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Fewer Teeth, Higher Risk of Heart Disease?

FRIDAY, Oct. 4, 2018 — Losing teeth may be associated with higher risk for heart disease, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied nearly 317,000 Americans between 40 and 79 years of age. They found that 28% of those who had lost all their teeth to gum disease also had heart problems, compared with 7% of those who kept all their teeth.

The researchers found that people with some missing teeth were more likely to develop heart disease, even when accounting for factors such as age, weight, race, tobacco and alcohol use, and dental visits.

“Our results support that there is a relationship between dental health and cardiovascular health,” said lead author Dr. Hamad Mohammed Qabha. He’s chief medical and surgical intern at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The findings were scheduled to be presented Thursday at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The study only revealed an association rather than a cause-and-effect link.

“If a person’s teeth fall out, there may be other underlying health concerns,” Qabha said in a meeting news release. “Clinicians should be recommending that people in this age group receive adequate oral health care to prevent the diseases that lead to tooth loss in the first place and as potentially another way of reducing risk of future cardiovascular disease.”

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more about steps to prevent heart disease, visit the American Heart Association.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Vets With Traumatic Brain Injury Have Higher Suicide Risk: Study

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11, 2019 — The risk of suicide among U.S. military veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is more than double that of other vets, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed records of more than 1.4 million vets who received care from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) between 2005 and 2015.

They compared severity of the traumatic brain injury with diagnoses of psychiatric and other medical conditions, along with method of death in suicide cases.

After adjusting for depression and other mental health diagnoses, the researchers found that veterans with moderate or severe TBI were 2.45 times more likely to die by suicide than those without TBI. The study only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link, however.

During the study period, the suicide rate was 86 per 100,000 person years for those with TBI and 37 per 100,000 person years for others. A person year is a formula that accounts for the number of people in a study and how long they were followed.

Of vets studied who died by suicide, 68% used guns. The rate was 78% among vets with moderate or severe TBI, according to the University of Colorado-led study.

“Together, these findings underscore the importance of understanding veterans’ lifetime history of TBI to prevent future deaths by suicide, and support the implementation of screening initiatives for lifetime history of TBI among all individuals utilizing the VHA,” the authors said in a university news release.

Lisa Brenner, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, led the study.

Her team said the findings also show the need for more research regarding gun safety among those with moderate to severe TBI.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on traumatic brain injury.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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Vegetarians May Face Higher Stroke Risk

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Vegetarianism is all the rage these days, but a new study suggests that slicing meat from your diet might raise your risk of stroke slightly.

While vegetarians had a 22% lower risk for heart disease, they had a 20% higher risk for stroke, British researchers found. Meanwhile, people who ate fish but no other meats (pescatarians) had a 13% lower risk of heart disease, with no increased stroke risk.

“The lower risk of heart disease is likely at least partly due to lower weight, lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and lower rates of diabetes linked to pescatarian or vegetarian diets,” said lead researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford.

Tong cautioned that this study can’t prove that not eating meat reduces the risk for heart disease or increases the risk for stroke, only that there seems to be a connection.

And the absolute reduction in the risk for heart disease and increased risk for stroke is modest, she said.

“When translated into absolute numbers, this was equivalent to 10 fewer cases of heart disease in the vegetarians than the meat eaters in every 1,000 people eating these diets over 10 years,” Tong said.

As for stroke, three more strokes would be seen among vegetarians compared with meat eaters over the same time, she said.

Why?

Recent evidence suggests that very low cholesterol levels might be linked to a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, Tong noted. Vegetarians and vegans might also have low levels of some nutrients, such as vitamin B12, which is only naturally available from animal foods, she added.

“Some research has suggested there may be a link between B12 deficiency and higher stroke risk, but the evidence is not conclusive,” Tong said.

Tong also said that only heart disease and stroke were studied, but other chronic conditions need to be looked at to show the total benefit of a vegetarian diet.

The report was published Sept. 4 in the BMJ journal.

Continued

Mark Lawrence, a professor of public health nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, said that dietary guidelines have the best advice for vegetarians as well as for fish and meat eaters.

That’s because they consider dietary associations with multiple health outcomes — not just heart disease and stroke, said Lawrence, who co-authored an accompanying journal editorial.

“Shifting towards a plant-based diet can have personal and planetary health benefits, though it does not necessarily mean becoming a vegetarian,” he said.

