Sunday, January 31, 2016

Would Secondhand Smoke Raise Atrial Fibrillation Risk?

Smoking is bad for the health as it is linked to development of many chronic diseases including lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Secondhand smoke, also known as passive smoking, is equally bad for the body. Every year, it causes about 34,000 deaths from heart disease and 7,300 deaths from lung cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

On September 1, 2015, researchers from the University of California published a paper online in the journal ‘HeartRhythm’ indicating that people exposed to secondhand smoke in the womb or as children are at a higher risk later in life for atrial fibrillation.

Being an irregular heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation has been shown by previous studies to be linked to smoking, but the association with secondhand smoke exposure was unclear. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart's upper and lower chambers to stop working together. The condition is one of the most common causes of stroke, and can cause chest pain and heart failure, too. It affects millions of Americans and it nearly doubles mortality.

The researchers used data from 4,976 people participating in an Internet-based study on heart health to analyze their exposure to secondhand smoke to see if they had atrial fibrillation. 11.9 percent of participants reported having atrial fibrillation.

After accounting for factors that might have affected the participants’ risks for atrial fibrillation, including age, sex, race, other health conditions, and smoking and alcohol use, they found that adults had 37 percent higher chances of atrial fibrillation if either of their parents smoked while the mother was pregnant. The adults had 40 percent higher risks if they lived with a smoker as a child. The risk was even higher among people who did not have other risk factors for atrial fibrillation.

Results of the findings surprised many health, particularly because the risk starts rising even as the baby is developing in the mother's womb. It seems likely that toxins in tobacco smoke could have a direct impact on development of the heart's electrical system.

Parents’ should really think twice of the consequence of the profound effect of their smoking. As such, smokers are encouraged to talk to their doctor about therapies available to help them quit if they plan to have children.

While quitting smoking is never easy, it can still be done. Smokers absolutely must find a way to quit if they want to give their children the best possible chance at a healthy childhood as well as a healthy adulthood.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - How Text Message Could Help Prevent Heart Disease?

If people can quit smoking, get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, their risk of getting heart disease and stroke would be lower. But the challenge is how to persuade people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease to adopt a healthy lifestyle. According to an Australian study... Click the following link for more information:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

How Well People Recognize And Respond To A Stroke?

Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age or sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is the 5th leading cause of death and a major cause of disability for adults in the United States. About 800,000 Americans have a stroke and 130,000 of them die. For those who survived, more than two-third will have some kinds of disability.

Prevention of a needless death or permanent disability is possible if stroke symptoms can quickly be recognized. If a stroke victim can get to hospital within 3 hours of the first symptoms, doctors can infuse drugs to break up blood clots (most common cause of stroke). Stroke patients getting the treatment in time are more likely to make a full recovery and have less chance to have lasting disability.

But a new study reported that this type of acute treatment is underused, mainly because stroke victims often delay calling an ambulance. Their paper was published online September 29, 2015 in the journal ‘Stroke’.

Researchers from the University of Stirling and other institutions conducted telephone surveys of 2,500 people in Ingham County, Michigan, in the Midwestern U.S. and 2,500 people in Newcastle upon Tyne in northeastern England. Overall response rate was 27.4 percent, and the mean age of participants was 55 years with 58 percent were female.

The participants were provided with potential stroke scenarios and asked how they would respond. 70 percent of the people in the United States could recognize whether a person was having a stroke, compared to 63 percent of people in the United Kingdom. When people were asked how likely they were to call emergency services in response to a stroke, about 55 percent of Americans and 52 percent of the English said they would call an ambulance.

A quick way to know the signs of stroke is to remember FAST, which stands for Face-Arms-Speech-Time. In general, stroke victims might have Facial drooping or feel numb on one side, might be unable to lift up both Arms, might have slurred or garbled Speech and no Time should be wasted to call emergency services to send someone who shows any of the symptoms mentioned, even if the symptoms go away. Other likely stroke symptoms can include numbness or weakness on one side of the body, confusion, trouble seeing on one side, loss of coordination or balance, or severe headache.

For a person who is alone while having a stroke, it is more difficult for him or her to recognize some of the symptoms like changes in facial muscles or slurred speech. Moreover, the possibility of a stroke can cause one a lot of anxiety. A common response to that anxiety is denial that could lead the individuals experiencing symptoms and their loved ones to dismiss the symptoms as normal or ascribe them to something. Obviously, such acts can only delay treatment.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Heart Disease Risk Is Assessed By How One Sleeps?

According to a new study, up to one third or one fourth of the general population suffer from inadequate sleep: either insufficient duration of sleep or poor quality of sleep. Previous studies have linked inadequate sleep to an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Find out more at:

Friday, January 15, 2016

How To Eat Less To Prevent Weight Gain?

