Cholesterol Therapy, Cardiac Rehab for Women, CPAP and Antiplatelets
Less than half of patients who need cholesterol therapy take meds.
Between 2005 and 2012, only about 45 percent of the U.S. patients who qualified for cholesterol-lowering therapy actually took their medications. The lower numbers were especially significant among African-American and Mexican-American patients. Also, men were less likely than women to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins. The findings, published in the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, should be viewed as a reminder to doctors and public health officials to do a greater job educating patients that adherence to these medications can be a life-saving behavior. By lowering your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, you lower your risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. The report found that 36 percent of adults age 21 and older are eligible for cholesterol-lowering therapy. Of those people, 55 percent of the patients take their medications and 46 percent are involved in lifestyle adjustments, such as regular exercise, to improve their cholesterol levels. However, only 37 percent were doing both. And more than 35 percent of adults were doing neither. If you have been prescribed a statin and are concerned about side effects or other issues, share your concerns with your doctor. If you experience side effects with one type of statin, you may be able to take a different kind of statin or take a lower dose to eliminate those side effects.
Study suggests that women less likely to complete cardiac rehab.
Despite the proven effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation, women tend to be less likely than men to follow through with a prescribed rehab program, according to a recent study sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. In the study, only 55 percent of the female heart patients completed the prescribed 24 rehab sessions. A British study published in 2011 also noted that women were less likely than men to attend rehab sessions. Researchers say the findings emphasize the need for more rehab options for patients and improved monitoring and follow-up to help motivate women to participate in cardiac rehab. Heart patients who complete rehab tend to be in better overall health and live longer than those who do not participate. Cardiac rehab includes supervised exercise sessions and education about medication adherence and other lifestyle behaviors critical to improving heart health. It should be noted that women tend to be older than men when they have a heart attack or otherwise qualify for cardiac rehab. Future studies will look at whether age or other factors are contributing to lower numbers of women in rehab.
Study: jaw device and CPAP lead to similar BP improvements.
For a long time, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been the gold standard in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But new research, published in JAMA, found that the use of CPAP and mandibular advancement devices (MADs) had similar effects on blood pressure reduction in patients with OSA. A MAD is a mouthguard-like device that pulls the lower jaw (mandible) forward slightly to help maintain an open airway. CPAP involves the use of a mask over the nose and mouth and a hose attached to a machine that pumps air through the hose to keep your airways open. OSA occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat relaxes and blocks the flow of air to the lungs. As a result, there are pauses in breathing, which lead to blood pressure increases and other serious health complications.
New reversible antiplatelet drug shows early promise.
An experimental clot-preventing antiplatelet drug is showing some encouraging results in early trials. The drug, PZ-128, appears safe and effective at preventing clots. What’s even more encouraging is that the drug’s effects are reversible. If there is a bleeding problem after taking PZ-128, the effects of the drug can be reversed to avoid bleeding complications. This is not the case with most other antiplatelet medications. PZ-128 was designed to prevent blood clots during procedures such as angioplasty, the opening of an artery with a small balloon at the end of a catheter. Though the research is still in what is called Phase I trials, the early returns look favorable. The early trial results were published recently in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.