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.

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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.

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Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure, Improves Cardiovascular Health

Pieces of chocolateFoods rich in cocoa, such as chocolate, may lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease according to a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006.

The study, conducted by Dutch researchers, used data from the Zutphen study to assess whether cocoa could reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. In total, 470 elderly men aged between 65 and 84 were used in the 15 year study which began in 1985.

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Coronary Heart Disease May Up Dementia Risk In Later Life

Middle aged people who have a history of coronary heart disease perform worse on cognitive tests than healthy individuals according to a new study published on July 22 in the European Heart Journal (EHJ). The research backs up a number of recent studies that have suggests a link between dementia and cardiovascular disease.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Paul Brousse hospital in France and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in London, focused on 10,308 middle-aged participants from the Whitehall II study.

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Tall People Less Likely To Develop Coronary Heart Disease

Scientific studies suggest that taller people are at a lower risk of coronary heart disease, even after adjusting for other heart disease risk factors. Studies have found that on average a 1cm (0.4 inch) increase in height is associated with around a 2% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.

One of the largest studies on the relationship between heart disease and height was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1995.

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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.

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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.

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