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Severe Obesity and Heart Failure

Posted 12 days ago by

FRIDAY, Sept. 16, 2016 – Severe obesity appears to be an independent risk factor for heart failure, a new study suggests. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed data from more than 13,000 American adults, average age 54. After accounting for other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, the researchers concluded that severe (morbid) obesity was a stand-alone risk factor for heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart is weakened and cannot pump blood sufficiently to take care of the body's needs. Severe obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 40 or higher, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Body mass index is a rough estimate of a person's body fat. A BMI of 25 or below is generally considered normal weight. Someone who is 5 feet 9 inches tall would have to weigh 271 pounds or more ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Obesity, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction

Alcohol May Damage the Heart -- at Least for Some

Posted 14 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14, 2016 – You might need to reconsider that nightly glass of wine (or beer, or liquor) because new research suggests that alcohol may not be as healthy for everyone's heart as previously believed. Long-term drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol may increase some people's risk of stroke by causing the heart's left atrium to get bigger, the researchers said. The left atrium is the upper left chamber of the heart. This enlargement of the left atrium can contribute to a heart condition called atrial fibrillation, in which the heart beats irregularly, said senior researcher Dr. Gregory Marcus. He's director of clinical research with the University of California, San Francisco, division of cardiology. Atrial fibrillation causes blood to pool and clot in the left atrium. If a clot breaks free, it can block a blood vessel in the brain, causing a stroke. About 15 percent ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Ischemic Heart Disease, Alcoholic Liver Damage

Smoking Thickens Heart Wall, Leading to Heart Failure: Study

Posted 15 days ago by

TUESDAY, Sept. 13, 2016 – Smoking leads to heart failure by causing thickened heart walls and reducing the heart's ability to pump, a new study shows. The research also found that smoking more and longer over a lifetime were associated with greater heart damage. Researchers assessed the hearts of 4,580 U.S. adults using echocardiography – ultrasound of the heart. The participants' average age was nearly 76. None had any obvious signs of heart disease. Even after accounting for factors such as age, race, body fat, blood pressure, diabetes and alcohol consumption, current smokers had thicker heart walls and reduced pumping function than nonsmokers and former smokers, the study showed. The study was published Sept. 13 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging. It's long been known that smoking is linked with heart failure, even in people without heart disease. But, health ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Smoking Cessation, Nicotine, Nicorette, Nicoderm CQ, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Nicotrol Inhaler, Commit, Habitrol, Nicotrol TD, Nicorelief, Nicorette DS, Left Ventriculography, Nicotrol NS, ProStep

Gallstones Linked to Higher Heart Disease Risk

Posted 18 Aug 2016 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 18, 2016 – People who've ever suffered gallstones may have a slightly increased risk of developing heart disease down the road, a large new study suggests. In a group of more than one-quarter million U.S. adults, researchers found those with a history of gallstones were 17 percent more likely to develop heart disease over the next few decades. Gallstones and heart disease share some of the same risk factors – such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and unhealthy cholesterol levels. But those risk factors couldn't completely explain away the finding, the researchers said. To cardiologist Dr. Richard Stein, the study makes a "pretty convincing" case that gallstones, themselves, are a risk factor for heart disease. Stein, who wasn't involved in the research, is director of the urban community cardiology program at New York University School of Medicine. He said that people with a ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Gallstones, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Ischemic Heart Disease, Cholangitis, Cholecystitis, Acute Cholecystitis, Calcium Oxalate Calculi with Hyperuricosuria, Cholelithiasis w/ Acute Cholecystitis and Obstruction, Cholelithiasis with Obstruction, Gallbladder Obstruction w/o Calculus

Do Hospital ICUs Raise Costs Without Boosting Survival?

