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Cardiovascular Disease

The following articles have the tag Cardiovascular Disease

Nine reasons why Australia needs to improve preventive health

TWO out of every three Australian adults have at least three or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, according to a new AIHW report.

Pneumonia linked to short-term CVD risk in elderly

Pneumonia linked to short-term CVD risk in elderly

OLDER patients with pneumonia are four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the month after hospitalisation than their healthy counterparts, a study shows.

Yoga improves CV health

Yoga improves CV health

YOGA has long been heralded for its benefits on overall health, relaxation, and spiritual wellbeing but now researchers say the ancient practice may be just as good for cardiovascular health as traditional aerobic exercise.

Fenofibrate just as good for women with diabetes as for men

AMONG people with type 2 diabetes, fenofibrate (Lipidil) improved the lipoprotein profile and reduced the risk of any cardiovascular event significantly more in women than in men, a new Australian study has found.

CV absolute risk underutilised

CV absolute risk underutilised

MANY GPs still resist using an absolute risk (AR) approach for assessing the risk of a cardiovascular event, opting instead to treat individual risk factors, according to Australian research.

Polypill works and patients like it: expert

A POLYPILL that improves adherence, hypertension and cholesterol in patients with, or at high risk of, cardiovascular disease, could be available within the next two years.

Screen time increases hypertension risk in kids

Screen time increases hypertension risk in kids

CHILDREN as young as eight-years-old may be at increased risk of developing hypertension if they spend too many hours in front of a screen, research suggests.

Statins to relieve bronchiectasis symptoms

Statins to relieve bronchiectasis symptoms

THE world’s most commonly prescribed statin could ease the symptoms of patients with bronchiectasis, a study has shown.

Most steroid deaths due to drug toxicity and heart disease

DRUG toxicity and extensive cardiovascular disease were the most common cause of mortality in all steroid-related deaths reported in NSW between 1996 and 2012.

Added sugar triples CV risk

Added sugar triples CV risk

CONSUMING too many sugary sweets, desserts and drinks can triple your chances of dying from heart disease.

First trimester growth CV link

First trimester growth CV link

IMPAIRED growth in the first trimester may have an impact on cardiovascular health in later life, a study has shown.

First trimester growth linked to CV risk later

First trimester growth linked to CV risk later

IMPAIRED growth in the first trimester may have an impact on cardiovascular health in later life, a study has shown.

Doubt cast over vit D supplements for disease prevention

Doubt cast over vit D supplements for disease prevention

VITAMIN D doesn’t prevent ill health but is instead a consequence of it, according to the authors of a systematic review, casting strong doubt on the value of supplements to protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Catalyst’s effect continues

THE fallout from the ABC’s Catalyst program on statins and cholesterol is continuing, with a second survey showing three-quarters of GPs had patients who wanted to stop taking statins after watching the program.

Statin use in Aus highest in first world

AUSTRALIA’S use of cholesterol-lowering drugs has tripled in the last 10 years and is the highest in the developed world.

Testosterone link to raised risk of death

OLDER men treated with testosterone run a higher risk of death, myocardial infarction and stroke, according to a study suggesting hormone therapy may need to be reconsidered.

Polypill aids CVD risk education

Polypill aids CVD risk education

GPs value the polypill as a tool to discuss absolute risk, especially for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, Australian data shows.

High LDL-C may not predict MI in CKD

High LDL-C may not predict MI in CKD

AN AUSTRALIAN expert has urged caution in interpreting research that indicates LDL cholesterol is not an accurate marker of myocardial infarction (MI) risk in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Aspirin warning in diabetes

Aspirin warning in diabetes

ASPIRIN offers no benefit for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes patients and may even increase the risk of coronary heart disease, a study shows.

‘Healthy’ but obese is a transient state

‘Healthy’ but obese is a transient state

A THIRD of young people who are obese but ‘metabolically healthy’ will transition to a metabolically unhealthy state over time, Australian data shows.

Indigenous care plans rising

INCREASING numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with chronic diseases have a GP management plan as part of their treatment, a report shows.

FH cascade screening more efficient than universal tests

CASCADE screening for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) would be more efficient and acceptable in Australia than universal screening of children, according to an expert.

Mum's weight affects vascular health of offspring

NEWBORN babies born to women with high BMI have aortic wall thickening independent of their birthweight, Australian research shows.

