Average person’s heart is five years older than their real age


London: The average person’s heart is five years older than their chronological age, according to a new study.

Based on an analysis of heart health checks conducted at branches of Lloydspharmacy, and using a protocol developed by Unilever and Boston University, the study shows that people’s hearts are aging faster than they should.

The research is based on a sample of more than 3000 tests conducted on adults less than 60 years old. The study should be a real wake up call for smokers in particular. The findings reveal that puffing away results in a heart age which is a full 14 years older than smokers’ actual age. The figure for non smoking men is 4 years. Women, however, fare better. The average Heart Age of non-smokers in this age group is the same as their chronological age.

Recently it emerged that while death rates from coronary heart disease are falling among the old they are levelling off or rising among people aged 35 to 54, suggesting that there is a middle aged heart disease bulge caused by over-indulgence and sedentary lifestyles.

The findings of the research coincide with the launch of a tie-up between Lloydspharmacy and Flora pro.activ. The initiative was launched by Gloria Hunniford who has been working with Flora pro.activ on a number of heart health campaigns.

Heart health is an issue that Gloria feels passionate about. She lost her first husband, Don Keating, as a result of an undetected heart condition and then her husband Stephen Way suffered a heart attack just after they got married.

Gloria herself had raised cholesterol (6.35mmol/l), and these experiences alerted her to what she describes as, “the silent killer cholesterol”, and made her realise that she needed to take serious steps to protect her own heart.

As part of the link between Lloydspharmacy and Flora pro.activ, people can get a free Cholesterol test and Heart Check worth £15 at more than 600 branches of Lloydspharmacy nationwide in return for two proofs of purchase of any Flora pro.activ products.

The Lloydspharmacy Cholesterol and Heart Check is a 10-15 minute consultation involving, amongst other things, cholesterol and blood pressure tests and a lifestyle assessment. Based on these results a percentage risk score of developing heart disease over the next ten years is estimated.

Heart Age

Heart age is calculated using a range of factors including blood pressure,
blood cholesterol, diet and lifestyle. The Heart Age Calculator was
developed through collaboration between Unilever (the parent company of
Flora) and the Boston University Statistics and Consulting Unit, the department that was involved in identifying the factors that increase people’s risk of heart disease in the world-famous Framingham Heart Study.

About Lloydspharmacy

Lloydspharmacy has 1,700 pharmacies across the country. These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations. The company employs over 16,000 staff, of which 80 per cent are women and dispenses 120 million prescription items annually. The pharmacies have over two million visits per week by customers who are also predominantly women.

Lloydspharmacy is the trading name of Lloydspharmacy Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celesio AG based in Stuttgart. Celesio is the leading pharmaceutical distribution company in Europe and is represented in 15 countries. With its three divisions, Celesio Wholesale, Celesio Pharmacies and Celesio Solutions, the group covers the entire scope of pharmaceutical trade and pharmaceutical-related services.

Lloydspharmacy which is a community pharmacy has primary care at the heart of its business. This is why has launched a range of products aimed at community health such as affordable blood pressure monitors, Solar Safe products and is a supporter of NHS initiatives such as NHS Choices by providing terminals in-store for patient information.

High GI foods linked to lifestyle diseases


Sydney: Scientists in Australia have found conclusive evidence that a high GI diet, generally rich in food that is burnt by the body quickly, leads to a higher risk of common lifestyle diseases.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how different foods affect your blood glucose levels, with those that are “low GI” released more slowly and deemed better for health. This slow release means that less insulin is released into the bloodstream and the body’s stores less fat.

A team of nutrition experts at the University of Sydney evaluated 37 diet studies involving nearly two million people worldwide to analyse the effect of eating high GI foods, which are usually highly processed.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found a link between a high GI diet and a high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.The diet was also linked to gall stones and some types of cancer.

Lead researcher, Alan Barclay said: “The key message from this study is that the GI of your diet is a powerful predictor of disease risk.Grandma was right, you are what you eat.”

He said the link with diabetes was “not surprising” because eating high GI foods inflates your blood glucose and insulin levels.