For the study, Tong and her colleagues collected data on more than 48,000 men and women, average age 45, with no history of stroke or heart disease.

Among the participants were more than 24,000 meat eaters, about 7,500 pescatarians and more than 16,000 vegetarians and vegans.

During the 18 years of the study, nearly 3,000 people developed heart disease and more than 1,000 suffered a stroke. About 500 of the strokes were caused by blood clots in the brain (ischemic stroke) and 300 resulted from bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

The researchers accounted for factors such as medical history, smoking, use of dietary supplements, and physical activity, which can affect the risk for heart disease and stroke.

One U.S. dietitian noted that there are benefits to vegetarian diets — as long as you include vitamins that may be lacking.

“Vegans and strict vegetarians need to be mindful of obtaining certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from their diet and supplements,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Not getting enough of these nutrients may increase the risk of certain health problems, she said.

“That said, a more plant-based approach to eating helps reduce the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes,” Heller said.

“You can’t go wrong cutting back on red and processed meats such as beef, pork and ham and adding lentils, chickpeas, tofu, broccoli, spinach or cauliflower to your meals,” Heller advised.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Tammy Tong, Ph.D., nutritional epidemiologist, Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford University, England; Mark Lawrence, Ph.D., professor, public health nutrition, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Sept. 4, 2019,BMJ

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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Pregnancy-Related Deaths Still Higher With Some Minorities

THURSDAY, Sept. 5, 2019 — Pregnancy is a far riskier undertaking for many minority women than it is for white women in the United States, a new government study shows.

The chances of dying from pregnancy complications is two to three times higher for black, American Indian and Alaska Native women than it is for white women.

“These disparities are devastating for families and communities, and we must work to eliminate them,” said lead author Dr. Emily Petersen, medical officer in the Division of Reproductive Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There is an urgent need to identify and evaluate the complex factors contributing to these disparities and to design interventions that will reduce preventable pregnancy-related deaths,” Petersen said in a CDC news release.

Her team analyzed national data from 2007-2016 and found that the overall rate of pregnancy-related deaths rose from 15 to 17 per 100,000 births during that time.

By racial/ethnic group, rates were 40.8 per 100,000 births for blacks, 29.7 for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 13.5 for Asian/Pacific Islanders, 12.7 for whites, and 11.5 for Hispanics.

The gap between blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives and other racial and ethnic groups widened with age. Among women older than 30, rates among blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives were four to five times higher than among whites.

The study also found that the rate among blacks with at least a college degree was just over five times higher than among whites with at least a college degree.

Cardiomyopathy, pulmonary embolism, and high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy were factors in more pregnancy-related deaths among blacks than among whites. Hemorrhage and high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy were factors in more pregnancy-related deaths among American Indians/Alaska Natives than among whites.

There was little change in racial/ethnic disparities between 2007 and 2016, according to the study published Sept. 6 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, according to the agency.

The CDC defines a pregnancy-related death as “the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication; a chain of events initiated by pregnancy; or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.”

A CDC report from May that analyzed data from 13 states concluded that each pregnancy-related death was associated with several contributing factors. These included lack of access to appropriate and high-quality care, missed or delayed diagnoses, and lack of knowledge among patients and health care providers about warning signs.

The data suggested that 60% or more of pregnancy-related deaths could have been prevented by correcting these issues.

“There are many complex drivers of [pregnancy-related death]. This [new study] shows the critical need to accelerate efforts and to identify the initiatives that will be most effective,” said Dr. Wanda Barfield, director of the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about pregnancy complications.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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Once Again Soda Tied to Higher Risk of Early Death

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Whether you call it soda, pop or a soft drink, a new study’s findings suggest it would be better for your health to drink water instead.

The large European study found that people who have more than two sodas a day — with or without sugar — had a higher risk of dying over about 16 years than people who sipped the fizzy beverages less than once a month.

“We found that higher soft drink intake was associated with a greater risk of death from any cause regardless of whether sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks were consumed,” said study senior author Neil Murphy. He’s a scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

“Our results for sugar-sweetened soft drinks provide further support to limit consumption and to replace them with healthier beverages, preferably water,” Murphy said.

How might sodas raise your risk of dying?