Posted 9 Aug 2016 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2016 – Some patients put into hospital intensive care units tend to undergo more costly and invasive procedures, often without improved outcomes, a new study finds. This is particularly true for those who have diabetic ketoacidosis (high blood sugar), a pulmonary embolism (clot in the lung), heart failure or upper gastrointestinal bleeding. In many cases, these are four common medical conditions that can be treated just as well in a regular hospital ward, the researchers added. "I believe that our findings begin to tell the story of how inappropriate use of ICUs [intensive care units] can be harmful for patients and the health care system," said lead researcher Dr. Dong Chang. He is an assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Overuse of ICUs among patients who can likely be treated in non-ICU settings may lead to inappropriately ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Pulmonary Embolism, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), ICU Agitation, Upper GI Hemorrhage

Diabetes Drug Victoza Might Not Help Advanced Heart Failure Patients

Posted 2 Aug 2016 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 2, 2016 – The diabetes drug liraglutide (Victoza) doesn't appear to improve heart function in patients with advanced heart failure, a new study finds. The theory for this trial was that this drug – from a class of medications called (GLP-1) agonists – might interact with the heart's GLP-1 receptors on cells and thereby improve heart function. "We were hoping for a benefit; we didn't see that. It's at best neutral," said lead researcher Dr. Kenneth Margulies. He's a professor of medicine and research director of heart failure and transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previous studies found evidence that people with advanced heart failure have insulin resistance of their peripheral muscles and heart muscle, and "this was felt to be a detrimental feature that this type of diabetes medicine might help," he said. Not only did the drug not help, ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Victoza, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Insulin Resistance, Saxenda, Pre-Diabetes, Liraglutide, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Diabetes Mellitus, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Left Ventriculography

Even Your Heart May Benefit From Extra Education

Posted 20 Jul 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, July 20, 2016 – While there are many obvious benefits to achieving a higher level of education, one you may not have considered is a boost to your heart health. New research suggests that heart attack survivors with higher levels of education appear less likely to develop heart failure. Heart failure is a serious complication of heart attack that significantly increases the risk of death, study author Gerhard Sulo said in a European Society of Cardiology news release. Sulo is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bergen in Norway. The study included more than 70,500 people in Norway, aged 35 to 85. All had been hospitalized with a first heart attack between 2001 and 2009. None had a history of heart failure at the start of the study. By the end of 2009, 18 percent of patients had been diagnosed with early onset heart failure, the findings showed. Compared to those with ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarction, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Left Ventriculography

Heart Failure After Heart Attack Tied to Cancer Risk in Study

Posted 12 Jul 2016 by

MONDAY, July 11, 2016 – People who develop heart failure after a heart attack may also face a higher risk of cancer, a new study suggests. And, they may be prone to cancers affecting the lungs or the digestive system, according to the researchers. "Patients with cardiovascular disease experience a high burden of other diseases and should be followed with that awareness in mind," said study co-author Dr. Veronique Roger, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The researchers said the new study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between heart problems and cancers. Also, the number of heart failure patients diagnosed with cancer in the study was small. Still, the research shows the importance of closely monitoring cardiac patients, Roger said. Previous Mayo Clinic research has linked heart failure to a 70 percent higher risk ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarction, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis

Antidepressant No Help to Heart Failure Patients: Study

Posted 29 Jun 2016 by

TUESDAY, June 28, 2016 – The antidepressant Lexapro may not help heart failure patients suffering from depression, German researchers report. "Depression in heart failure may not be the same depression patients without heart failure get and who respond well to antidepressants," said lead researcher Dr. Christiane Angermann, a professor of cardiology at University Hospital Wurzburg. Heart failure is associated with biological changes that also cause depressive symptoms, she explained, "so it might be that an antidepressant is not the right drug to treat this depression." Heart failure occurs when the heart is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Among patients suffering from heart failure, 10 percent to 40 percent suffer from depression. Depression among these patients is an independent predictor of death and hospitalization, Angermann said. Lexapro is part of ... Read more

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

Irregular Heartbeat More Deadly in Blacks: Study

Posted 22 Jun 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2016 – Black Americans with a common heart rhythm disorder are at higher risk than whites for serious heart complications and death, a new study finds. The disorder, called atrial fibrillation, affects about 1 percent of American adults and more than 5 percent of those 65 and older. Atrial fibrillation can raise a person's risk for stroke. The new findings may "put the focus on improving prevention efforts for adverse outcomes in blacks with atrial fibrillation," said study lead author and cardiologist Dr. Jared Magnani. The research might also "drive further studies into the reasons behind why this is happening," said Magnani, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Institute. The study included more than 15,000 blacks and whites, average age 54, who were followed for an average of 21 years. During that time, nearly 2,350 cases of atrial ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Americans Living Longer and Better