“You may literally ‘wear out’ your pancreas over time and eventually it may lead to type 2 diabetes in older age,” Mr Barclay said.

The researchers were more surprised by the “strong relationship” between GI and cancer.

High GI foods cause constant spikes in blood glucose which increase insulin and a related substance called ‘insulin-like growth factor one’, both of which have been shown to increase the risk of developing cancer.

“Other research shows that a high GI diet tends to reduce ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels and raise triglycerides levels; bad news for cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

“And people with low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels are more prone to gall stones.”

The researchers said their findings support eating a low GI diet to maintain healthy weight and help avoid disease.

Caryl Nowson, a professor of nutrition and ageing at Deakin University in Melbourne, said because high GI foods were typically high in fat and sugar and low in fibre, they were also ready known to be linked with disease.

“This review is just a new way of breaking down dietary information we already have,” Prof Nowson said.

She said while the benefits of eating according to GI rating had been proven, it was just one of many ways to structure a healthy diet.

“If you focus on having a classically balanced diet high in fibre and low in sugar, fat and refined foods you’ll find you’re eating relatively low GI anyway,” Prof Nowson said.

Diabetics face increasing risk of heart attack, says new research


London: As the number of people with diabetes continues to grow, the number of diabetics who have a heart attack has doubled over the last ten years, UK researchers say.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes, the form associated with being overweight, has grown in the UK from 1.4 million in 1996 to two million. Thousands more are believed to have the disease without realising.

And around 13,000 people with type 2 diabetes are now treated for a heart attack every year, compared with less than 6,000 in 1996.

Hospital admissions for other associated diseases such as strokes and angina has also doubled among diabetics, along with keyhole heart surgery, according to a new Imperial College in London and Leicester University.

They compared the records of cardiac treatments carried out in English hospitals between April 2005 and March 2006 with those from April 1995 to March 1996.

The analysis showed that diabetics accounted for 13.9 per cent of patients treated for a heart attack in the later period, up from 7.2 per cent a decade ago.

Angina admissions had more than doubled, from 6.7 per cent to 15.3 per cent, while the proportion of diabetics among those being treated for strokes had risen from 6.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent.

The researchers looked only at type 2 diabetes, the most common form. This is usually identified in middle age, although Britons’ expanding waistlines mean more children are being diagnosed with it.

Type 2 diabetes is often controlled initially with a stringent diet and exercise regime, but many sufferers will see their condition worsen over time and will eventually need tablets or insulin injections.

The high blood sugar levels among those with diabetes make them five times as likely to develop heart disease as the rest of the population.

Broccoli may protect heart from damage


New research shows this cruciferous veggie may give you lifesaving advantages if you suffer a heart attack.

Animals given broccoli extract in addition to their regular diet had three advantages over animals that didn’t get the extract:

• They sustained less heart muscle damage when their hearts were deprived of oxygen.
• They had higher levels of heart-protecting biochemicals during oxygen deprivation.
• Their hearts pumped better.

Since oxygen deprivation occurs during a heart attack, together, these things could help you survive one.

Nearly 50% of adults don’t know their fats


London: Nearly half the population (45%) do not realise that too much saturated fat (SAFA) is bad for their health.

This latest research from independent UK body, The Fat Panel, also reveals that whilst one in seven fail to link coronary heart disease with excessive SAFA intake, nearly one in four believe that reining in saturated fat consumption will improve their love lives.

These findings re-enforce the panel’s claims that Brits do not understand fats – unaware of which are good and which are bad for their health. As a result, on average the UK eats 17% too much saturated fat; raising the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In view of this, the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) has commissioned a consultation on how to reduce the nation’s intake of saturated fat and energy.

“Most of us should be worrying less about the amount of fat we are consuming, and more about what types of fat we’re including in our diets. The research is worrying, as it shows that many of us are still unaware of the risks of eating too much saturated fat, despite health professionals and academics long-term concerns backed by a wealth of clinical evidence,” said Dr Sarah Berry of The Fat Panel.

“It’s good to see the Government shining a spotlight on this harmful fat. If it hopes to see a reduction in the amount of saturated fat that people are eating, we need to help people to understand SAFA and why it’s so bad for your health”.

There is a lot of public confusion over which foods are high in saturated fat, making it difficult for the public to know which fats and foods they should avoid or cut down on. More than one third of those questioned (35%) believes that sunflower oil is high in saturated fat (it contains just 12%), whilst more than one quarter think that rapeseed oil is high in this bad fat (it contains just 8% saturated fat).

Nearly one in 10 of those questioned do not realise that butter is high in saturated fat. A further one in eight does not think cakes and biscuits have a high SAFA content. In addition, one in 10 are unaware of meat products, such as meat pies and sausages, containing high levels.

Sian Porter of The Fat Panel says “By understanding that saturated fat is bad for the body, the next step is for people to recognise which foods contain these. Snacks such as cakes, biscuits and pastries contain high levels – but this can easily be rectified by simply swapping these for healthier options like fruit or even toast with spread – which on average contains 25% less saturated fat. It’s all about education, and having the knowledge to make informed – and as a result – healthier choices”.

Recent moves on food labelling should help people make these choices; however just half of us even look at the on-pack information when buying butter or spreads for instance, and only one in six look at how much saturated fat is in the pack. When thinking about saturated fat content, all spreads are at least 25% lower in saturated fat than butter and some contain much less with certain spreads offering up to 83% less saturated fat. More and more people are opting for low-fat products, whether on health or diet grounds, but it seems like few consider what type of fat a product contains.

The Fat Panel
Dr Sarah Berry BSc Msc PhD RNutr
Dr Berry is a registered nutritionist, working at kings College, and her specialist area of knowledge and research is lipid metabolism and coronary heart disease risk.

Sian Porter MScBsc(HONS) RD
Sian is a state registered dietician and holds an MSc in Health Economics.

Dr Paul Stillman MB ChB DRCOG PGCHE
Dr Stillman is in general practice in Crawley, Sussex and is a general practice trainer with the British Postgraduate Medical Federation.

Dr Pamela Mason, PhD, MSc, MRPharmS
Dr Mason is a nutritionist and pharmacist.

Dr Chris Steele MB, ChB
Dr Steele is a general practitioner and is the regular ‘doc’ on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ show. He is Health Journalist of the Year.

Dr Kirby is a GP in Cardiff, with specific experience in community paediatrics.

Research was undertaken by Kember Associates with adults across the UK.


FDA posts heart attack warning on anti-diabetes drug Avandia


Washington: The US Food and Drug Administration has announced that the manufacturer of Avandia (rosiglitazone), a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, has agreed to add new information to the existing boxed warning in the drug’s labeling about potential increased risk for heart attacks.

People with type 2 diabetes who have underlying heart disease or who are at high risk of heart attack should talk with their health care provider about the revised warning as they evaluate treatment options. FDA advises health care providers to closely monitor patients who take Avandia for cardiovascular risks.

Janet Woodcock, MD, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for scientific and medical programmes and acting director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said: “The FDA has moved expeditiously to review the cardiovascular risks of this drug so that we could inform patients and doctors at the earliest possible time of our findings.

“The FDA remains committed to making sure that doctors and patients have the latest information about the risks and benefits of medicines.”

Avandia is manufactured by Philadelphia-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and was approved in 1999 as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve control of blood sugar levels. Avandia is approved to be used as a single therapy or used in combination with metformin and sulfonylureas, other oral anti-diabetes treatments.

During the past year, FDA has carefully weighed several complex sources of data, some which show conflicting results, related to the risk of chest pain, heart attacks and heart-related deaths, and deaths from any cause in patients treated with Avandia.

At this time, FDA has concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to indicate that the risks of heart attacks or death are different between Avandia and some other oral type 2 diabetes treatments. Therefore, FDA has requested that GSK conduct a new long-term study to evaluate the potential cardiovascular risk of Avandia, compared to an active control agent. GSK has agreed to conduct the study and FDA will ensure it is initiated promptly.

