Heart Beat May 2014 Issue

Heart Beat: May 2014

New guidelines could result in millions more patients taking statins
New cholesterol-control guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association suggest that the number of people eligible for statin therapy could increase by almost 13 million people. The guidelines focus more on a patientís risk of developing cardiovascular disease, rather than on target cholesterol levels, which had been the approach previously. Determining an individualís risk is done using factors such as age, gender, race, a history of smoking, the presence of diabetes, current cholesterol levels and other considerations. In an analysis of who would be appropriate candidates for statin therapy based on the new guidelines, researchers found that 87.4 percent of men aged 60 to 75 would be eligible for statin therapy. The eligibility of women between the ages of 60 and 75 would increase from 21.2 percent to 53.6 percent under the guidelines released in late 2013. The analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that about 13 million new people could be recommended for statin therapy, with the majority of them in the older population. The number of eligible candidates for statin use would also see a big increase among younger adults without cardiovascular disease, but with elevated cholesterol levels. There is some debate among physicians about the guidelines and just how aggressively high cholesterol levels should be treated with statins. If you have questions, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of statin therapy, and about your 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease.

Better blood pressure control protects people with kidney disease
If you have chronic kidney disease, lowering your blood pressure may be a highly effective way of lowering your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers also found that lower stroke and heart attack risks were achieved with a variety of blood pressure-lowering medications. They found that no one drug was better than another in protecting kidney patients. The study results underscore the key role blood pressure control plays in preventing cardiovascular events in these patients. Having kidney disease raises your risk of having a heart attack and other health complications. An estimated 10 percent of the adult population worldwide has some kind of kidney dysfunction, and many people donít know it. If you are unsure about your kidney health, talk with your doctor about tests that can determine the health of your kidneys.

Cleveland clinic opens chinese herbal therapy clinic
Cleveland Clinic has become one of the first institutions in the U.S. to open a hospital-based Chinese herbal therapy clinic. The new facility is designed to offer supplementary options for patients seeking holistic and natural approaches to their health care. Patients will need referrals from their physicians to receive Chinese herbal therapy. This integrative approach should decrease the risk of drug-herb interactions and increase the odds of patients having positive outcomes. Among the conditions that may be helped with Chinese herbal therapy are diabetes, chronic pain, fatigue, sleep problems and issues with digestion, breathing and fertility. Chinese herbal therapy is best suited for patients who have complex medical needs and who have exhausted other medical treatment options. Patients who need additional therapy to counteract effects of prescribed medications, as well as those interested in integrative preventive medicine, may also benefit.

Study finds heart disease linked with dementia in older women
A recent study found that heart disease in older postmenopausal women may put them at a higher risk for decreased brain function, such as dementia. The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, notes that the risk for cognitive decline was almost double in women who had a heart attack, compared with women who had never had a heart attack. High blood pressure and diabetes also increased the risk for dementia over time. Researchers suggest that better management of heart disease and heart disease risk factors may help delay or slow the progression of mental decline in old age.

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