Posted 9 Jun 2016 by

THURSDAY, June 9, 2016 – Americans aren't just living longer, they're living more years without disabilities, too, a new study shows. Harvard University researchers reviewed federal government data. They found that in 1992, life expectancy for the average 65-year-old was 17.5 additional years, 8.9 of which were disability-free. By 2008, life expectancy for someone age 65 was an additional 18.8 years, 10.7 of which were disability-free. "This suggests, for the typical person, there really is an act beyond work – that once you reach age 65, you can likely look forward to years of healthy activity," said study co-author David Cutler, a professor of applied economics at Harvard. "So this is good news for the vast bulk of people who can now look forward to healthier, disability-free life, but it's also good news for medical care because it demonstrates the value of medical spending," he ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Cataract, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Ischemic Heart Disease

Flu Shot Helps Heart Failure Patients Avoid Hospital

Posted 1 Jun 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2016 – Getting a flu shot reduces heart failure patients' risk of hospitalization, a new study shows. "Uptake of the flu vaccination in heart failure patients is relatively low, ranging from less than 20 percent in low and middle-income countries to 50 to 70 percent in high income countries like the U.K.," said study author Kazem Rahimi. He is deputy director of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in England. "This may partly be because there is no strong evidence to support the recommendation in these patients," he said. Also, some research had suggested that vaccination might be less effective in heart failure patients than in the general population because of their blunted immune response, he added. Heart failure means the heart is no longer able to pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body's needs. It's one of the most common ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, FluLaval, Afluria, FluMist, Fluzone, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Flucelvax, Influenza Prophylaxis, Fluzone WV, Flucelvax 2015-2016, Fluogen, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live, Trivalent, Fluvirin 2015-2016, FluMist Quadrivalent, Fluvirin, Agriflu

Message for Heart Failure Patients: Exercise

Posted 26 May 2016 by

THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 – Physical activity may help extend survival for patients with heart failure, a new review suggests. "Patients with heart failure should not be scared of exercise damaging them or killing them," said principal investigator Rod Taylor, director of the Exeter Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Exeter Medical School, in England. "The message for heart failure patients is clear. Exercise is good for you, it will make you feel better, and it could potentially make you live longer," Taylor said in a European Society of Cardiology news release. The findings stem from an analysis of 20 trials involving more than 4,000 people with heart failure. Overall, exercise was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of death from all causes and an 11 percent lower risk of hospitalization, compared to not exercising, the researchers said. While they can't prove a direct ... Read more

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

After Heart Attack, New Threat: Heart Failure

Posted 24 May 2016 by

TUESDAY, May 24, 2016 – Risk of heart failure appears high within a few years of a first heart attack, a new study finds. "Heart failure is a major medical problem with a high chance of hospitalization and death," said study author Dr. Johannes Gho, a cardiology resident at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. Heart failure means the heart can't pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body's demands. Improved heart attack treatment has led to higher survival rates, leaving more patients susceptible to later heart failure, Gho said in a European Society of Cardiology news release. For the study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 25,000 people in the United Kingdom who suffered a first heart attack. Nearly 25 percent of these patients developed heart failure within four years, the investigators found. Certain risk factors increased the risk of heart failure ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Maintenance, Myocardial Infarction, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Acute, Intermittent Claudication, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Post MI Syndrome

Could a Low-Salt Diet Hurt Your Health?

Posted 21 May 2016 by

FRIDAY, May 20, 2016 – A controversial new study contends that a low-salt diet could be dangerous for your heart health. Restricting dietary salt to below 3,000 milligrams a day appears to increase the risk for heart disease similar to that of high blood pressure patients who eat too much salt, said lead researcher Andrew Mente. "Having neither too high nor too low levels of sodium [salt] is optimal for health," said Mente, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada. The American Heart Association is highly critical of Mente's study. The AHA says the study relies on incorrect estimates of sodium intake, and should not lead anyone to relax concerns over excess salt in the average U.S. diet. "This is an extremely flawed analysis that doesn't provide new information, and it should not be used to guide public policy," said ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Sodium Chloride, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, HalfLytely and Bisacodyl, Hyper-Sal, Rhinaris, Potassium Chloride/Sodium Chloride, Saline Nasal Mist, Hypertensive Heart Disease, Dextrose/Sodium Chloride, Ayr Saline Nasal, Thermotabs, ENTsol, Sea Soft, Rhino-Mist, Nasal Moist, Normal Saline Flush

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