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Implanted Defibrillators Help Women as Much as Men: Study

Posted 12 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 12, 2016 – Among people with heart failure, implanted defibrillators benefit women as much as men, a new study finds. Previous research has shown that implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) help heart failure patients live longer. And current guidelines recommend that doctors consider adding the devices to standard treatment for all heart failure patients. However, women are less likely than men to receive an ICD, the study authors said. One reason may be that questions remained about whether the devices benefit women with heart failure. People with heart failure are at increased risk for heart rhythm problems. ICDs are placed under the skin of the chest and deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm when a potentially deadly abnormal rhythm is detected. The new study compared thousands of female and male heart failure patients with and without ICDs. ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Atrial Tachycardia, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Left Ventriculography

Diet and Exercise Benefit People With Heart Failure

Posted 5 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 5, 2016 – Lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and regular exercise appear to improve heart function and exercise capacity in people with a particular form of heart failure, a new study reports. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) is a form of heart failure that's on the rise. It most often affects overweight and obese older women. This type of heart failure leads to fatigue and shortness of breath during activities, which can affect the ability to exercise, according to the study authors. The study included 100 obese older people with HFPEF. The randomized clinical trial was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine led by Dr. Dalane Kitzman divided the participants into four groups: diet alone, exercise alone, both diet and exercise, and a control group who didn't get any ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Weight Loss, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Left Ventriculography

Doctor-Patient Emails Can Help the Chronically Ill

Posted 5 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 4, 2016 – For people with chronic conditions, the ability to communicate with their doctor via email may improve their health, new research suggests. The study included just over 1,000 patients in northern California diagnosed with conditions such as asthma, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes or high blood pressure. The patients had access to an online portal, which let them review their health records, make appointments, refill prescriptions and send confidential emails to their doctor. A survey found that 56 percent of the patients had sent their doctor an email within the past year, and 46 percent had used email as the primary way to contact their doctor about medical issues. Thirty-two percent of those who exchanged emails with their doctor reported improvements in their health, according to the study published in the December issue of the ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Hypertension, Asthma, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Asthma - Maintenance, Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Asthma - Acute, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Diabetes Mellitus, Allergic Asthma, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Reversible Airways Disease

Reducing Salt Intake Might Harm Heart Failure Patients, Study Claims

Posted 30 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 28, 2015 – For decades, doctors have urged heart failure patients to slash their salt intake as a way to preserve their health. But a new study suggests – but doesn't prove – that that advice may be harmful, potentially increasing a heart failure patient's risk of death or hospitalization. Patients with moderate heart failure who stuck to a low-sodium diet were 85 percent more likely to die or require hospitalization for heart disease, when compared to similarly ill patients who didn't restrict their salt intake, the researchers found. "The conventional wisdom has been that salt is bad for you," said lead researcher Dr. Rami Doukky, a cardiologist and associate professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "This study says, not so fast. Maybe we should take that, no pun intended, with a grain of salt." However, Doukky and other cardiologists warned that the ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure

All High-Risk Patients Should Get Blood Pressure Meds: Study

Posted 25 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 24, 2015 – People known to be at high risk for a heart attack or stroke should be given blood pressure-lowering medications no matter their blood pressure level, new research suggests. Current protocols recommend starting medication when readings reach specific levels. The threshold used to be 130/85 mm Hg. But it was recently shifted to 140/90 mm Hg for non-elderly individuals, and 150/90 for the elderly. The newest and latest call for a new treatment regimen follows a review of 123 studies conducted between 1966 and 2015 that, in total, involved more than 600,000 people. The new report was published in the Dec. 23 issue of The Lancet. "Our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and potentially save millions of lives if the treatment was widely ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Lisinopril, Hypertension, Metoprolol, Heart Disease, Atenolol, Heart Attack, Losartan, Hydrochlorothiazide, Propranolol, Benicar, Diovan, Heart Failure, Bystolic, Congestive Heart Failure, Carvedilol, Renal Failure, Ramipril, Bisoprolol

