Saturday, April 30, 2016

Would Arthroplasty Raise Heart Attack Risk?

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis in the United States. It affects around 13.9 percent of adults aged 25 and older, and 33.6 percent of those over 65. The disease often occurs in the joints of the hand, spine, hips, knees and great toes, and affects the entire joint.

Currently, there is no cure for OA. Noninvasive methods like weight control, physical therapy and medication can mitigate symptoms of most of the OA patients, but patients with severe cases might still need a joint replacement (arthroplasty). Past studies have found around 1.8 million arthroplasty procedures being conducted worldwide every year, the majority of which are total knee and hip replacements.

A paper published online September 23, 2015 in journal ‘Arthritis & Rheumatology’ pointed out that operations to replace a knee or a hip appear to raise heart attack risk in the short term and the risk of blood clots in the long term. Over time, the heart attack risk falls again though blood clot risk is still elevated years later.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine studied about 40,000 patients age 50 or older, all with osteoarthritis. 13,849 patients who underwent total knee replacement were compared to 13,849 closely matched people who did not have surgery. Meanwhile, 6,063 patients who had hip replacement surgery were also compared to 6,000 who did not.

Within a month after the operations, there were 35 heart attacks among knee replacement patients, compared to 4 in the control group, and there were 13 heart attacks in the hip replacement group compared to 2 in the control group. Heart attack risk was highest in the first month following surgery and declined over time. The heart attack rates had evened out for both the surgery and control groups 3 years after the operation.

Meanwhile, there were 190 patients with knee replacement and 78 patients with hip surgery developed a type of blood clot called venous thromboembolism, compared to only 3 and 1 in the control group. 5 years later, the likelihood of having a venous thromboembolism were still significantly higher in the surgery groups.

Though exact reasons for higher risk of heart attack are still unclear, the researchers suspected that some biological drivers might play a role, like the effects of anesthesia on the cardiovascular system. Changes in medication for OA patients during the surgical period may also contribute to higher heart attack risk. 

Obviously, the risk of heart attack following arthroplasty might have previously been underestimated. As such, further measures to prevent such serious event might need to be considered.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Long Hours Of TV Viewing Cause Heart Disease?

Research has linked sedentary behavior to incident cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular death. But different sedentary behaviors might have different effects. Several studies had found that the association between health and TV viewing time was stronger than other kinds of sedentary behaviours. Click for more details:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Would People Perceive Themselves Overweight Help Them Lose Weight?

Mounting evidence has linked obesity and overweight to development of chronic diseases including hypertension, high blood cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and Type-2 diabetes. Obviously, overweight or obese people should lose weight to stay healthy.

In the past, it was assumed that if people could correctly identify themselves as being overweight, they would have a greater motivation to change their diet or level of exercise so that successful weight management could be achieved.

However, a study conducted by researchers from University of Liverpool in England revealed that people who perceived themselves to be overweight were at a greater risk of weight gain, irrespective of whether their perceptions were correct. Meanwhile, these people were also more likely to overeat in response to stress. Their findings were published online August 7, 2015 in the ‘International Journal of Obesity’.

By analyzing data from United States National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the United Kingdom’s National Child Development Study, and the Midlife in the United States Study, the researchers found that perceiving oneself as being overweight is associated with a higher risk of future weight gain among United States and United Kingdom adults.

The findings were important since one public health strategy is to ensure people who are overweight are aware of it. But unfortunately, people who believe they are overweight may actually delay their weight loss efforts, according to some clinical psychologists. Many of these people might decide they should begin a diet tomorrow and meanwhile finish the cookies first.

While common belief indicates that people should have strong motivation to lose weight if they really want to do so, many of them feel quite stressful and have difficulty in making healthy choices in their lifestyle. They may just fall into the trap of negative stigmas like inactivity, overeating and depression. Instead of taking the stress, they simply ignore it and just use eating to make them feel better. But once they have finished eating, the stressful feeling is back, and the weight problem has not solved yet.

Some health experts argued that the more a person focuses on weight, rather than health, the more difficult for this person to manage and lose weight and control eating. If people who want to lose weight can let go of the obsessiveness with their weight and instead, relax and focus on health, they can not only lose weight, but also manage their weight relatively mindlessly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Counting Calories Help Prevent Heart Disease?

Modern lifestyles such as sedentary and unhealthy diet have been accused to be the culprit to cause such epidemic. Losing as little as 3-5 percent of the body weight can reduce the heart disease risk, according to the American Heart Association. Obviously, losing weight is the only option for people who wish to prevent from getting these diseases. Find out more at:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

About Half Of American Adults Had Undiagnosed Diabetes!

Globally, according to WHO (World Health Organization), about 1 in 9 adults has diagnosed diabetes, which will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. Most of these people have Type-2 diabetes, a condition in which the body cannot properly use or create sufficient amount of hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy. Diabetes can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke and if left untreated, it can cause complications like nerve damage, amputations, kidney failure and blindness.

Diabetes is a major cause of death in the United States. A study conducted by researchers from Social & Scientific Systems Inc, Silver Spring and other institutions revealed that about half of American adults have either diabetes (more than 12 percent) or prediabetes (38 percent), and more than a third of the people with diabetes are unaware of their condition. The study was published in the September 8’s issue of the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association’.

After analyzing information from 216,415 American adults who took part in surveys between 1988 and 2012, the researchers reported that the percentage of people with diabetes increased from less than 10 percent in the 1988-1994 period, to more than 12 percent in 2011-2012. The rise was in line with the rise of obesity.