The revision of Avandia’s existing boxed warning – FDA’s strongest form of warning – includes the following statement:

“A meta-analysis of 42 clinical studies (mean duration 6 months; 14,237 total patients), most of which compared Avandia to placebo, showed Avandia to be associated with an increased risk of myocardial ischemic events such as angina or myocardial infarction. Three other studies (mean duration 41 months; 14,067 patients), comparing Avandia to some other approved oral antidiabetic agents or placebo, have not confirmed or excluded this risk. In their entirety, the available data on the risk of myocardial ischemia are inconclusive.”

The previous upgraded warning, added to certain diabetes drugs (in class of drugs related to Avandia) on Aug. 14, 2007, emphasized that these types of drugs may worsen heart failure, a condition in which the heart does not adequately pump blood, in some patients.

GSK is also developing a Medication Guide for patients to provide additional information about the benefits and risks and safe use of Avandia.

So far no oral anti-diabetes drug has been conclusively shown to reduce cardiovascular risk. Consequently, the agency also will be requesting that labeling of all approved oral anti-diabetes drugs contain language describing the lack of data showing this benefit.

Today’s action follows recommendations made at the July 2007 joint meeting of FDA’s Endocrine and Metabolic Drugs and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committees. At the meeting, members voted 22-1 to recommend that Avandia stay on the market, pending a review of additional data. The committee also advised that information warning of the potential for increased risk of heart attacks should be added to the drug labeling.

UK’s first public debate on genetic screening to be held in London


London: Genetic screening for common diseases……..Fact or fiction?

The UK’s first public debate on genetic screening is being held at The Wellcome Institute, London, Thursday 8th November 6.30pm – 8.30pm. For more information go to www.geneticconference.com

There has been so much in the press this year about the use of genetic screening as a powerful new diagnostic tool for predicting risk in areas such as:

Heart disease, thrombosis, hypertension, metabolism and obesity, osteoporosis, drug metabolism, and cancer predisposition, especially prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.

But is it really what it is cracked up to be? Is there a proven link between some gene polymorphisms and the onset of age related diseases.

Here for the first time an eminent group of doctors and scientists discuss the facts, the scientific evidence, and the potential application in the physician’s surgery.

For two hours on Thursday evening you can have a unique opportunity to hear, not only from leading researchers and clinicians, but also from doctors who have been using this exciting new tool for over two years in the UK.

The excellent speakers: Prof Stephen Bustin (Barts and The London), Prof Mark McCarthy (Oxford), Dr Paul Jenkins (Barts), Dr Lobo (Barts), Dr Brull (The Whittington).

This is the first event of its kind in the UK and a unique opportunity to learn about this powerful new diagnostic tool.

Places will be limited as the lecture hall only holds 150. So please book your place online as soon as you can, to be assured of your place. There will be a small exhibition alongside the meeting, a good opportunity to network and enjoy a glass of wine afterwards.

To register please call + 44 (0)20 8742 3789 so we can register you. For more information to www.geneticconference.com or email a.misplan@geneticconference.com

This event is sponored by the UK’s Genetic Health, Roche and the magazine Body Language.

UK fat consumption continues to grow


London: Research released by low-fat spread Flora has revealed that the UK’s saturated fat consumption is a third (33.5%) higher than the average Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for a typical UK adult*

Fat forecast: Based on the current rates of decline, it will take until the year 2048, another 41 years, for average saturated fat intake to fall to the recommended level in the UK. In the meantime, these fats can raise cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of developing heart disease – the UK’s biggest killer.

Better in the eighties: The rate at which levels of saturated fat intake are falling has slowed to almost a standstill in the 2000s (-0.7%): our diets are now only improving at just over half the rate at which they did in the 1990s (-1.3%), and only a quarter of the rate of improvement seen in the 1980s (-2.7%).

Fooling ourselves: Although 79 per cent of the population claim to be concerned about staying fit and healthy, the proportion of those concerned about saturated fat has in fact fallen between 2003 and 2006 (from 53 to 46 per cent).