Healthy Habits Help Reduce Risk of Heart Failure, Study Finds

Posted 23 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 22, 2015 – Following seven healthy habits might reduce your risk of heart failure, a new study says. "Even though there is awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, many people don't act on those messages," said senior study author Vanessa Xanthakis, an assistant professor of medicine and biostatistics at Boston University. The study included just over 3,200 Americans, average age 59, who were followed for up to 12 years. During that time, 188 developed heart failure. This is a condition where the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Those who had high scores on the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 checklist for a healthy heart had a lower risk of heart failure, the study found. The measures on the checklist are: manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get physically active, eat better, lose weight and ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Obesity, Hypertension, Weight Loss, High Cholesterol, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Pre-Diabetes, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Common Heart Failure Drugs May Harm More Than Help

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – Nitrates are commonly prescribed for heart failure patients, but a new study finds they don't improve quality of life or everyday activity levels as intended. The drugs are prescribed to relieve chest pain so patients whose hearts still contract normally might feel comfortable enough to increase their daily activities. Now, new research suggests the opposite is true. "Nitrates tended to reduce daily activity and significantly reduce active hours per day," said lead researcher Dr. Margaret Redfield, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Moreover, nitrates did not improve exercise capacity or symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath and weakness when walking. She said symptoms tended to be worse among those taking the drugs. "This study should change practice," Redfield said. "Long-acting nitrates should not be used for ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Imdur, Isosorbide Mononitrate, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Ismo, Monoket

Drugs May Protect the Heart During Chemotherapy

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – Two kinds of medications can prevent heart damage in breast cancer patients as they undergo chemotherapy, a new study suggests. Chemotherapy improves survival among women with early-stage breast cancer, but can dramatically increase their risk of heart failure, the researchers explained. This five-year study of 100 early-stage breast cancer patients in Canada found that two kinds of heart medicines – beta blockers and ACE inhibitors – seem to protect the heart during chemotherapy. "We think this is practice-changing. This will improve the safety of the cancer treatment that we provide," study co-investigator Edith Pituskin, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta in Canada, said in a university news release. The heart medications not only protect the heart, but may also improve ... Read more

Related support groups: Lisinopril, Provera, Metoprolol, Depo-Provera, Atenolol, Breast Cancer, Propranolol, Lupron, Heart Failure, Bystolic, Congestive Heart Failure, Carvedilol, Tamoxifen, Medroxyprogesterone, Arimidex, Ramipril, Coreg, Bisoprolol, Femara, Enalapril

New Drug May Help Fight Heart Failure

Posted 2 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2, 2015 – Millions of aging Americans suffer from heart failure, and there are still too few options to treat them. Now, research suggests that a new medication called Entresto might help these patients live longer. The study did not involve a clinical trial. Instead, researchers analyzed data from nearly 8,400 heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction, where a weakened heart loses some of its ability to pump blood. A team led by Dr. Scott Solomon, director of noninvasive cardiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, estimated the patients' survival time if they took Entresto (sacubitril-valsartan) or Vasotec (enalapril), the current standard of care for heart failure. The researchers projected that patients who took Entresto would live 1.5 to two years longer than those who took Vasotec. The study in the Dec. 3 issue of the New England Journal of ... Read more

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

Obesity in Youth May Harm the Heart Long-Term, Even After Weight Loss

Posted 25 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25, 2015 – A new study finds that even if overweight or obese young women slim down later on, obesity-linked damage to the heart may linger for decades. The research shows that even formerly overweight women remain at heightened risk for sudden cardiac death later in life. So, "it is important to maintain a healthy weight throughout adulthood as a way to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death," lead author Stephanie Chiuve, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release from JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology. The study was published in the journal Nov. 25. In their research, Chiuve's team tracked outcomes for more than 72,000 healthy American women followed from 1980 to 2012. The women provided information about their weight and height when they were age 18. Their body mass index (BMI - an estimate of body fat based on weight and ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Weight Loss, Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Adults With Heart Defects May Face Higher Risk of Stroke: Study

