Heart Beat: May 2013
Older Patients Like Remote Monitoring But Prefer In-Person Visits
Older Patients With Implantable Cardiac devices may like the convenience of remote monitoring of the wireless devices by their physicians, but a new study found that most patients prefer to have in-person consultations with their doctors. The study, published in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, reported that 53 percent of patients with pacemakers, defibrillators and other implanted, wireless devices that regulate or measure heart rhythm said they would rather have in-office follow-ups with their doctors. Only 27 percent expressed a preference for the remote monitoring. Interestingly, the majority of device patients in the study said it was “easy” or even “very easy” to use the wireless technology. “Everybody wants more time with the doctor, but usually device checks, even when in person, don’t happen with the doctor,” says Bruce L. Wilkoff MD, Director of Cardiac Pacing & Tachyarrythmia Devices at Cleveland Clinic. “If there are no symptom or another condition that needs to be followed more closely the monitoring guidelines, approved by both the Heart Rhythm Society (USA and worldwide) and the European Heart Rhythm Society say that people should be evaluated in person at least once a year.”
“Achievable” Dietary Sodium Goals Could Lead to Major Benefits
Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found that hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, with up to a 10 percent fall in cardiovascular mortality during a 10-year period, if Americans could reduce sodium intake by 40 percent. Researchers said the goal was “optimistic, but potentially achievable.” The research was published in the March 2013 issue of Hypertension. Researchers acknowledge that such a widespread dietary change would be a “daunting task,” but they suggest that reaching the 40-percent target could be most easily achieved if people could start by cutting their sodium intake by 4 percent a year for 10 years. Strategies include using other seasonings at home when cooking, eating less take-out or restaurant food, and opting for low-sodium soups and other products.
Patients With Diabetes May Not Have to Limit Fruit Consumption
Many health professionals recommend that diabetics avoid eating too much fruit, due to its high natural sugar content. However, a study published online March 5, 2013 in Nutrition Journal suggests that limiting fruit intake does not improve glycemic control. Researchers split study participants with diabetes into high-fruit and low-fruit intake groups. During the 12-week study, fruit consumption rose from 194 g/day to 319 g/day in the high-intake group and decreased from 186 g/day to 135 g/day in the low-intake group. At the end of 12 weeks, the two groups had similar drops in A1C levels (a measure of blood glucose), weight, and girth. However, if you have diabetes, consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes.
EGGS May be Safer for Heart Health Than Previously Thought
You’ve heard for years that eggs are the enemy of good cholesterol management. But a recent study published in BMJ finds that eating one egg a day is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. One egg contains 210 milligrams of cholesterol on average, which is high. The American Heart Association recommends limiting cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg/day, since low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) is linked to heart disease and stroke. As a result, doctors have warned people with high cholesterol to avoid eggs. But researchers say the effects of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol levels are small. In fact, eating foods rich in saturated fats is more likely to raise blood cholesterol levels than foods rich in cholesterol. They also point out that eggs are a source of many nutrients and also unsaturated fats, which lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings may not apply to everyone, however. Researchers discovered that people with diabetes may increase their risk of heart disease by eating one egg a day. Talk to your doctor before adding eggs back into your daily diet.