Sugar-sweetened beverages may lead to weight gain and obesity. They also may affect the way the hormone insulin is used in the body, which can lead to inflammation, Murphy noted. All of these things can lead to health conditions that may shorten life.

He said more research is needed to understand how artificially sweetened soda might increase the risk of early death.

While it found an association, the current study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between soda and a higher risk of early death. It’s possible that soda drinkers have other habits that could add to their odds, such as smoking or a less healthy diet.

This study isn’t the first to find a connection between soda and bad health outcomes. Two recent studies — one from BMJ and the other in Circulation — linked drinking soda to cancer and deaths from heart disease.

The current research included more than 451,000 people from 10 European countries. Their average age was 51. Researchers followed the participants’ health for an average of 16 years.

In addition to a higher risk of dying from all causes for those who drank more than two sodas a day, more sodas were also linked to some specific causes of death.

  • People who had more than one soda daily — sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened — compared to fewer than one a month had a higher risk of dying from colon cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
  • People who had more than one sugar-sweetened soda a day compared to fewer than one a month had a higher risk of dying from digestive diseases.
  • People who had more than artificially sweetened soda a day compared to less than one a month had a higher risk of dying from circulatory diseases like heart disease.

Continued

Murphy said researchers tried to account for factors such as body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on height and weight) and smoking, and still found an association between drinking more soda and a higher risk of dying.

Representatives of the beverage and sweetener industries urged people not to overreact to the findings.

Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners are “an important tool for weight management and those managing diabetes,” said Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council.

The council’s medical adviser, Dr. Keri Peterson, added: “The safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners has been reaffirmed time and time again by leading regulatory and governmental agencies around the world.”

William Dermody Jr., a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, offered a similar view. “Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet and the authors of this study acknowledge their research does not indicate otherwise.”

But Dr. Maria Anton, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, said excess consumption of soft drinks and other high-sugar and artificially sweetened beverages has become the norm for many people.

“These can contribute to weight gain and poor blood sugar control, worsening existing conditions like diabetes,” she pointed out.

Anton added that the findings suggest sugar is probably not the only unhealthy ingredient in soft drinks. “Patients in this study who regularly consumed sugar-free, artificially sweetened drinks were also at an increased risk of death,” she pointed out.

Registered dietitian Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Health in New York City, said many factors may contribute to the link between soda consumption and risk of death. The bottom line, she said, is that people don’t need to drink soda.

“The consumption of beverages that taste sweet is fueled by marketing and advertising. There really is no need to consume them,” Heller said, suggesting suggested water, seltzer or tea instead.

The study was published Sept. 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Neil Murphy, Ph.D., scientist, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France; William Dermody Jr., vice president, media and public affairs, American Beverage Association; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Health, New York City; Maria Anton, M.D., endocrinologist, Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, New York City; Robert Rankin, president, Calorie Control Council; Keri Peterson, M.D., medical adviser, Calorie Control Council;JAMA Internal Medicine, Sept. 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Higher Cost of New Cholesterol Drugs Putting Patients at Risk: Study

TUESDAY, July 23, 2019 — Heart attacks, strokes and other heart problems are more likely in high-risk patients denied access to cutting-edge cholesterol-busting drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors, a new study reports.

Patients are 16% more likely to have a heart-related health crisis if their PCSK9 prescription is rejected than if it is covered and filled for a year, according to researchers.

Patients who have a prescription but don’t fill it — probably because they can’t afford the copay — have a 21% greater risk of a heart-related emergency, the researchers added.

“We should be a little up in arms that we have the tools to help people, and we aren’t helping them,” said study co-author Katherine Wilemon, founder and CEO of the FH Foundation, a research and advocacy group for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, high cholesterol related to their genetics.

PCSK9 inhibitors entered the U.S. market in 2015, but remain costly compared with first-line statin therapy, researchers said. The new drugs work by boosting the liver’s ability to remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.

The drugs cost about $ 14,000 a year during the time covered by this study, 2015 to 2017, researchers said. Manufacturers last year announced price cuts to the two leading PCSK9 inhibitors — Praluent (alirocumab) and Repatha (evolocumab) — but the cost is still $ 4,500 to $ 8,000 a year.

For this study, researchers reviewed medical records and pharmacy claims of about 139,000 high-risk adults after PCSK9 inhibitors became available in 2015. On average, patients were tracked for about a year after their prescription date.

