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Many Americans Ill-Informed About Heart Failure: Survey

Posted 16 Jun 2015 by

TUESDAY, June 16, 2015 – Large gaps exist in Americans' knowledge about heart failure, even though nearly 6 million people nationwide have it, a new survey finds. Nearly half of the more than 1,600 survey participants did not know basic facts about heart failure. And two-thirds confused signs of heart failure with signs of heart attack, according to the American Heart Association survey. Respondents included the general public, heart-failure patients and caregivers of people with heart failure. Fifty-eight percent of the participants mistakenly thought heart failure was a natural cause of death that occurs when the heart stops beating. Forty-six percent incorrectly said heart failure is a silent killer with no symptoms. In fact, heart failure occurs when the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight gain of 3 or more ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

'Moderate'Drinking Might Harm Older People's Hearts: Study

Posted 26 May 2015 by

TUESDAY, May 26, 2015 – "Moderate" drinking might harm your heart if you're a senior citizen, a new study suggests. And women appear to be at greater risk for alcohol-related heart damage than men, the researchers found. "In an elderly population, increasing alcohol intake is associated with subtle alterations in heart structure and function, with women appearing more susceptible than men to the toxic effects of alcohol," said lead researcher Dr. Alexandra Goncalves. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The study involved more than 4,400 adults, average age 76. The investigators found that women who drank even moderately – one drink daily – experienced a small reduction in heart function. Among men, consuming more than 14 drinks a week – considered heavy drinking – was linked to enlargement of the heart's left ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Alcohol Dependence, Alcohol Withdrawal, Alcoholism, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Hangover, Acute Alcohol Intoxication

Depression Linked to Death of Many Heart Failure Patients

Posted 25 May 2015 by

SATURDAY, May 23, 2015 – Depression significantly increases the risk of death in heart failure patients, a new study finds. Heart failure patients with moderate to severe depression had a five times higher risk of death than those with no or mild depression, researchers found. "We know that depression is common in heart failure and affects 20 to 40 percent of patients," said study author John Cleland, a professor of cardiology at Imperial College London and the University of Hull in England. Of the 154 patients studied, 27 had mild depression and 24 had moderate to severe depression. Over an average follow-up of 302 days, 27 patients died. The increased risk of death associated with moderate to severe depression was independent of other health problems and the severity of heart failure, the researchers said. The study was to be presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the Heart ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Major Depressive Disorder, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Dysthymia, Left Ventricular Dysfunction

Many Aging Boomers Face Chronic Illness, But Death Rate Is Falling: CDC

Posted 6 May 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2015 – A new study finds mixed results for the health of America's aging "Baby Boom" generation, with nearly half of people ages 55 to 64 taking a prescription heart drug and about 1 in 5 dealing with diabetes. However, the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also finds that the overall death rate in this age group has gone down over the past decade. The report shows that the "prevalence of diabetes and obesity among Baby Boomers remains remarkably high and is a public health concern," said Dr. Ronald Tamler, who directs the Mount Sinai Clinical Diabetes Institute in New York City. But he said the new findings also show that "interventions focusing on heart health are beginning to pay off." The new data comes from an annual report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, looking at 2014 statistics on the health of all ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Hypertension, Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Angina, Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Myocardial Infarction, Hypertriglyceridemia, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Heart Drug Digoxin May Not Be Best for Some Heart Patients

Posted 5 May 2015 by

TUESDAY, May 5, 2015 – Taking the heart drug digoxin may increase the risk of premature death in patients with an irregular heartbeat and in those suffering from heart failure, German researchers report. In the review of published studies on the subject, patients treated with digoxin had a 21 percent increased risk of early death overall from any cause, compared with patients not taking the drug. Among patients with the irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, researchers found a 29 percent greater risk of premature death, while the increased risk was 14 percent among heart failure patients. "Digoxin should be used with great caution," said lead researcher Dr. Stefan Hohnloser, a professor of cardiology at the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt. "There are better drugs for many patients, for instance in those who receive the drug for atrial fibrillation," he said, which ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Digoxin, Multaq, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Lanoxin, Dronedarone, Asystole, Digitek, Digox, Cardoxin, Lanoxicaps