Aussies struggling to limit salt intake

Aussies struggling to limit salt intake

THE American Heart Association (AHA) has reaffirmed its message that sodium intake should be limited to less than 1500mg per day – but Australian experts say the public is struggling to get below 2300mg.

Controversial review backs restricting sugar

ADVICE to restrict sugar intake should be a routine part of clinical care, particularly when patients are being counselled about cardiovascular (CV) risk, a provocative review suggests.

Chinese who adopt Western fast food diet increase CVD risk

Chinese who adopt Western fast food diet increase CVD risk

CHINESE Singaporeans who regularly eat Western-style fast food are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes and dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD), research suggests.

Dark chocolate treatment for metabolic syndrome

Dark chocolate treatment for metabolic syndrome

CHOCOHOLICS can take heart from a Melbourne study finding 100g daily of the good stuff could prevent cardiovascular events in people with metabolic syndrome – and it’s cost-effective.

A positive outlook on life can protect your heart

A positive outlook on life can protect your heart

OPTIMISTIC people appear to be at a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events, according to a review of more than 200 studies.

Plastic chemical linked to heart disease

Plastic chemical linked to heart disease

A European study has provided new evidence that the commonly used plastic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) is linked to heart disease.

UPDATED national healthy eating guidelines

Dietary guidelines likely to be ignored

UPDATED national healthy eating guidelines have been released at the same time as a survey of GPs showed Australians commonly ignore lifestyle advice.

In the battle of the hearty drinks, wine trumps milk

IN WHAT may be a win for wine lovers over teetotallers, research has shown polyphenols don’t benefit the heart if consumed in milk. While it has been posited that polyphenols in red wine are behind the well-known reduction in cardiovascular disease risk among people who consume moderate amounts of the beverage, clinical study findings have been inconsistent. Dutch researchers took 61 people with a mean age of 61 years and borderline high blood pressure and gave them dairy drinks, which contained either a placebo or polyphenols from red wine, daily. Those who drank the antioxidants consumed ...

Farmers need educating in emergency medicine

CARDIAC risk factors are rife among farming men and women but few know the best thing to do when experiencing acute chest pain, a pilot study shows. The study of 186 farming men and women from 20 agricultural communities in rural Victoria found 74% of the women and 61% of the men were overweight or obese. Around half of the respondents had hypertension and a fasting blood glucose level equal to or more than 5.5 mmol/L. When asked to name their nearest emergency department (ED), one in 10 nominated health services or towns where no ED ...

More cholesterol in an egg yolk than in a monster-sized burger

CHOLESTEROL in food sources such as eggs is not harmless, say Canadian physicians, who are concerned about a lack of awareness of the dangers of dietary cholesterol. In fact, a large egg yolk contains more dietary cholesterol (215-275 mg) than super-sized US burgers such as the KFC Double Down (150 mg) or Hardee’s Monster Thickburger (210 mg), they  wrote in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. “We wanted to put cholesterol into perspective, as there’s been a widespread misconception developing… that consumption of dietary cholesterol and egg yolks is harmless,” the authors said. Because statins lower cholesterol more ...

Pre-eclampsia: The CVD connection

Pre-eclampsia: The CVD connection

Is pre-eclampsia a one-off event or a signal for future cardiac disease for mothers and children? Leigh Parry asks if we should monitor these groups more closely in later life.

Black cohosh linked to episodes of complete heart block

The herbal ingredient black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) should be considered as a possible cause of unexplained cardiac conduction disturbance, cardiologists believe.  Queensland cardiologists Drs Scott McKenzie and Atifur Rahman described a case where a woman was hospitalised due to syncope and investigations revealed she was having episodes of complete heart block.  The patient had no history of cardiac symptoms but had been taking a preparation containing black cohosh for two weeks. Bradycardia is a widely listed side-effect of black cohosh in non-academic literature, the authors said. While black cohosh was useful for treating menopausal symptoms, they warned it ...

Multivitamin use linked to lower MI risk

DEBATE looks set to reignite over the benefits of multivitamins, with a study finding they substantially reduced the risk of myocardial infarction (MI).  A Swedish population-based cohort study found women with no history of CVD who took multivitamins had a 27% lower risk of MI over 10 years compared to those taking no supplements. The apparent protective effect was stronger for women taking multivitamins combined with other supplements; however, there was no benefit seen in those taking dietary supplements alone. The findings are likely to prove controversial, with previous research delivering mixed verdicts on the benefits ...