Patients were considered at high risk if they had familial hypercholesterolemia or had suffered heart problems related to clogged arteries.

“This group was at extremely high risk in total,” said lead researcher Kelly Myers, chief technology officer for the FH Foundation. “The annual rate of cardiovascular events in this group was about 3.5%. The annual rate for the entire adult U.S. population is less than half a percent.”

The researchers specifically looked at access to the new cholesterol drugs, and whether it influenced patients’ risk for heart-related health events such as heart attacks, unstable angina, angioplasty, coronary bypass surgery, cardiac arrest, and heart disease or stroke caused by congested arteries.

Insurance companies rejected about two-thirds of PCSK9 prescriptions among high-risk patients, researchers found.

Even after the 2018 price cuts, rejection rates have remained high, Myers said.

“We haven’t seen a lot of evidence in the data that there’s been a compelling change yet,” he said. “There’s general improvement, but over 50% of individuals in a lot of plans are still being rejected therapy.”

In addition, about 15% of people with an approved prescription didn’t have it filled, probably because they couldn’t afford it, Myers added.

Two-thirds of patients who didn’t fill their PCSK9 inhibitor prescription are on Medicare, which doesn’t allow for copay assistance, Myers said. Their average copay for the drugs is $ 200 a month, compared to $ 100 month for people with private prescription insurance.

“They’re probably abandoning their therapy because of extremely high copay costs,” Myers said.

Lack of access to these drugs had an immediate impact on their risk of heart attack, stroke and other heart problems, researchers found.

“People whose cholesterol-lowering drug prescriptions are rejected or abandoned are more likely to have heart events than those whose prescriptions are covered,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chairman of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and a American Heart Association (AHA) spokesman.

The researchers also found that a prescription was more likely to be rejected if a patient is female, black or Hispanic.

“The study clearly shows how disparities in access to PCSK9 inhibitor prescriptions affect cardiovascular outcomes and the need to improve health equity,” Lloyd-Jones added. “So as we continue to make inroads to prevent and treat heart disease — the world’s leading killer — we must capitalize on data from this study and others that quantify ways we can make a difference.”

The AHA changed its cholesterol guidelines in 2018 to promote the use of PCSK9 inhibitors among high-risk people who are already taking the largest dose of statins they can tolerate.

The findings were published July 23 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

More information

The FH Foundation has more about insurance coverage for cholesterol drugs.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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Sugary Sodas, Juices Tied to Higher Cancer Risk

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — It’s long been known that sugary drinks help people pack on unwanted pounds. But new research suggests that sweetened sodas, sports drinks and even 100% fruit juice might raise your risk for some cancers.

The study couldn’t prove cause and effect, but it found that drinking as little as 3 to 4 ounces of sugary drinks each day was tied to an 18% rise in overall risk for cancer.

Among women, a similar consumption level was tied to a 22% rise in breast cancer risk, the French research team found.

A spokesperson for the American Cancer Society (ACS) said the findings should give consumers pause, because obesity is a known risk factor for cancer.

“A lot of the research on sugar-sweetened drinks and cancer has been tied to obesity,” noted Colleen Doyle, managing director of nutrition and physical activity at the ACS. “Across the board, it’s a good idea to reduce any sugar-sweetened beverage,” she advised.

The new study was led by Mathilde Touvier, research director of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Paris. Her team collected data on more than 100,000 French men and women, average age 42, who took part in a national study.

The participants answered questions about how much of 3,300 different foods and beverages they consumed each day, and were followed for up to nine years (from 2009 to 2018).

The study uncovered links between the consumption of sugary drinks and the risk of cancer in general, and for breast cancer specifically. The investigators found no association between sugary drinks and prostate or colon cancers, but the authors stressed that too few people in the study developed these cancers to make this finding definitive.

The research uncovered no links between diet sodas and other artificially sweetened beverages and cancer, although more study is needed to confirm that, the authors noted.

The connection between sugary drinks and cancer remained the same even after the team adjusted for age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking and physical activity, the researchers said.

Continued

So, why the connection? According to Touvier’s team, high-calorie drinks may raise cancer risk because sugar helps build body fat, in addition to raising blood sugar levels and inflammation — all of which are risk factors for cancer.

It’s also possible that chemicals found in these drinks might play a part in increasing cancer risk, the researchers theorized.

