Red Meat Raises Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease Risks

A hunk of steakThose who consume large amounts of red and processed meats are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer according to the results of a new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this month. The researchers calculated that almost 10% of total deaths could be prevented if individuals reduce their red meat consumption to less than half a serving, or 42 grams, a day.


Heart Attacks Occur More Than A Decade Earlier In Smokers

Two cigarettesResearch, published online last month in The American Journal of Cardiology, has found that heart attacks occur much earlier in smokers compared to non-smokers. The study also found that female smokers were at a greater risk of smoking related heart problems than men.

The study, which involved more than 3,500 men and women who had been hospitalized for a heart attack between 1999 and 2006, found that male smokers were 9 years younger at admission than male non-smokers while female smokers were 13 years younger than their non-smoking counterparts.


Diclofenac & Other Common Painkillers Raise Heart Attack Risk By Up To 40%

A study, published earlier this week in the journal PLoS Medicine, has raised concerns about the safety of some common painkillers after finding the use of some common drugs including naproxen, ibuprofen, celecoxib, and diclofenac, raise the risk of suffering a heart attack by as much as 40%.

The research, conducted by Patricia McGettigan of the Hull York Medical School in the UK and David Henry of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Canada, involved analysing the results of 51 previous studies involving more than 2.7 million individuals, to establish the effects of painkillers on the risk of myocardial infarction.


Lower Blood Pressure Not Always Better For Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

A blood pressure monitorWhile it is well known that high blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, scientific evidence also suggests that excessively low blood pressure can be almost as harmful as high blood pressure.

A new study, presented at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in San Francisco this month, looked at how the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack varied with blood pressure in a group of 10,001 coronary heart disease patients.


High Cholesterol Levels Double Lifetime Heart Disease Risk

A study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2004 has found that high total cholesterol levels can double an individuals remaining lifetime risk of developing coronary heart disease.

The researchers used data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) to determine how total cholesterol levels influence overall heart disease risk. More than 7,000 men and women were studied of which 1,120 developed coronary heart disease during the 25 year study period.


Nine Preventable Risk Factors Are Responsible For 90% Of Heart Attacks

There are numerous lifestyle, dietary, and genetic factors believed to play a part in heart disease and it can be difficult to determine which of these factors are the most important ones. According to a report published in the journal Lancet in 2004, there are just nine risk factors that account for the overwhelming majority of heart attacks. The good news is that each of the risk factors identified is preventable.

The study, conducted by Canadian scientists, involved analyzing 262 previous studies on heart disease involving a combined 29,000 individuals from 52 countries. The researchers attempted to isolate the risk factors thought to have the greatest impact on an individuals probability of suffering a heart attack.


Which Types Of Fat Are Bad For The Heart?

Many people believe that diets high in fat will lead to a greater risk of heart disease in later life however this is not necessarily the case. Countries such as Spain, Greece, Italy, and France all have remarkably low rates of heart disease while consume a Mediterranean style diet that is relatively high in fat.

Recent scientific studies point instead to two specific types of fat, trans fats and saturated fats, which are thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Lack Of Sleep Increases Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease

Those who get less than 8 hours sleep a night are more likely to develop coronary heart disease in later life according to the results of a Canadian study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in January 2003.

The researchers looked at a group of almost 72,000 middle aged women from the United States who were initially free of heart disease.


High Glycemic Load Foods Increase Probabilty Of A Heart Attack

Diets with a high glycemic load increase the risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) by as much as 98% according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2000.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Department of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, involved 75,521 women aged between 38 and 63 who were followed over a 10 year period. The researchers looked at the impact of glycemic load and carbohydrate intake on the risk of myocardial infarction.


Underactive Thyroid Raises Heart Disease Risk In Women

Women with an under-active thyroid, a condition known as hypothyroidism, are at a greater risk of heart disease according to a recent study published in the April 28 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. The results of the study indicated that even women with low, but clinically normal thyroid function, are at an increased risk of heart disease.

The study, conducted by Norwegian researchers, involved the study of around 25,000 people from Norway who were initially free of heart disease, diabetes, and thyroid problems.


Large Waist Size Increases Cardiovascular Disease In Women

Women with a normal body mass index (BMI) but a waist size greater than 88 cm (35 inches) have three times the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than women with a waist size less than 88 cm according to a recent study published online in the journal Circulation in March of this year.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School in Boston analyzed 44,636 women who were part of of the Nurses Health Study.


Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Increased Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin pillsVitamin D deficiency may be associated with more than a two-fold increase in coronary heart disease risk according to a recent study funded by the American Heart Association.

The researchers looked at data from 1,739 offspring of the Framingham Heart Study with an average age of 59 years. The participants had their blood levels of Vitamin D recorded in 1996, as well as their blood pressures, current smoking habits, diabetes status, cholesterol levels, and physical activity levels.


Smoking Dramatically Increases The Risk Of Heart Problems

A number of cigarettesWhile most people know that cigarette smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer cancer, what many people don’t know is that most premature deaths due to smoking are actually due to coronary heart disease rather than lung cancer. It is estimated that 20% of all deaths from heart disease are attributable to cigarette smoking.

Smoking has many effects on the body that lead to increased coronary heart disease risk. First, toxic substances in cigarettes such as carbon-monoxide, nicotine, and aromatic hydrocarbons lead to inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels in the body.


Lack Of Exercise In Childhood Leads To Metabolic Syndrome

A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Northern Carolina and published in the journal Dynamic Medicine, has found that young adults with metabolic syndrome are much more likely to have had been physically inactive and had poor aerobic fitness levels as children.

The data from the study came from children aged 7-10 years who were part of the Cardiovascular Health in Children and Youth Study, a follow up of the participants was conducted 7 years later when the individuals were aged between 14 and 17 years.


Waist Size Predicts Heart Disease Risk Better Than BMI

A tape measureAccording to several recent studies, both waist size and the waist to hip ratio may be better indicators of heart disease risk than the traditional Body Mass Index (BMI).

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people aim for a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 however most Americans have a BMI well above this range.


Anger, Hostility, & Stress Lead To Heart Disease

Recent scientific evidence has shown that a person’s emotional state can have a significant effect on their likelihood of developing coronary heart disease.

Emotions such as anger, hostility, stress, and happiness all play a role in either reducing or increasing heart disease risk. Researchers believe that in individuals that have none of the traditional risk factors associated with heart disease, emotions may be responsible for as many as 50% of heart attacks.


Bald Men More Likely To Develop Heart Disease

A bald manSeveral studies have shown an association between baldness and an increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, known heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure appear to interact strongly with the presence of baldness in men, further raising the probability of heart problems.

One of these studies, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2000, involved 22,071 male doctors from the United States who were part of the Physicians Health Study. Over half the respondents reported some hair loss by the age of 45 with a third reporting some degree of hair loss on the top of the head.


B Vitamin Deficiencies Increase Homocysteine Levels & Heart Disease Risk

Vitamins in bottleHomocysteine is an amino acid that is becoming an increasingly important risk factor for coronary heart disease and strokes. Homocysteine is believed to degrade and inhibit the formation of the major components of arteries – collagen, elastin & proteoglycans which increases the rate of arterial decline leading to conditions such as atherosclerosis.

Several studies have demonstrated the link between elevated homocysteine levels and an increased risk of hospitalization and death from cardiovascular causes.