The need for sleep

Just what is the optimal amount of sleep and how does too little or too much affect us? Lynnette Hoffman finds out.

Lower BP raises risk in pre-existing CAD

A J-CURVE effect, whereby those with the highest and lowest blood pressure levels are both at increased risk of cardiovascular events, has been confirmed in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), researchers say. A US study of 10,000 patients with CAD, randomised to receive either 80 mg or 10 mg atorvastatin, found an increased risk of death from coronary heart disease or non-fatal myocardial infarction at both low and high BP targets. The authors say it confirms earlier findings and questions the dictum that “with blood pressure, lower is always better”. The CV risk was less with ...

The rising rate of AF

A decade ago, atrial fibrillation was considered an emerging epidemic – has it now reached its peak? Kate Woods looks at the rise and rise of AF.

Pharmacists can assist in CVD risk management

PHARMACISTS can play a key role in managing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, according to a new research project conducted as part of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement. Under the Pharmacist Assessment of Adherence Risk and Treatment in Cardiovascular Disease (PAART CVD) project, 10 pharmacists were trained in CVD risk factor management and facilitating patient lifestyle modification. A total of 70 patients aged 50-74 years taking medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol were then invited to participate in monthly sessions with the trained pharmacists on risk factor reduction. Patients involved in these prevention strategies reduced their CVD ...

Study links low-dose NSAIDs to stroke risk in healthy population

EXPERT opinion remains divided on risks versus benefits of NSAIDs, after research shows even low doses may raise the risk of stroke in healthy individuals. The findings, building on earlier work linking NSAIDs to cardiovascular (CV) mortality, have prompted calls for diclofenac to be withdrawn. The Danish study, presented recently at the European Society of Cardiology congress, reviewed data from more than a million patients prescribed an NSAID. Diclofenac use increased the risk of stroke by 86%, while ibuprofen increased it by 28 per cent. There was a dose-dependent relationship with both drugs.  David Henry, ...

Do genes affect clopidogrel?

REPORTS that people who carry a certain genetic allele have an impaired response to clopidogrel have been challenged by new research. A US and Canadian study of 5059 patients with acute coronary syndrome found those carrying the CYP2C19 loss-of-function allele did not experience impaired safety or efficacy with clopidogrel when compared to the general population. A number of recent studies had found clopidogrel was less effective in these patients, leading the US Food and Drug Administration to issue a black box warning on the use of the drug by these patients. Similar results were reported among ...

Hypertensive label is more stressful than having raised BP

IGNORANCE is bliss when it comes to high blood pressure (BP), a new study suggests. British researchers found that having a diagnosis of hypertension was inherently stressful when compared to those unaware their BP was high. In a study of 33,000 adults, those with diagnosed hypertension had a 57% increased risk of being psychologically distressed compared to those with normal BP. Unaware patients with hypertension had no such elevated risk, suggesting that the stress resulted from the diagnosis itself, rather than increased BP. The authors said the finding suggested that it is the labelling of individuals ...

Aspirin's acid test

Aspirin – it might be good for secondary prophylaxis in heart disease, but should it be routinely recommended for primary prevention of cardiovascular conditions?

Migraine with aura an independent CV death risk

MIGRAINE with aura can now be regarded as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.  An Icelandic study, including 18,725 middle-aged people, found migraineurs with aura had a 27% increased risk of cardiovascular-related death compared with non-migraineurs.  After 26 years follow-up, they also had a 21% increased risk of all-cause mortality. There was no such increased risk among those with non-migraine headache or migraine without aura. The association remained after adjusting for other risk factors. “Migraine with aura was an independent risk factor for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in both men and women, but ...

Antidepressant unsuccessful in heart failure

THE use of an SSRI in patients with heart failure and depression has failed to show a significant reduction in depressive symptoms or improvement in cardiovascular status. US researchers randomised 469 patients with heart failure and major depressive disorder to either sertraline (50-200 mg a day) or a matching placebo.  After 12 weeks, both groups recorded similar reductions in depression severity and improvements in cardiovascular outcomes. About 69% of patients in both groups recorded some level of cardiovascular improvement. Professor Henry Krum, director of the Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics at Monash University, ...

