Heart Disease is All in the Family
(September 11, 2007) Do you have a close family member with heart disease? Then you might be at a higher risk yourself.
In Britain, researchers came to the conclusion after reviewing previous studies on heart disease and how it runs in families. One study revealed 48 percent of all heart disease events and 72 percent of all premature deaths from heart disease occurred in 14 percent of families with a history of heart disease.
According to study authors, these findings could help in developing better preventive services to people with a family history of the condition and could markedly improve treatment and survival for heart conditions.
The authors recommend screening “first-degree” relatives of people with heart disease -- mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters -- but such screening rarely takes place in clinical practice. In one study conducted at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Md., among 859 siblings of 490 heart disease patients, siblings actually had a lower awareness of high blood pressure -- a key risk factor for heart disease -- and how to treat it than members of the general population. In another U.S. study involving more than 5,000 heart disease patients, less than 1 percent had discharge plans calling for family members to be screened, and only 20 percent had family members screened within six months of the patient's initial hospital stay.
"First degree relatives are an obvious, but neglected, group at which primary prevention should be targeted," conclude the study authors.
(Adapted from Ivanhoe Newswire)
Bios Life Study Produces a Decreased Risk for Cardiovascular Disease in African Americans
(August 16, 2007) As a first line defense against heart disease, 85 members of the Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Roswell, Georgia participated in a three-month health project this spring to naturally optimize their cholesterol levels using Bios Life. The project was endorsed by Dr. William Cooper, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services of Wellstar-Kennestone Hospital.
Each of the study participants added Bios Life to their diet, twice daily, for the 12-week duration of the health project. At the end of three months, participants that were at higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) successfully lowered their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by an average of 19% and triglyceride levels by an average of 41%.
Participants further reduced their risk for heart disease by increasing their HDL (good cholesterol) levels by an average of 32%. Using risk calculations obtained from the Framingham Heart Study, participants in this study effectively decreased their 10 year risk of CVD by 36%.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans living in the southern region of the U.S. are at greatest risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the country.
The foremost risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. The latest insights in lipid management, however, indicate that low HDL (good cholesterol) may be even more important in predicting CVD risk. The CDC Division of Heart Disease and Stroke prevention recommends controlling cholesterol as the most effective way to decrease risk for heart disease.
Conventional intervention focuses on lipid lowering medication, such as statins. These drugs are effective in lowering LDL, but have limited success for increasing HDL. Moreover, they have been linked to side-effects, such as liver and muscle problems. For many people, these side effects are a reason to look for safe clinically proven natural alternatives.
Bios Life provides a natural, side effect-free option for individuals who are at risk for heart disease and who are unable or unwilling to use statin medications for cholesterol control. Bios Life combines viscous soluble fiber, policosanol and phytosterols to safely optimize cholesterol by minimizing cholesterol absorption in the intestinal tract, regulating cholesterol created by the liver and enhancing enzymatic breakdown of cholesterol in the body.
New Study Renews Concerns of Cancer Risk with Statin Drugs
(August 8, 2007) U.S. researchers reported renewed concerns that patients who took statin drugs to lower their cholesterol had a slightly higher risk of cancer. Statin drugs can also damage the liver and muscles.
The researchers found one extra case of cancer per 1,000 patients with the lowest levels of LDL -- low density lipoprotein or so-called bad cholesterol -- when compared to patients with higher LDL levels.
Dr. Richard Karas of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and colleagues did not look directly at patients for their study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
They did what is known as a meta-analysis, looking at the records of 41,173 patients in 23 different trials of statins.
"The demonstrated benefits of statins in lowering the risk of heart disease remain clear; however, certain aspects of lowering LDL with statins remain controversial and merit further research," Karas said in a statement.
Karas and colleagues examined the records of patients treated with popular statins, including Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor and Merck & Co. Inc.'s Zocor, now off patent.
Dr. Peter Verdegem, Chief Scientist of Unicity International stated, “It has been widely known and accepted that statin therapy to lower cholesterol has serious side effects, such as muscle problems, liver damage and rhabdomyolisis. Also, it has been suspected that high statin therapy may be related to certain forms of cancer.”
The meta-analysis strengthens the arguments for this assumption.
Statin drugs contain non-natural chemical components that disrupt biological mechanisms in our body. Since our body is a complex system such disruptions may result in imbalances causing the side effects.
“Bios Life contains a blend of nutrients that are a natural part of our diet, therefore, Bios Life does not have the side effects associated with statin drugs. In stead it brings cholesterol levels to a healthy balance by providing our body with nutrients that are lacking from our food. Our body knows how to get cholesterol at healthy levels, provided we give it what it needs with Bios Life,” observed Dr. Verdegem.
(Adapted from Reuters)
Pollution and High Cholesterol are Deadly Cocktail
(July 26, 2007) Although diet, smoking and other factors contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in the Western world — scientists have long believed that air pollution, particularly tiny pieces of soot from trucks and factories, plays a major role, too.
For years, scientists around the world have reported that on days when fine-particle pollution increases, deaths from lung diseases, heart attacks and strokes rise substantially. Riverside County and the San Gabriel Valley have among the worst fine-particle pollution in the nation.
New research done by UCLA scientist suggests that people with high cholesterol are especially vulnerable to heart disease when they are exposed to diesel exhaust and other ultra-fine particles that are common pollutants in urban air.
Microscopic particles in diesel exhaust combine with cholesterol to activate genes that trigger hardening of the arteries.
"Their combination creates a dangerous synergy that wreaks cardiovascular havoc far beyond what's caused by the diesel or cholesterol alone," said Dr. André Nel, chief of nanomedicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a researcher at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute.
The scientists say their study, conducted on human cells as well as on mice, is the first to explain how particulates in the air activate genes that can cause heart attacks or strokes.
The researchers exposed human blood cells to a combination of diesel particles and oxidized fats, then extracted their DNA. Working together, the particles and fats switched on genes that cause inflammation of blood vessels, which leads to clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis.
The scientists reported that diesel particles may enter the body's circulatory system from the lungs, and then react with fats in the arteries to alter how genes are activated, triggering inflammation that causes heart disease.
Other research has shown similar inflammatory damage in lungs exposed to fine particles. Diesel exhaust has also been linked to lung cancer, asthma attacks and DNA damage.
(Article Adapted from Los Angeles Times)
Hispanic Population at Increased Risk of Heart Disease
(July 15, 2007) Evelyn Rodriguez is lucky. The woman, who grew up in Paterson but whose family is from Costa Rica, works in the mailroom at St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital, so she saw posters encouraging her to get screened for heart disease. When she did, she found out she needed to improve her cholesterol and exercise more. "I had no idea," she says.
Many Hispanic women are not so fortunate. Fewer than a third know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, according to one study from researchers at Columbia University published in the Journal of Women's Health earlier this year. New studies also show that the risk for Hispanics, once considered surprisingly low, is greater than previously thought and among the highest of all ethnic groups.
The dangerous combination of high risk and lack of knowledge about health has doctors and public health experts worried.
"We thought it was other groups at risk, and now we've got to pay attention to the Hispanic population," says Carolyn Strimike, a nurse practitioner at The Women's Heart Center at St. Joseph's. "This is brand new for us."
Several studies published in the past few years have overturned the conventional wisdom that Hispanics are at lower risk for heart disease. One study, presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting last spring, showed that Hispanic women tend to develop the risks, including problems with blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes, earlier than white women. The study concluded that Hispanic women, on average, have the same severity of risk as white women 10 years their senior.
Another study, of more than 2,000 patients in San Antonio who were followed by researchers for 15 years, showed that Mexican-Americans were more likely to die of heart disease than whites. The study theorized that miscounting, rather than a healthier population, accounted for the erroneous assumption of better health.
Though no one is quite sure why Hispanics develop heart disease risks earlier, experts have attributed it to a starch-filled diet, relative lack of exercise and attitude that heart disease cannot be prevented. "The Latino-Hispanic community is more likely than the non-Hispanic white population to believe that disease is a normal and unavoidable part of life," conclude researchers in an article in the medical journal Endocrine Practice.
(Article adapted from Herald News)