Data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese globally. Obesity is a serious health issue as it raises the risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain types of cancer.

The main reason for causing overweight and obesity is a lack of energy balance. People are just taking in more calories (foods and drinks) than their body uses. There are so many reasons that people eat more than their body need. One of them is what a study revealed: adults usually consume more food when it comes in bigger packages or is served on larger plates. 

Researchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed 58 studies that examined how the size of things such as cereal bowls and snack bags influences the number of calories people take in. A total of 6,603 participants were involved.

In the paper published September 14, 2015 in the ‘Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews’, the researchers showed that smaller containers, dishes and cutlery might simply help adults consume up to 16 percent fewer calories (equivalent of up to 279 kilo calories per day) in the United Kingdom and 29 percent less in the United States (equivalent of up to 527 kilo calories per day).

While the effect of smaller sizes for dishes and packages did not vary by gender and was similar for normal-weight, overweight and obese people, children did not appear to be affected by size when deciding how much food or drink to consume.

Most of the studies reviewed, as the researchers acknowledged, did not follow people for long periods and there was a lack of data to assess if sustained changes in container and plate sizes over time might help weight loss or maintain a healthy weight. Data was also lacked on the impact of bottle, can or glass size on alcohol consumption. Nevertheless, the results did highlight the paramount role of environmental influences on food consumption and did suggest that limiting exposure to larger serving sizes might be an effective tool to get people eat less.

Besides small serving sizes, it is also necessary to pay attention to frequency of meals that has to be high. In other words, people have to eat regularly at short intervals in order to keep the basal metabolic rate high and more importantly, to eat healthy and stay away from junk food.

Another thing to note is that, limiting serving sizes alone might not be enough to curb obesity epidemic because obesity epidemic is a result of a number of different and complex influences. Factors like inactive lifestyle, age, lack of sleep, and medicines can all cause people to gain weight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Will Women Be Less Likely To Take Post-Heart Attack Drugs?

After treatment, medications like ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and statins will usually be prescribed to heart attack survivors, both males and females, to prevent another one. However, according to a Canadian study, women seem to be less likely than men to take all the medications required after a heart attack to help prevent repeat episodes. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Would Stressful Work Lead To Higher Stroke Risk?

Based on the current fierce competition among peers and between companies, most people find their works getting more and more stressful. A group of Chinese researchers pointed out in their paper, which was published online October 14, 2015 in journal ‘Neurology’, that up to 1 to 4 jobs are high strain, and warned that people in this lines of work might just be at a higher risk of getting stroke.

Numerous past research has linked job strain to heart disease and high blood pressure. These kinds of studies usually define high-strain jobs as those with high demands and little control over decision-making using a well-established formula.

In the new study, data from 6 studies involving a total of 138,782 participants were studied and analyzed. These people were followed for 3 to 17 years. An existing system was used to classify job stress based on demands, like time pressure, mental load or coordination, and control, like the worker’s ability to decide when or how they complete tasks.

They found that people with high stress jobs involving high demand and low control, for example, waitresses and nurses, were 22 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than people with low stress jobs. The risk was 33 percent higher among women in high-strain jobs compared to those in low-strain jobs.

Risk of ischemic stroke, which is caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain, was 58 percent greater in the high strain jobs group compared to those in low-strain jobs, in both sexes. On the other hand, hemorrhagic, which is caused by a broken blood vessel in the brain, was less linked to job strain.

Previous studies of work stress and stroke had been inconsistent, according to researchers. The inconsistency in finding links between job strain and stroke risk may be caused by different methods used to evaluate work stress, different psychological responses in men and women and different social culture with the studied populations.

It seems that increasing control in high-stress jobs could relieve some strain and might just mitigate some stroke risk, though this is not tested yet. While things like telecommuting, flexible work hours, allowing decision making to not be as top heavy, allowing people to make decisions about their own jobs would be an amazing public health intervention, researchers felt that further studies are still required to confirm if interventions to reduce work stress can actually decrease the risk of stroke.

Meanwhile, many other mechanisms may be involved in the link between high-stress jobs and the risk of stroke. For instance, high-stress jobs may lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise. It is also vital for people with high-stress occupations to address these lifestyle issues.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Aggressively Reduction Of Blood Pressure Cut Heart Disease Risk?

Obviously, people with hypertension should appropriately be treated to bring the blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg, the commonly used target. But a large American government-sponsored study showed that lowering blood pressure below 140 mmHg would significantly reduce serious heart problems and cut the risk of death in adults aged 50 and above. Find out more at: