Heart Beat: December 2014
Hour of moderate exercise each day may lower heart failure risk
An hour of moderate-intensity exercise or half an hour of vigorous-intensity exercise each day may lower your risk of heart failure by as much as 46 percent, according to a study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure. Swedish researchers studied more than 39,000 adults who didnít have heart failure at the studyís start in 1997. The researchers monitored the participantsí exercise patterns and leisure activities for about 15 years. Those who exercised more had a significantly lower risk of developing heart failure. Individuals with heart failure, on average, face a 30 to 50 percent risk of death within five years of their diagnosis. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart becomes weak and can no longer effectively pump blood throughout the body. The connection between exercise and heart failure hasnít been studied extensively, but there is no question that regular exercise is an important component of heart health. If you have questions about starting an exercise program, talk with your doctor about activities that are safe for you. If you have had a heart attack, which is a risk factor for heart failure, participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program to learn about exercise, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes necessary for optimal heart health.
New research confirms importance of prompt response to stroke
You may have heard the phrase ďtime is brainĒ when it comes to treating a stroke. It simply means the faster you get help for someone having a stroke, the greater the chances of minimizing damage to brain tissue. A recent review of individual patient records underscored that message. Researchers in the U.K. confirmed that treating stroke patients with the drug alteplase within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms significantly increases their odds of having a good outcome. The odds of a good stroke outcome were 75 percent greater for patients who received alteplase within three hours of symptom onset. Patients who received alteplase beyond the 4.5-hour mark had about a 15 percent increase in the chance of a positive outcome. The research, published in The Lancet, noted that the benefits of prompt alteplase treatment during a stroke extend to patients regardless of age and stroke severity.
Inflammation may be key to blood vessel damage due to diabetes
New research suggests that inflammation may be the reason high blood glucose levels damage blood vessels, according to a study presented at the American Heart Associationís High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2014. The research may open the door for an expanded role for anti-inflammatory drugs in the reduction of blood vessel disease risk in people with diabetes. Researchers found that in the absence of inflammation, excess glucose couldnít enter cells as easily. When extra glucose was forced into cells in laboratory experiments, no damage was done if inflammation wasnít present. When the inflammation-stimulating protein interleukin-1 was introduced, glucose easily entered cells and triggered greater escalation of inflammation. Researchers says the findings stress the importance of inflammation reduction, especially if you have diabetes. Exercise and weight loss can help reduce inflammation, as well as lower blood glucose levels.
Belly fat a serious risk factor for high blood pressure
According to a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people with fat around their abdominal area are at greater risk of developing hypertension when compared to those with fat concentrations elsewhere on the body. Obesity is a known risk factor for hypertension, and it is widely reported that the location of fat on a personís body can lead to increased risk of other health issues, like heart disease and cancer. However, the relationship between hypertension and overall obesity versus site-specific fat accumulation is unclear. While higher body mass index (BMI, a ratio of height to weight) was associated with increased incidence of hypertension, when abdominal fat content, overall fat content and lower-body fat content were factored in, only abdominal fat remained independently associated with hypertension.