Posted 24 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 24, 2015 – Adults who were born with heart defects are at increased risk for stroke, a new study finds. "We knew there was a connection between heart failure and stroke in patients with heart defects, but we were surprised to discover it was the strongest predictor," said senior study author Dr. Ariane Marelli, a professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal. However, the study did not prove that heart defects cause stroke. For the study, researchers looked at stroke rates among more than 29,000 adults born with heart defects, and compared them with rates among people in the general population of the province of Quebec, Canada. Those with heart defects were nine to 12 times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke (blocked blood flow to the brain) before age 55. In addition, they were two to four times more likely to have this type of stroke between the ages of ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Ischemic Stroke, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes, Type 1, Insulin Resistance, Transient Ischemic Attack, Pre-Diabetes, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Diabetes Mellitus, Thromboembolic Stroke Prophylaxis, Intracranial Hemorrhage, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Left Ventriculography

Exercise Can Reduce Heart Failure Risk, No Matter Your Age

Posted 20 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2015 – Starting to exercise later in life can still reduce your risk of heart failure, and even modest increases in activity could provide some protection, researchers say. "Our findings suggest that when it comes to exercise and heart failure, the better-later-than-never axiom rings particularly true, and that even small boosts in activity can cut risk," senior investigator Dr. Chiadi Ndumele said in a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine news release. He is a preventive cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the medical school. The researchers studied the exercise habits of about 11,000 American men and women in a 20-year government study on aging and heart disease. All were between the ages of 45 and 64. None had heart disease at the start of the study. Activity levels were assessed on two consecutive visits over six years. Compared to those who ... Read more

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

Gel Injections May Help Heart Failure Patients

Posted 19 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2015 – Heart failure patients who had beads of gel injected into their beating hearts continue to show improvement in their health a year after undergoing the procedure, researchers report. About 85 percent of patients who received the gel implants displayed only slight or no limitations in physical activity during a one-year follow-up, compared with only 25 percent of patients in a comparable control group. Blood oxygen levels also continue to improve in these patients, and they are able to walk hundreds of feet farther, said lead researcher Dr. Douglas Mann, chief of the cardiovascular division at Washington University School of Medicine and a cardiologist-in-chief at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. The findings from a clinical trial update were published recently in the European Journal of Heart Failure. Based on these results, the U.S. Food and Drug ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Diagnosis and Investigation, Left Ventriculography

Why Heart Failure Patients Often Get Too Little Exercise

Posted 17 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 17, 2015 – A number of obstacles prevent heart failure patients from getting enough exercise, a new study has found. Supervised aerobic workouts benefit people with heart failure. But a lack of social support and barriers – such as child care – means that many patients don't get the recommended amount of exercise, researchers found. They looked at more than 2,200 heart failure patients enrolled in a 36-session supervised exercise program for three months, followed by two years of home exercise. Participants also answered questions that measured their perception of social support and assessed potential barriers, such as finances and weather, that could interfere with participation in an exercise program. Those with the most social support averaged 118 minutes of exercise a week after 12 months, compared with an average of 92 minutes for those with the least social ... Read more

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

New Medicare Rules Triple Heart Failure Patients' Access to Cardiac Rehab

Posted 11 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11, 2015 – Newly expanded Medicare and Medicaid coverage for cardiac rehabilitation has tripled the number of heart failure patients with access to these lifesaving programs, a new study has found. But coverage could stand to be even further expanded, the researchers concluded. "There are a lot of new patients eligible, but we left out this whole huge bucket of patients," said lead researcher Dr. Jacob Kelly, a heart physician at the Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C. "Now the question is, what should we do with this group?" Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that helps people with heart problems improve the quality of their lives, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Heart patients in cardiac rehabilitation participate in exercise training, take classes on heart healthy living, and receive counseling to help them ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Cardiovascular Conditions and Disorders

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