Saturated society: The total annual saturated fat consumption of UK adults stands at a colossal 489,000 tonnes, which is enough fat to fill the Big Ben clock tower 157 times, or 1,220 Boeing 747s. The average UK adult eats 9.86 kilograms of saturated fat a year – that’s the same amount as in 146 packs of butter!

Fat facts: When asked to identify the best and worst fats, 72 per cent of UK adults were either wildly wrong or simply did not know that it is important to eat good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, while cutting down on bad saturated and trans fat to help maintain a healthy heart.

Good vs. bad: The South West eats more saturated fat than any other region, with an average daily consumption of 28.3g, 3g more than people living in London who consume the least. The report also found that cheese and chocolate top Britain’s ‘guilty foods’ league with (36%) and (34%) respectively of UK adults saying they definitely eat too much of both. Surprisingly, the fourth biggest contributor to sat fat in the UK diet is butter and this wasn’t even listed.

Ethical living: A quarter of UK adults (25%) have recently been more concerned with making sure they buy organic and fair trade food than checking the nutritional value of food. Additionally, 49% of adults stated that eating more locally grown and fair trade food was a motivation for recent dietary change.

Sugar rush: People are three times more likely to be aware of the levels of sugar in their diet than the levels of saturated fat.

Dr Chris Steele says: “This report goes some way to highlighting the high levels of saturated fat in the diets of the UK population, which needs a prompt response if any reversal of the situation is to be expected. We need to make the necessary dietary changes to bring down the incidences of problems including high cholesterol and heart disease.”

The increasing frequency and complexity of nutritional messages, along with ethical and environmental concerns, appears to have created a ‘fatigue’ with health messages during the 2000s. Although 68 per cent of UK adults believe they should be eating less fatty foods, disappointingly few appear to be making the necessary changes to their diet.

It is important to replace ‘bad’ saturated fat (found in fatty meats, butter, cheese and whole milk) and trans fats (found in processed foods, such as cakes, pastries and also present in butter) with ‘good’ fats, which include monounsaturates and polyunsaturates, (such as Omega 3 and 6) found in vegetable seed oils and spreads, nuts and oily fish. A good way to do this is to make a small change like switching from butter to a healthier alternative like Flora spreads, which can help lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart.

The research programme was designed and carried out by the Future Foundation, a think-tank specialising in the analysis of consumer trends. Original survey research was carried out with a nationally representative online sample of 1012 UK adults aged 16+ by Research Now between the 14th and 18th of June 2007. Other sources of data drawn on in the report included The National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the Expenditure and Food survey, Food Standards Agency research, and Future Foundation proprietary ‘Changing Lives’ research data

*GDA reference for an average adult is 20g (based on the female GDA): Source IGD

Adults won’t exercise to live longer

Even the threat of an early death is not incentive for most UK adults to exercise, according to a new survey of 2,100 people from YouGov.

Only 38% of people questioned by YouGov said they would do more exercise if their life depended on it. In addition, British Heart Foundation figures show only a third of people manage to do enough exercise to achieve the minimum recommended amount.

Experts warned inactivity is dangerous even in those who are a healthy weight.

In the YouGov survey brisk walking was found to be the favourite way of getting exercise – before dancing, swimming or going to the gym.

Physical activity and obesity are too different risk factors so even if you’re lean, if you’re inactive you increase your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, only 4% said they found exercise fun.

A greater inspiration was exercising to change body shape, particularly among women and young adults.

Almost a third of 18 to 24-year-olds reported they would do more exercise if they saw an unflattering photo of themselves or were told they looked fat.

Other less predictable forms of motivation to work out included fancying someone at the gym.

But only 13% of men and 7% of women said keeping a healthy heart was their main motivator.

Excuses for not exercising were found to be always close at hand – from not having enough time to the one in seven who blame bad weather for not doing enough physical activity.

The British Heart Foundation, which is launching a campaign to encourage people to up their heart rate for 30 minutes a day, says that someone dies every 15 minutes as a direct result of physical inactivity.

The government recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five times a week.

Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said it made for depressing reading but confirmed what had been shown in clinical trials, where even those who had a heart attack did not change their lifestyles.

“Children instinctively exercise when left to their own devices, but they don’t because they’re stopped from doing that by the school curriculum and parents scared of child abductors and murderers lurking on every corner.

“So, if it doesn’t become a habit, you’re not going to work hard to go against the tide and introduce it as an adult.”

He added that exercise could be incorporated into everyday life.

“Physical activity and obesity are too different risk factors, so even if you’re lean, if you’re inactive you increase your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease,” he said.

Heart attack screening for siblings could save lives

Glasgow: Premature heart attacks could be prevented if close relatives of victims were screened and treated, say experts at Glasgow University.

Siblings of those with premature heart disease – which occurs in men under 55 and women under 65 – have at least double the risk of developing problems. The siblings’ children also have an increased risk.

Specialists believe routine screening for those at higher risk should be looked at.

the UK’s Glasgow University, said: ‘Family history of coronary heart disease significantly increases risk of the disease in all firstdegree relatives.’

Common genetic factors are behind the extra risk. But doctors also blame a ‘shared lifestyle’ within families, such as eating similar unhealthy foods and smoking.

Using a series of calculations, doctors worked out that 88 per cent of premature heart attacks in those with a family history that were treated in England Wales and Scotland in 2004, could have been prevented through family screening.

Salt blamed for high blood pressure in 4-year-olds

London: Toddlers as young ad four years, are suffering from raised blood pressure because they are eating too many salty processed foods, UK researchers say.

Campaigners claim this puts youngsters at an increased risk of hypertension in later life – potentially leading to heart disease, strokes and an early death.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, was conducted by St George’s University Hospital in London, drew a direct correlation between the level of salt in the diet of children aged between four and 18 and higher blood pressure.

The findings will heap pressure on heart attacks and strokes could be prevented if Britons cut salt intake the manufacturers of children’s snacks and ready meals to reduce the salt levels in their recipes.

A single packet of instant noodles can contain more than the recommended daily maximum salt intake for a child aged four to six.

Just one pack of salt and vinegar crisps is likely to have more than a quarter of a child’s salt quota.

The study looked at the salt intake for more than 1,600 children and teenagers over seven days and then measured their blood pressure.

The study found that for each extra gram of salt eaten by the participants, there was a related 0.4mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure.

Children’s increasingly salty diets are also a source of concern because our food tastes are largely set in childhood. Consequently, those who develop a love of salty food when young tend to keep it in adulthood.

The UK Government experts recommend that children aged four to six should not be eating more than 3g of salt a day, while the figure for youngsters aged seven to ten is 5g.

However, many children are thought to be regularly consuming 9-10g of salt a day, which is up to three times the recommended maximum.

This pattern continues into adult life, when the recommended maximum is 6g of salt a day, but the average for men is 10.2g and 7.2g for women.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Graham MacGregor, said: ‘We know that salt acts as a chronic long-term toxin, slowly putting up blood pressure as we grow older.

“The rise in blood pressure is the major cause of death and disability in the UK.”

The Truth about Fats – by Flora



Did you know that FLORA spread was launched in 1964 when the bright minds in the government and medical profession came together and asked us to create a heart healthy alternative to butter, lard and hard margarines?

Since then we’ve kept working hard to create some of the heart healthiest yet tastiest spreads possible, which means we’ve learned a thing or two about good and bad fats. That’s why we thought we’d share what we’ve learned with you, so that you can unravel the myths surrounding fats and make the best choices to help keep your heart healthy.

Take polyunsaturated fats for example, which are important for maintaining a healthy heart as part of a balanced diet and are found in foods like seeds ,nuts & oily fish. The great news is that Flora spreads contain essential polyunsaturates, are low in saturates and are virtually trans fat free, so you can feel good about what you spread on your bread!


Even ‘lighter’ spreadable butters have at least 60% more saturated fat than Flora Light spread, which is low in saturated fat and is still a rich source of essential fatty acids. As a general rule of thumb, the harder the fat is at room temperature, the more saturated fat it contains, e.g. lard, butter & cheese, so try to ensure you don’t eat too much.