Women outdo men in high LDL-C level

AUSTRALIAN women have, on average, higher cholesterol levels than men, according to the largest cholesterol study undertaken in general practice.  The findings reinforce calls for greater public awareness of female cardiovascular health. The study, which included 200,000 patient records, found four out of five women aged 45 to 64 years had LDL-C  levels greater than 2.5 mmol/L and 34% had HDL-C levels below 1 mmol/L.The average total cholesterol of middle-aged women was 5.5 mmol/L. This compared to an average of 5.3 mmol/L for middle-aged men. The average total cholesterol for women of all ages was also slightly higher than that ...

Ca supplements out for osteoporosis: experts

CALCIUM supplements may raise the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and their role in the management of osteoporosis should be reconsidered, experts say. Their comments follow publication of a meta-analysis of 11 randomised controlled trials, finding that calcium supplementation raised MI risk by 30% in over-40s. The data had previously sparked controversy when presented at the World Congress of Internal Medicine in Melbourne in March (MO online, 26 March). Senior author Ian Reid, an endocrinologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Auckland, told MO the increased cardiovascular risk with calcium “swamps the potential benefits ...

Lower BP no benefit in diabetes and CAD

LOWER blood pressure targets for patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) may not achieve their aim of improving cardiovascular outcomes. A US secondary analysis of 6400 patients with diabetes and CAD has challenged 2008 Australian Heart Foundation guidelines recommending BP targets of less than 130/80 mmHg in patients with diabetes and/or coronary heart disease.  There was little difference in the rate of cardiovascular events between those maintaining systolic BP under 130 mmHg and those with “usual” control (130/80 mmHg to 145/85 mmHg). And when extended follow-up data was included, those in the tighter controlled ...

Clopidogrel cleared for acute coronary syndrome

CLOPIDOGREL remains the first choice anticoagulant for all patients with acute coronary syndrome, Australian experts believe, despite recent regulatory warnings over its use by those with certain genetic polymorphisms. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned earlier this year about the drug’s use by patients with genetic polymorphisms that decrease CYP2C19 function, diminishing the effectiveness of clopidogrel and increasing the risk of cardiovascular events.  Professor David Hare, a cardiologist at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital, believed it was reasonable to continue following current guidelines recommending a daily dose of 75 mg of clopidogrel due to the “low frequency” ...

Drugs battling diabetes but ‘losing the war’

THE limitations of drug treatments as a panacea for type 2 diabetes must be recognised if the global burden of the disease is to be reduced, The Lancet says. In a special issue last week, the journal reported that since 2000 the number of people with diabetes had more than doubled to 285 million globally. “The fact that type 2 diabetes, a largely preventable disorder, has reached epidemic proportions is a public health humiliation,” an editorial said. It called for “imaginative” responses involving physical activity and attention to diet rather than focusing on medical intervention alone. ...

Anxiety a predictor for cardiac death

ANXIETY can be confirmed as an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiac mortality, Australian experts say, after a meta-analysis found it was strongly associated with these outcomes. The review of 20 prospective studies, including 249,846 ‘healthy’ persons, found those with anxiety disorders had a 26% higher risk of CHD and a 48% higher risk of cardiac mortality. The results were independent of demographic variables, biological risk factors and health behaviours. The findings were further bolstered by a Swedish study of 49,321 men followed for 37 years, which found those with anxiety at ...

Heart attack risk rises with air pollution level: study

HIGHER levels of air pollution increase the risk of having a cardiac arrest outside of hospital, Australian researchers say. After identifying 8434 cases through the Victorian Cardiac Arrest Registry over four years and excluding those with obvious causes, the Monash University researchers obtained air pollution concentrations for the day of arrest. They found an increase of 4.26 μg/m3 in particulate matter (PM) air pollution was associated with a 3.6% increased risk  of having an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The effect persisted for two days following an increase in PM. Those aged 65-74 were most susceptible to PM ...