A group representing the beverage industry said sugary drinks can still be a part of the average diet, however.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association said: “It’s important for people to know that all beverages — either with sugar or without — are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. America’s leading beverage companies are working together to support consumers’ efforts to reduce the sugar they consume from our beverages by providing more choices with less sugar or zero sugar, smaller package sizes and clear calorie information right up front.”

Samantha Heller is a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. She said she wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“Do we really need more evidence that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages regularly is not healthy?” Heller said. She noted that, for decades, these drinks have been linked with diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

On the other hand, “most of us should be drinking more water than we do,” Heller said. “Being poorly hydrated can affect us in surprising ways. It can impair our driving skills, cognitive abilities, mood, energy levels, kidneys, gastrointestinal function, appearance and more.”

Study author Touvier agreed.

“The only beverage that is recommended is water,” she said. And Touvier supports public efforts to get people away from the soda-and-juices habit.

Her team’s findings support “existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drinks consumption, including 100% fruit juices, as well as policy actions such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks,” Touvier said.

And water doesn’t have to be boring, Heller added.

“Play around with infusing water with mint, basil, cucumber, or strawberry and lemon slices. Fill a pitcher with water and pop in your favorite herbal teas like berry, vanilla or peppermint, and chill in the refrigerator,” she suggested.

The new report was published online July 10 in the BMJ.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Mathilde Touvier, Ph.D., research director, nutritional epidemiology, University of Paris, France; Colleen Doyle, M.S., R.D., managing director, nutrition and physical activity, American Cancer Society; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; July 10, 2019,BMJ, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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Heavy Teen Boys May Face Higher Heart Disease Risk as Adults

MONDAY, May 20, 2019 — Just a few extra pounds during adolescence may translate into higher odds for heart disease in adulthood, a new study of young men suggests.

It included about 1.7 million Swedish men who began military service at ages 18 or 19 between 1969 and 2005. They were followed for up to 46 years.

During the follow-up, nearly 4,500 were diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, an uncommon heart muscle condition that can lead to heart failure. Average age at diagnosis was 45.5 years.

Men who were lean as teens (body mass index, or BMI, below 20) had a low risk of cardiomyopathy. But risk steadily rose with increased weight, even among men who were on the high end of normal BMI (22.5 to 25) as teens.

BMI is an estimate of body fat based on weight and height. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese: For example, a 5-foot-10-inch man who weighs 209 pounds has a BMI of 30.

There are several types of cardiomyopathy. In dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle becomes weak and can’t pump blood efficiently. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it becomes stiff and the heart can’t fill with blood properly.

Men who had a BMI of 35 and over in their teens (someone 5-foot-10 who weighs 245 or more) were eight times more likely to develop dilated cardiomyopathy than those who were lean in their teens. Researchers weren’t able to estimate the increased risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy because there were too few cases.

The study was published May 20 in the journal Circulation.

The findings likely apply to men worldwide, including those in the United States, study co-author Dr. Annika Rosengren said in a journal news release. She is a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

More study would be needed to learn if there are racial or ethnic differences in how weight affects cardiomyopathy risk, Rosengren said. The study only showed an association rather than a cause-and-effect link.

It’s also unclear if the findings apply to women, Rosengren said.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on cardiomyopathy.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019

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AHA News: Transgender Men and Women May Have Higher Heart Attack Risk

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 (American Heart Association News) — A new study indicates transgender men and women have a higher risk of heart attack — more than four times in some instances — than people who identify as the gender with which they were born.

The findings are being presented Friday at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions in Arlington, Virginia. The George Washington University-led study also appears in the AHA journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“This has not been a topic that has been discussed a lot in the past,” said Dr. Tran Nguyen, one of the study’s principal authors.

“But previous studies have shown that the transgender population has been more prone to more cardiovascular risk factors, such as poverty, smoking … and depression,” said Nguyen, an internal medicine resident at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. “What surprised us was that the rate of heart attacks would be that much higher.”

A 2016 analysis by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated about 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender.

The researchers analyzed data spanning 2014-2017 from a nationwide health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the questions were whether respondents had ever had a heart attack and whether they classified themselves as transgender.