On the other hand, butter naturally contains trans fats, as well as saturated fats. As part of our commitment to improving the nation’s heart health, we’re committed to ensuring that the trans fat content of our products remains as low as possible. Both trans fats and saturated fats increase your levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, but trans fats are the superbaddies as they decrease your levels of ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol too.


And in the UK we eat more saturated fat than is good for us. The amount of butter normally spread on 2-3 slices of bread (20g) contains approximately 10g of saturated fat – that’s the same amount you’d find in 5 rashers of streaky
bacon! Whereas the same amount (20g) of Flora Original only contains 2.4g of saturated fat, that’s over 75% less than butter. Eating too much saturated fat can lead to increased cholesterol levels in the body, which has an adverse effect on heart health. All Flora spreads are low in saturated fat, virtually trans fat free and contain essential polyunsaturates so, as part of a balanced diet, they can help to keep your heart healthy.


Cholesterol deposits can start to build up in the arteries in early childhood, so it’s vital that children enjoy a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle right from the word go. The ‘good’ fats found in Flora spreads are not only essential for healthy growth and development now they can also help to maintain good heart health from childhood through to adulthood as part of a healthy balanced diet. So it’s never too early to start looking after your family’s heart health – visit nevertooearly.co.uk for more information.


There’s a whole range of Flora products for you and your family, created to suit your requirements and appeal to your taste. Flora Original and Light are firm family favourites. Flora Extra Light is perfect for people looking to cut back on their fat intake, Flora No Salt is for those cutting salt from their diet, while Flora Omega 3 Plus contains more of the most effective form of Omega 3 (EPA/DHA from fish) than any other spread, which is good for your family’s hearts as part of a healthy balanced diet. And if you just can’t do without the taste of butter, there’s even Flora Buttery Taste!

At Flora, we’re committed to helping you make the right choices, which is why we’ve introduced a simple panel of information across the Flora range. We want you to know exactly what you’re eating when you choose Flora, which is why we provide you with Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) information for certain nutrients. Take a look at the comparison between Flora Original and butter below, and you’ll see why it’s essential to have all of the facts in front of you when you’re choosing what to eat. For more information about GDAs, click on florahearts.co.uk

Statins may be new weapon against Alzheimer’s

Seattle: The family of anti-cholesterol drugs called statins and taken by millions around the world, can protect against Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.

An examination of brain tissue has provided the first direct evidence that statins – taken to prevent heart disease and strokes – can also ward off dementia and memory loss. The study is published in the American Journal of Neurology.

The new findings s come from a study of 110 brains – donated for medical research – at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The researchers led by Dr Gail Li examined the brains for changes linked to Alzheimer’s -including the creation of ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ made from the protein called beta amyloid.

These changes appear in the brain long before any symptoms of dementia develop. Eventually, they damage enough brain cells to trigger confusion, memory loss and eventually death. The researchers found far fewer tangles in the brains of people who had taken statins, compared to those who had not.

The findings were true even after age, sex and the history of strokes were taken into account. This is the first study to compare the brains of people who took statins with those who did not.

Dr Eric Larson, study co-author said: “These results are exciting, novel and have important implications for prevention strategies.”

Statins work by blocking the action of a chemical in the liver which is needed to make the ‘bad’ form of cholesterol, LDL. Reducing levels of bad cholesterol keeps blood vessels unclogged.

The researchers are not sure how statins also prevent the buildup of protein tangles in the brain. They suspect that a healthy flow of blood is a key factor.

Another study, five year’s ago at Boston University found that statins may cut the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 79 per cent, even in people with a family history of the disease. Some small- scale studies have found an apparent link between statins and cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Other studies, however, suggest that the drugs can ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

Nine in 10 risk high blood pressure

London: About ninety per cent of Britons are at risk from high blood pressure increasing their risk of heart disease, strokes and kidney failure if current rates continue, according to a new report in the medical magazine The Lancet.

The report claims that poor lifestyle choices such as alcohol abuse, smoking, a salt rich diet and lack of exercise have seen the incidence of high blood pressure soar.

