Heart Beat February 2019 Issue

Heart Beat: February 2019

New Study Debunks the Notion You Can Be Fat and Healthy

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Obese individuals tend to have other risk factors for heart attack and stroke, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. That has caused the role of obesity as a cardiovascular risk factor to be questioned. A study spearheaded at Cleveland Clinic suggests that it is. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of five studies with a total of 900,000 participants in which a genetic polymorphism associated with obesity was used to determine its potential link to cardiovascular outcomes. They found that as body-mass index rose above the mean, risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) rose with it. No connection between obesity and stroke was seen. Although these results do not prove that obesity causes diabetes and CAD, they strongly suggest that obesity increases the risk these issues will develop (JAMA Network Open, November 2018).

Prostate Cancer Treatment May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Men with prostate cancer undergoing androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for more than six months are highly likely to develop heart failure within one year, researchers have found. A look at 3,050 men with prostate cancer in a database found the incidence of heart failure was 72 percent higher among those treated with ADT than in those who had not. When the incidence of hypertension, coronary artery disease, income and urban versus rural lifestyle were adjusted to match the two populations, the risk of heart failure was 92 percent higher among ADT users. The risk remained higher for two or three years and was significantly greater among men with valve disease. ADT can prolong survival in men with metastatic prostate cancer and those with localized disease receiving radiation therapy. In others, the risks of ADT should be weighed against any potential benefit (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Nov. 7, 2018).

Your Next Bottle of Salad Oil May Claim it Prevents Heart Disease

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced in November that bottles of olive, sunflower, safflower, canola and other oils containing at least 70 percent oleic acid may claim they reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Their decision was based on the result of six small studies that found oils with high oleic acid levels lowered cholesterol when used in place of a product higher in saturated fat, such as butter, palm oil or coconut oil. "There is supportive, but not conclusive, evidence suggesting that daily consumption of about 1 tablespoons (20 grams) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease," the qualified claim says. Labels must also carry the disclaimer that this heart-healthy benefit can be derived only by using the oil in place of a saturated fat.

Rates of Cigarette Smoking Continue to Drop

If you smoke cigarettes, you are part of a growing minority. A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute and FDA and published online Nov. 9, 2018, in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report announced that cigarette smoking among adults fell from 15.5 percent in 2016 to 14 percent in 2017, the lowest rate ever recorded. In young adults ages 18 to 24, cigarette use fell from 13 percent to 10 percent. The survey found that smoking habits vary greatly with demographics and mental health status. The highest users were those who attained a general education development (GED) certificate (42 percent) and those with serious psychological distress (40.8 percent). FDA regulation of tobacco products, tobacco price increases, mass media anti-smoking campaigns, smoke-free laws and wider access to smoking-cessation counseling and medications were credited with achieving a 67percent decrease in smoking rate since 1965.

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