Heart Beat May 2012 Issue

Heart Beat: May 2012

BLOOD PRESSURE DROP AFTER STANDING COULD SIGNAL HEART FAILURE
People who have a condition known as orthostatic hypotension may face a higher risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the journal Hypertension on March 19. These individuals experience a sudden drop in their blood pressure when they move from lying down to standing up. Though the association between orthostatic hypotension and heart failure was higher in adults between 45 and 55 than it was between 56 and 64, researchers said the presence of the condition at any age should be taken seriously, particularly if an individual has other heart failure risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease. Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump effectively enough to supply the entire bodyís needs of oxygenated blood. Researchers hope that by identifying orthostatic hypotension as a proven heart failure risk factor, patients with the condition can be treated before their heart health diminishes too greatly. If you experience symptoms such as sudden lightheadedness when standing up, tell your doctor. Medications alone may help manage the problem.

POOR SLEEP MAY LEAD TO EXCESS CALORIE CONSUMPTION
If youíre not getting enough sleep at night, youíre more likely to eat too many calories during the day. In a recent study, presented at the American Heart Associationís Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions in March, researchers found that study subjects who slept an hour and 20 minutes less than the control group also consumed an average of 549 more calories than the group that got more sleep. The more sleep-deprived subjects also experienced changes in the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which affect the metabolism. Sleeping less also didnít equate to burning more calories. .

BRISK WALKING MAY LESSEN GENETIC INFLUENCE ON OBESITY
A brisk one-hour walk each day may reduce the influence of genes toward obesityóas measured by differences in body mass index (BMI)óby half, according to a study presented at the American Heart Associationís Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions in March. BMI is the ratio of body weight in kilograms to the square of height in meters. A score of 30 or more is considered obese. Researchers also found out that watching too much TV can worsen your genetic tendency toward obesity. Genes influencing obesity were only discovered in the past few years, and genetic testing for obesity is still not available to the general public. Researchers noted that a sedentary lifestyle that does not include daily exercise can contribute to weight gain regardless of your genetic predisposition, though obesity genes may make the risk even more pronounced.

NO CANCER PROTECTION FROM VITAMIN B AND OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTS
Vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during a five-year period failed to reduce the incidence of cancer and cancer mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers also found the supplements had no significant effect on major vascular events, either. Previous studies had shown mixed results when it came to cancer and vascular protection from these supplements.

DEPRESSION LINKED WITH COGNITIVE DECLINE IN HEART PATIENTS
Coronary artery disease patients who also suffer from persistent depression symptoms may face more rapid cognitive decline in their later years than heart patients without depression, according to a study in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers examined the association between depression symptoms and longer-term changes in several areas of cognitive performance after coronary artery bypass graft or coronary stenting. Researchers noted that patients who had significant cognitive decline in the first year after the procedures were at a high risk for subsequent decline in the next two years. They added that depression screenings and treatment of diagnosed depression in these patients could help preserve brain function.