Higher HDL-C could offer cancer protection

ELEVATED high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels are associated with a significant reduction in cancer risk, research shows. A meta-analysis of 24 randomised controlled trials found raised HDL-C levels significantly lowered cancer risk after adjusting for conventional risk factors, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, age, BMI, diabetes, sex and smoking. After an average of five years’ follow-up, the authors estimated that every 0.55 mmol/L increment in HDL-C translated into a 36% lower risk of developing cancers, including lung and liver.  The meta-analysis compared the incidence of cancer in 76,265 patients receiving statin treatment with average HDL-C levels of 2.57 mmol/L, ...

Doubts over serum acid-CVD risk link

DOUBTS have been cast over previous reports that serum uric acid concentrations are an independently prognostic marker of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. An Australian observational study of 1268 patients with type 2 diabetes revealed serum uric acid levels more than 0.40 mmol/l were not an independent predictor of CVD or all-cause mortality when compared with concentrations of 0.28 mmol/l or less, after an average of 10 years.  Previous studies had indicated a positive association between high serum uric acid concentrations and risk of CVD mortality. Professor Tim Davis, ...

Beta-blockers benefit COPD patients

BETA-BLOCKERS are not only safe for patients with COPD, but may reduce exacerbations and mortality, which contrasts with previous concerns they might provoke bronchospasm and induce respiratory failure.  A Dutch 10-year observational study of 2230 general practice patients with COPD has found that those using beta-blockers had mortality and exacerbations reduced by nearly a third compared with patients who had not received them. The reduction in mortality and exacerbations was still around 35% even after adjusting for age, current and former smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and use of other cardiovascular drugs. Professor Christine ...

Beta-blockers benefit COPD patients

BETA-BLOCKERS are not only safe for patients with COPD, but may reduce exacerbations and mortality, which contrasts with previous concerns they might provoke bronchospasm and induce respiratory failure.  A Dutch 10-year observational study of 2230 general practice patients with COPD has found that those using beta-blockers had mortality and exacerbations reduced by nearly a third compared with patients who had not received them. The reduction in mortality and exacerbations was still around 35% even after adjusting for age, current and former smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and use of other cardiovascular drugs. Professor Christine ...

Toothbrushing linked to cardio-vascular disease prevention

ENCOURAGING good oral hygiene may have the added benefit of reducing the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Evidence shows those who rarely brush their teeth have a 70% increased risk of a cardiovascular event. A study of dental habits among nearly 12,000 people in Scotland showed those who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who brushed twice a day. This was after adjusting for risk factors such as BMI, smoking, dental visits, hypertension and family history. While the mechanisms remained unclear, the ...

CV risk equations are ‘inaccurate’ for elderly

OLDER patients would benefit from new cardiovascular disease [CVD] absolute risk calculators, Australian experts say, as current risk tools underestimate their risk of cardiovascular death. A recent study by a group of Australian cardiologists compared the predictive ability of three risk equations for absolute cardiovascular risk in 6083 hypertensive patients with an average age of 72. The results showed that the Framingham, Pocock and Dubbo cardiovascular risk equations were all, at best, “modest” predictors of risk of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, stroke or CVD morbidity or mortality in elderly patients with hypertension. The Framingham risk ...

Renal function a key predictor of death risk

RENAL function tests should be more widely used in clinical practice, experts say, as evidence continues to build on their efficacy as predictors of mortality risk.  An international meta-analysis has confirmed that estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) measures are independent predictors of mortality risk in the general population.  The meta-analysis of 21 studies from 14 countries (including Australia) found an eGFR of less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2, and an ACR of 1.1 mg/mmol or more, predicted a higher risk of all-cause and cardiovascular death independent of cardiovascular risk factors, and of each ...

Fibrates: new lease of life in CV protection

MORE widespread use of fibrates has been advocated by Australian cardiologists who say there is now enough evidence of their benefit in the prevention of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. While there had been inconsistent findings from previous studies, leading to some hesitation about their use, an Australian meta-analysis of 18 trials has found that using fibrates leads to a 10% reduction in major cardiovascular events and a 13% reduction in coronary events. Fibrates also reduced the risk of albuminuria progression by 14% and appeared to be safe, with no significant increase in drug-related adverse events. ...

Fibrates found to offer CVD protection

THE uncertainty surrounding the role of fibrates in the prevention of cardiovascular disease may be a step closer to being clarified as Australian experts find that fibrates significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Their review and meta-analysis of 18 trials found use of fibrates led to a 10% reduction in major cardiovascular events and a 13% reduction in coronary events. Fibrates also reduced the risk of albuminuria progression by 14% and were not associated with a significant increase in drug-related adverse events.  There was no reduction in stroke however, and no statistically significant effect on ...