Heart Failure Implant Tied to Weakening of Thinking, Memory

Posted 30 Apr 2015 by

THURSDAY, April 30, 2015 – A mechanical device that restores a failing heart's ability to pump blood might contribute to a decline in memory and thinking in some patients, a new study reports. Left ventricular assist devices are surgically implanted in patients with advanced heart failure who are awaiting a heart transplant or unable to receive one, said lead author Dr. Timothy Fendler, a research fellow at St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo. "These devices have become a mainstay of treatment for people with severe heart failure over the past 15 years, and offer really phenomenal survival benefits," Fendler said. But Fendler is co-author of two studies that suggest survival due to a left ventricular assist device might come at a cost. More than one in four patients who receive such a device experienced a notable decline in their ability to remember, plan and ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Organ Transplant, Cardiothoracic Surgery

Knowledge Is Power for Patients With Heart Failure

Posted 29 Apr 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, April 29, 2015 – Heart failure patients may be more likely to die following hospitalization if they have a hard time reading, understanding and using health information, a new study suggests. People with low "health literacy" who wound up in the hospital with acute heart failure ran a 34 percent greater risk of dying during the study period if they didn't grasp the information that doctors and nurses provided them about their condition, said lead author Dr. Candace McNaughton. She is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. "Patients with lower health literacy skills may have difficulty communicating with health care providers, navigating the health care system, recognizing signs of health decline, and knowing when and who to contact when they do become ill," McNaughton said. For example, heart failure patients ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Lasix, Congestive Heart Failure, Furosemide, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Left Ventriculography, Diaqua-2, Lo-Aqua

Depression Tied to Worse Outcomes for Black Patients With Heart Failure

Posted 22 Apr 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, April 22, 2015 – Depression seems to increase the risk of hospitalization and death in black heart failure patients, a new study finds. Researchers assessed depression symptoms – such as difficulty with concentration, a lack of energy and feelings of hopelessness or helplessness – in nearly 750 black patients with heart failure. About one-third of them had symptoms of depression. The researchers then compared outcomes to more than 1,400 white patients with heart failure. Even moderate depressive symptoms appeared to boost the risk of hospitalization or death for black patients, according to the study published April 21 in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure. The researchers also found that black patients whose depression symptoms worsened over three months were a third more likely to die or be hospitalized than those with stable depression symptoms. All of this means ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction

A Grateful Heart May Be a Healthy Heart

Posted 13 Apr 2015 by

MONDAY, April 13, 2015 – Being thankful for the good things in life may benefit heart failure patients, a new study suggests. The research included almost 200 heart failure patients who didn't yet have any symptoms, such as shortness of breath or fatigue. Halting the disease progression at this point – known as stage B – can prevent it from moving to stage C. In stage C, patients have a five times higher risk for death, according to the researchers. Patients completed standard psychological tests so researchers could assess the patients' levels of gratitude and spiritual well-being. Higher levels of gratitude were associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and less inflammation, a factor that can worsen heart failure, according to the study. However, it's important to note that this study was only able to find an association between feeling grateful and improved heart ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction

Fried Foods Tied to Raised Heart Failure Risk

Posted 3 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 3, 2015 – The more fried food you eat, the greater your risk for heart failure, a new study says. "This study suggests that it might be wise to reduce the frequency and quantity of fried foods consumed weekly in order to prevent heart failure and other chronic conditions," said lead researcher Dr. Luc Djousse, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Heart failure means the heart isn't pumping blood throughout the body as well as it should. Symptoms include fatigue and shortness of breath, and it's one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions among people aged 65 and older, according to the American Heart Association. In this study, men who ate fried food one to three times a week had an average 18 percent increased risk of developing heart failure, researchers found. When fried food was eaten four to six times a week, heart ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Heart Failure Patients Who Struggle With Daily Tasks at Greatest Risk

Posted 25 Feb 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25, 2015 – Heart failure patients who struggle to perform daily tasks are at increased risk for hospitalization and death, a new study shows. The study included more than 1,100 people with heart failure, average age 75, who were classified as having either minimal, moderate or severe difficulty with activities such as getting dressed, cleaning the house, climbing stairs, taking medications and using the bathroom. "Difficulty with daily living is easy to assess in a routine doctor's visit, and can provide important information to help guide conversations about goals of care," wrote study author Dr. Shannon Dunlay, an advanced heart failure cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "Patients who report difficulties may be candidates for a more thorough assessment and physical therapy evaluation to improve or halt the decline in mobility," she added. "Our ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction

Are Too Many Heart Failure Patients Getting IV Fluids?