Even after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes and lack of exercise, transgender men (who were born biologically female but now identify as male) had more than four times the rate of heart attack as cisgender women (who were born biologically female and identify as female) — 7.2 percent compared with 3.1 percent. Transgender men also had more than twice the rate of heart attack as cisgender men (who were born biologically male and identify as male).

Transgender women (who were born biologically male and identify as female) had more than twice the rate of heart attack as cisgender women. There was no significant difference in heart attack rates for transgender women and cisgender men.

“We need more research about causation,” Tran said. “But I hope this will bring awareness to both the health care providers and the transgender population.”

Dr. Paul Chan, a cardiologist and professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, agreed. But he deemed the study preliminary, for many reasons.

“It begins the conversation and that’s the important thing,” said Chan, who was not involved in the study. “But it’s an observational study, and that is very limited.”

For example, Chan said, the survey did not ask how long the subject had identified as transgender, whether the heart attack occurred before or after changing gender identification, and whether the subjects had undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Most importantly, he said, the survey did not include data about hormone therapy — testosterone for transgender men and estrogen for transgender women — which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

In addition, “The majority of population reporting as transgender are younger, so the true risk of heart attack may not be known for years,” Chan said.

“We need large cohort studies to follow up,” he said, referring to research that establishes links between risk factors and health outcomes. “And we need to think about how we design gender questions, not just perpetuate the issue as binary because we only give two options. That will give us a lot more data about risks and benefits.”

In the meantime, Nguyen said, transgender patients and their doctors need to be especially vigilant in controlling other risk factors for heart disease.

“They need to have open conversations about this,” she said, “so we can decrease the risk in this population.”

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

AHA News: Overweight Kids at Higher Risk for Blood Clots as Adults

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (American Heart Association News) — Overweight children may be more likely than normal-weight children to develop life-threatening blood clots as adults, a new Danish study suggests. The good news is, getting to a healthy weight by age 13 eliminated the extra risk.

For the study, published Friday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the research team used medical exam records to calculate the annual body mass index of more than 300,000 Danish children ages 7 to 13 born between 1930 and 1989. They then used Denmark’s Civil Registration System to study the same children’s health records as adults.

Researchers focused specifically on adult risk for venous thromboembolism, a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg. If one of these clots travels through the body into the lungs, it can block blood flow and cause a pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.

The study is the first to investigate what role childhood obesity might play in the risk for venous thromboembolism as an adult, said the study’s lead author Dr. Jens Sundboll, an epidemiologist at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

“Because more children are becoming heavier at progressively younger ages,” he said, “our results merit focus on helping children to attain and maintain appropriate weight to prevent cardiovascular disease in adulthood.”

The study showed that children with the highest BMI had a 30 to 50 percent increased risk of developing a blood clot as an adult.

Yet, Sundboll cautioned, the findings don’t necessarily mean childhood obesity was directly responsible for the blood clots. Rather, he said, “being overweight in childhood may correlate with overweight in adulthood, reflecting a lifelong sedentary lifestyle” that influences risk. It’s a connection the researchers couldn’t explore because they didn’t have access to the children’s weight as adults.

There also are genetic factors that could play a role in increasing the risk for blood clots, Sundboll added.

The study also found that overweight children who got to a healthy weight by age 13 had the same risk for VTE as children who had never been overweight. This suggests helping overweight kids lose weight could be beneficial to them as adults.

Dr. Mary Cushman, a hematologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington who was not involved with the study, said the findings underscore the need to teach parents and children about the importance of a healthy diet, physical activity and the long-term effects of childhood obesity.

“The behavioral factors that explain excessive weight and weight gain in children are carried forward as adult behaviors,” she said.

Obesity in adults and children is an international problem.

Studies show about 38 percent of the global adult population is obese. In high-income countries, 20 percent of children ages 5 to 19 are overweight. In the U.S., an estimated 13.7 million children and adolescents are obese.

VTE is the third most common vascular diagnosis after heart attack and stroke. According to the latest statistics from the American Heart Association, about 676,000 people were treated for a deep vein blood clot and about 340,000 were treated for a pulmonary embolism in 2014.

In general, the risk for VTE is higher in adults who are older, overweight or obese. About half of episodes occur in relation to surgery, hospital stays, cancer, immobilization or pregnancy. Treatment typically includes use of a blood-thinning medication to reduce the risk of more clots.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: March 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Low-Carb Diets Linked to Higher Odds for A-Fib