and monitored this for 15 days.

During this time, they fed the mice either a diet to which they had added resveratrol or a normal diet.

By the end of the study period, the researchers noted a drop of about 20 millimeters of mercury in the blood pressure of mice that had consumed resveratrol. The scientists also discovered that resveratrol relaxed the rodents' blood vessels by oxidizing the protein PKG1a.

"Resveratrol mediates lowering of blood pressure by paradoxically inducing protein oxidation, especially during times of oxidative stress, a mechanism that may be a common feature of 'antioxidant' molecules," conclude the authors.

The findings are counterintuitive, in the sense that the compound is believed to be an antioxidant, but this study shows that it behaves like an oxidant in order to lower blood pressure.

"We're slowly realizing that oxidants aren't always the villain. Our research shows that a molecule once deemed an antioxidant exerts its beneficial effects through oxidation. We think that many other so-called 'antioxidants' might also work in this way."

Joseph Burgoyne, Ph.D.

What do the findings mean for humans?

Importantly, the researchers were able to replicate the findings in human cell lines. Specifically, they applied resveratrol to smooth muscle cells taken from human blood vessels and noticed the same oxidization process.

However, the scientists caution against the interpretation that people should consume a lot of resveratrol-containing products in order to reap the same benefits that this study showcased in mice.

People should avoid red wine, in particular, the researchers warn. To recreate the benefits of the study in humans, say Burgoyne and colleagues, a person would have to consume 1,000 bottles of red wine every day. The compound is not very soluble, which is why high amounts of it are necessary.

"Our work could lay the foundations for chemically altering resveratrol to improve its delivery to the body," the study's lead author explains, "or designing new, more potent drugs which use the same pathway. In the future, we could have a whole new class of blood pressure drugs."

Metin Avkiran, Ph.D., a professor of molecular cardiology at KCL — who was not involved in the study — also comments on the significance of the findings.

"Unfortunately, this isn't the all-clear to open a bottle of merlot. To get the human equivalent dose of resveratrol used here, you'd need to drink an impossible amount of red wine every day."

Prof. Metin Avkiran, Ph.D.

"This study reveals the surprising way in which resveratrol works and opens up the possibility of new blood pressure drugs which work in a similar way," Prof. Avkiran adds. "The findings bring us a step closer to tackling this 'silent killer' which puts people at risk of having a devastating stroke or heart attack."

In the United States, over 100 million people are currently living with hypertension.

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