Posted 2 Feb 2015 by

MONDAY, Feb. 2, 2015 – Potentially harmful intravenous (IV) fluids are being given to too many patients with severe heart failure, a new study suggests. As researchers from Yale University explained, heart failure patients in the hospital typically receive drugs called diuretics to prevent excess fluid buildup and to improve their symptoms. However, many will also receive IV fluids early in a hospital stay. This influx of IV fluids to heart failure patients may actually worsen their condition, the investigator said. In the study, a team led by Dr. Behnood Bikdeli, a research scholar at Yale University's Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, looked at data from more than 130,000 hospitalizations of severe heart failure patients. All of the patients received IV fluids during their first two days in hospital, and more than 11 percent were treated with IV fluids in addition to ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure

Certain Heart Drug, Antibiotic Combo Might Be Fatal for Seniors

Posted 2 Feb 2015 by

MONDAY, Feb. 2, 2015 – The combination of a widely used heart medication and a commonly prescribed antibiotic seems to more than double the risk of sudden death in seniors, a new study says. Spironolactone (brand name Aldactone) is a diuretic widely used in treating heart failure. It protects the heart by blocking a hormone that causes salt and fluid buildup. But taking spironolactone alongside the antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (brand names Septra, Bactrim) can cause blood potassium to rise to potentially life-threatening levels, said study lead author Tony Antoniou, a scientist with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "One of the consequences of a high potassium level is getting these irregular heart rhythms that can be quite dangerous and cause sudden deaths," Antoniou said. To test the potential hazards of this drug combination, ... Read more

Related support groups: Bacterial Infection, Bactrim, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Spironolactone, Bactrim DS, Septra, Aldactone, Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim, Septra DS, Cotrimoxazole, Sulfatrim, SMZ-TMP DS, Sulfatrim Pediatric, Co-trimoxazole, Cotrim, Bactrim IV, Bethaprim, Cotrim DS

Could a Drink a Day Lower Your Risk for Heart Failure?

Posted 19 Jan 2015 by

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 – Having a drink each day might help lower a middle-aged person's odds for heart failure, a new study reveals. The investigation suggests that men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who drink as much as seven comparably sized glasses of wine, beer and/or spirits per week will see their risk for heart failure drop by 20 percent. For women the associated drop in risk amounted to roughly 16 percent, according to the study published online Jan. 20 in the European Heart Journal. "These findings suggest that drinking alcohol in moderation does not contribute to an increased risk of heart failure and may even be protective," Dr. Scott Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a journal news release. While the study found an association between moderate drinking and a lower risk of heart failure, it wasn't designed to prove cause-and-effect. And ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Ethanol, Denatured Alcohol, Dehydrated Alcohol, Ethyl Alcohol, Alcohol 5% in Dextrose 5%, Lavacol, Alcare Plus

Scientists Spot Mutation Behind Genetic Form of Heart Failure

Posted 14 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14, 2015 – Researchers have uncovered a major genetic risk for heart failure – a mutation affecting a key muscle protein that makes the heart less elastic. The mutation increases a person's risk of dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a form of heart failure in which the walls of the heart muscle are stretched out and become thinner, enlarging the heart and impairing its ability to pump blood efficiently, a new international study has revealed. The finding could lead to genetic testing that would improve treatment for people at high risk for heart failure, according to the report published Jan. 14 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The mutation causes the body to produce shortened forms of titin, the largest human protein and an essential component of muscle, the researchers said in background information. "We found that dilated cardiomyopathy due to titin ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure

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