Heart Beat June 2016 Issue

Diabetes, Supplements, Psoriasis and Depression

Diabetes Patients Need Greater Control of Heart Risk Factors

Controlling your blood pressure, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and blood glucose levels are proven means of lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. But a recent study published online in Diabetes Care found that only seven percent of participants with diabetes had those risk factors under control. There was some encouraging news, however. Among the patients with diabetes who did get their blood pressure, LDL and blood glucose into the recommended levels, they experienced a 62-percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Because having diabetes raises your risk of developing heart disease and other related problems, researchers say it’s very important to proactively get these other problems managed. If you are unsure what your target blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are, and how often you should have them tested, talk with your doctor and commit to taking better control of your health.

Study: Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements No Threat to Heart Health

A British study of more than 500,000 men and women found that calcium and vitamin D supplementation is not not associated with a greater risk of hospitalization due to heart disease, any cardiovascular events, or death related to either of those causes. The research also found that vitamin D and calcium supplementation didn’t affect future risks, even among individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease. The study findings remained convincing even after researchers accounted for age, obesity, blood pressure, and medication use. Previous studies of calcium supplementation and cardiovascular risks have produced inconsistent results. This study, presented at the 2016 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases, represents one of the largest studies on this subject. Some people who take calcium supplements to help promote bone health have expressed concerns about whether the higher calcium consumption will add to the calcification of blood vessels and heart valves. Researchers said they hope their results will reassure individuals that calcium and vitamin D supplementation is safe. They also said that their findings should help researchers who use genetic testing to help determine a person’s heart risks.

Psoriasis Linked with Higher Risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Psoriasis is generally thought of as strictly a skin disease because its most obvious symptoms are patches of dry, scaly skin anywhere on the body. But a recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology suggests that psoriasis really should be considered an inflammatory disease that affects the entire body, and not simply a skin condition. Researchers found that among patients with psoriasis, the more severe the condition the greater the risk of developing abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). An AAA is a bulging in the body’s largest artery as it passes through the abdomen. These kinds of aneurysms often have no symptoms until they rupture. A rupture can be fatal. Researchers say that if you have psoriasis, you should be aware that your risk of AAA and other complications is greater and worth discussing with your doctor. An AAA can be diagnosed before it ruptures with the help of an X-ray and/or ultrasound.

Depression Treatment May Help Lower Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack

Depression has long been known as a risk factor for heart disease and many other complications, but there was little evidence to show that successfully treating depression could actually lower a person’s cardiovascular risks. A study presented at the 2016 American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, however, found that treating an individual with depression may actually return a person’s heart risks to the levels of someone who had never experienced short-term depression. In the study of more than 7,500 patients, those who were treated and no longer had depression had the same heart risks as similar people who had never dealt with depression. Patients who weren’t treated successfully or became depressed during the study had greater heart disease risks. Further study is needed to determine the best type of depression treatment for patients at risk of heart disease.

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