It was also found that diabetes was the most common among older adults: about 1 in 3 adults age 65 and above had the condition in 2011-2012, compared to 17 percent of adults age between 45 and 64, and 5 percent of adults younger than 45. About one-third of whites with diabetes (32 percent) were not aware of the condition, compared to 37 percent of blacks, 49 percent of Hispanics and 51 percent of Asian Americans.

One reason for the high percentage of undiagnosed diabetes among Asian Americans may be that they often develop Type-2 diabetes at a lower BMI (body mass index) than people of other ethnic groups. As such, the doctors may not screen Asian Americans for diabetes when they could be at risk for the disease.

Such findings would certainly lead to a greater need for testing Type-2 diabetes and a need for more education on when to test for the condition.  The researchers hope that future studies could provide more information about which subgroups of people are at highest risk for underdiagnoses.

The average blood sugar levels over the course of several months can be estimated by measuring changes to the hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells. The hemoglobin A1c test measures the percentage of hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen) that is coated with sugar. A reading of 6.5 percent or above would signal diabetes. People with A1c levels between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent is said to have pre-diabetes, a risk factor for going on to develop full-blown diabetes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Total Cholesterol Reading May Be Misleading?

Total blood cholesterol is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in the blood that includes both LDL and HDL cholesterol. Even if the total cholesterol is in the desirable category, it is possible that one may have unhealthy levels of HDL (too low) and LDL (too high). So it is also important to look at the individual HDL and LDL numbers, as well as the ratio. Find out more at:

Friday, April 08, 2016

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Diabetes?

Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that occurs when an obstruction prevents air from entering the lungs. It happens during sleep when the airway closes and people stop breathing completely. Often breathing resumes abruptly with a loud snort or choking sound. This can simply happen many times a night, sometimes it could occur up to 30 times per hour.

The disorder has been linked to daytime sleepiness and increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes and even death. According to a recent study, seniors with such disorder often have high blood sugar and might be almost twice as likely as sound sleepers to develop Type-2 diabetes. The findings were published online September 17, 2015 in the journal ‘Diabetes Care’.

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and other institutions analyzed data from 5,888 American adults aged 65 and above from across the United States between 1989 and 1993. Participants’ level of insulin was measured early in the study, and their fasting blood sugar levels were measured again in 1992–1993, 1994–1995, 1996–1997, and 1998–1999. Researchers also took note of who developed Type-2 diabetes during the course of the study.

Every 6 months through 1999, the participants were asked whether anyone had observed them having episodes of sleep apnea, whether a spouse or roommate had complained about their loud snoring and if they were usually sleepy in the daytime. The researchers also asked about insomnia symptoms like difficulty in falling asleep, frequent awakening at night or waking up too early and being unable to go back to sleep.

Older adults who reported snoring, sleep apnea or daytime sleepiness tended to have higher fasting blood sugar levels than normal sleepers. They also had insulin resistance, which means higher than normal amounts of insulin are produced but the bodies were less able to use it to control the blood sugar levels.

People with sleep apnea were nearly twice as likely as normal sleepers to develop diabetes, and snorers were 27 percent more likely. Those with daytime sleepiness were also about 50 percent more likely than those without that symptom to develop diabetes. The more disturbed-breathing symptoms people had during sleep, the greater their diabetes risk. But insomnia symptoms were not consistently linked to the risk of diabetes.

However, improving sleep quality may reduce the risk of developing diabetes in older adults or the severity of diabetes in those who are already affected. Getting good sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise to remain healthy during aging process. Monitoring blood sugar levels in older adults with sleep disorders may help identify those who are potentially at risk to allow earlier treatment.

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Low-Nicotine Cigarettes Cut Smoking And Encourage Quitting?

Most people are aware of the health hazards that the smoking can cause and yet many smokers find it hard to quit. This is because tobacco contains nicotine, which is an addictive substance. Some scientists have been pushing for lower levels of nicotine in tobacco as early as in 1990s hoping to help smokers quit and prevent new users from becoming lifelong smokers. And for years, researchers have been testing... Click the following link for more details:

Friday, April 01, 2016

What Is Heart Age?

Have you ever heard a term called “heart age”? According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), heart age gives a simple risk calculation for having or dying of heart attack or stroke. The higher the heart age, the higher the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. It is the calculated age of a person’s cardiovascular system based on his or her risk factor profile, including high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes status, and body mass index (BMI) as an indicator for obesity.

Using risk factor data collected from every state and information from the Framingham Heart Study, the CDC researchers found that nearly 69 million American adults aged between 30 and 74 have a heart age older than their actual age.

The report that was released on September 1, 2015 is the the first to provide population-level estimates of heart age in the United States. It showed that heart age varies by race/ethnicity, gender, region, and other sociodemographic characteristics.

Overall, the average heart age for adult men is 8 years older than their chronological age, compared to 5 years older for women. Among both American men and women, excess heart age increases with age and decreases with greater education and household income. Heart age was also found to be highest among African-American men and women (average of 11 years older for both). Meanwhile, there are geographic differences in average heart age across states. 

About 3 in 4 heart attacks and strokes are due to risk factors that raise heart age. But many people do not understand their cardiovascular disease risk, and they could simply miss the early opportunities to prevent future heart attack or stroke. By knowing own heart age, people can learn how to improve it.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women. It is important to continue focusing on efforts to prevent heart disease and increase access to early and affordable detection and treatment resources.

In general, people can quit smoking or reduce blood pressure through eating a healthier diet, taking appropriate medication, or exercising more. The governments can also play a role by helping to promote healthier living spaces like tobacco-free areas, more access to healthy food options, and safe walking paths. More importantly, physicians can make use of cardiovascular risk assessment calculators to decide for their patients the type of treatments they need and work with them on healthy habits.