CRP screens may identify risk of premature death

SCREENING for elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels could identify patients at risk of premature death, new research suggests.  The Danish study in 10,388 participants found elevated CRP levels (over 3 mg/L) were associated with a two-fold increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes compared to CRP levels less than 1 mg/L after 16 years’ follow-up.  “However, this does not appear to be a causal association for [CRP] per se but more likely reflects association of hidden, potentially fatal inflammatory disease with increased all-cause mortality,” the authors said.  It had been unclear whether ...

Doctors left in limbo over clopidogrel-PPI safety

CONCERNS remain over the concurrent use of clopidogrel and PPIs with conflicting findings leaving clinicians uncertain of the safety profile of the therapies in combination.   The latest findings, from a US retrospective cohort study, show those treated with clopidogrel plus any PPI had a 93% higher risk of rehospitalisation for MI compared with patients with similar cardiovascular risk factors treated with clopidogrel alone. The 1033 patients in the study had at baseline been discharged from hospital after a MI or coronary stent placement. However, the findings contrasted with those of a recent UK review of ...

Fish oil linked to increased bleeding risk

PATIENTS taking fish oil may be at increased risk of bleeding and should be advised to stop the supplements in the lead-up to elective surgery, the TGA has recommended. High-dose supplements should also be discontinued in people at high risk for haemorrhagic stroke, according to a recent update from the new Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines. It replaces the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (ADRAC). Although fish oils were largely safe and had an array of potential benefits, there was some concern about their anticoagulant properties which warranted caution, the update said. “Anecdotally, it ...

Maternal diabetes history is cardioprotective in women

WOMEN with type 2 diabetes and a maternal family history of the disease have a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those with no familial history, an Australian study shows. The latest instalment from the Fremantle Diabetes study found a familial history of diabetes conferred a 37% reduced risk of death from all causes and cardiac death, and a 68% reduced risk of incident MI in women with type 2 diabetes. Maternal family history had no effect on male patients and paternal history of diabetes was not associated with any clinical differences.  A total of ...

GP software needs CVD absolute risk tool

PRACTICE software must be upgraded in order to narrow significant gaps between cardiovascular disease (CVD) ‘absolute risk’ assessment in primary care and evidence-based guidelines, experts argue. Findings from the AusHEART study revealed large evidence-practice gaps remained in primary and secondary prevention of CVD in older Australians. The study of 322 GPs, examined the management of 15-20 consecutive patients aged 55 years or older and found GPs’ estimates of risk among patients without established CVD agreed with a guideline-based estimate in 47% of cases. Only 34% of high-risk patients without established CVD were receiving a ...

Women significantly underestimate CVD risk

MANY women remain unaware that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among females, research reveals. A US survey of 2300 women found that although more women were aware that CVD was their leading cause of death than in the previous survey in 1997, almost half were not. And there were substantial misconceptions about what to take or what to do in an emergency. A substantial percentage of respondents also subscribed to unproven and ineffective preventive therapies, such as antioxidants, multivitamins and special vitamins (such as vitamin C), in the belief they were cardioprotective.  ...

Mortality high in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

THE risks associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) may be far greater than previously thought, with research showing patients who have the condition are at significantly higher risk of dying than the general population. After an average follow-up of 21 years, Swedish researchers found patients with NAFLD had a 69% increased risk of death, primarily from cardiovascular disease, extrahepatic malignancies and liver disease, when compared to the general population. Amongst 256 patients with elevated liver enzymes who underwent liver biopsies between 1980 and 1984, fatty liver was detected in 143 and 118 were diagnosed with NAFLD. ...

Breastfeeding may protect against cardiovascular disease

THE advantages of breastfeeding may extend beyond the known benefits for babies and mothers, with evidence now revealing mothers who do not breastfeed are up to five times more likely to have aortic calcification than those who have breastfed. Failure to breastfeed was associated with an increased risk of a range of markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease, including carotid plaque and larger carotid adventitial diameters in middle-aged women, researchers showed. The study included nearly 300 women aged 45-58 years, who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease and who self-reported their lactation history. Previous studies had ...