High blood pressure also known as hypertension is also being diagnosed in adolescents and children and a global epidemic is being predicted.

Obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, a poor diet and a lack of exercise all contribute to the condition.

The report says: “Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet with high processed and fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use, are at the heart of this increased disease burden, which is spreading at an alarming rate from developed countries to emerging economies such as India and China.

“Many patients still believe that hypertension is a disease that can be cured, and stop or reduce medication when blood pressure levels fall. Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack.

“Perhaps this message will make people think more carefully about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give preventative measures a real chance.”

High blood pressure is defined as a reading that exceeds 140/90 compared to a normal reading of about 120/80.

The first figure corresponds to the ‘surge’ of blood which occurs with each heart beat whilst the second is the ‘resting’ pressure between beats.

The medical experts also give advice on how best to treat high blood pressure.

They say that patients should take a combination of two or more drugs to control the hypertension plus statin drugs which will reduce cholesterol.

Life-saving heart podcast is a hit for British Heart Foundation


London: A podcast that could save lives is proving a huge success, sailing into the iTunes health chart top ten within 24 hours of being released.

The podcast has been produced by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) as part of today’s Chest Pain Awareness Day.

It is the first of its kind by the charity and it hopes it will save lives by helping people recognise heart attack symptoms and explaining why it’s important to call 999 promptly.

The podcast, which was created by Daisy Media, is available to download from the charity’s website – www.bhf.org.uk/doubtkills– It includes a nail biting mini-drama about a man suffering a heart attack, together with interviews from real life heart attack victims, that including:

Alec Keep, who was experiencing chest pain while driving home when he saw the BHF poster showing an image of a man with a tightened belt of skin around his chest and the words ‘a chest pain is your body saying call 999’. The advert prompted Alec to call 999 when he got home and had he not done so he would have died at home alone. Also interviewed is Lola Arch, one of the paramedics who attended Alec’s call out. She explains how they brought Alec back to life, and how glad they were that he called 999 so soon after suffering symptoms.

Kay McCaw, who dismissed her chest pain and was determined to get on with her day. It was a friend who encouraged her to get urgent medical help. She couldn’t believe it when doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack.

The podcast also includes advice from Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the BHF, on how to recognise symptoms and why it is so important to call 999 immediately.

Professor Weissberg says: “Calling 999 immediately is the only option when you have a heart attack because the second the artery blocks, which is the cause of the heart attack, heart muscle cells start to die. The longer it takes to get that artery open again, the more heart muscle will die, and therefore the more damage will be done permanently to the heart.

“Another reason why you should call 999 immediately is there is a high risk of having a cardiac arrest. If you have an ambulance crew standing by with a defibrillator they can put you back into a normal rhythm, and then you can go on to hospital and be treated as normal. If there’s nobody there with that expertise, then your heart will stop beating and you will die.

“By far the most common symptom for a heart attack is chest pain, but sometimes it doesn’t always occur in the middle of the chest. It can be in the back between the shoulder blades, sometimes it can just be in the arms, other people experience a bad pain in the jaw or the neck. The real message is that if something unpleasant is happening to you somewhere near the chest and you can’t explain it then you’d be wise to call 999.”

Visit www.bhf.org.uk/doubtkills to download the podcast, and for more information about the campaign.

The British Heart Foundation has launched This is the podcast that really could save your life…

To find out why calling 999 immediately if you feel chest pain is so important, please download our free podcast.

Central chest pain is the most common warning sign of a heart attack – but it does not have to be excruciating to be a serious problem.

Your heart is a powerful muscular pump that drives blood around your body.

To keep your heart healthy, the heart muscle needs to get a constant supply of oxygen-containing blood from the coronary arteries.

A heart attack happens when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries around the heart and a part of the heart muscle does not get an adequate supply of blood.

This sudden lack of blood supply can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle. It can also cause an irregular heart beat and sudden death.

A heart attack can happen at any time of the day or night. It can be brought on by intense physical or emotional stress, but equally can happen out of the blue when you are resting.

Read our FAQ section for more on chest pain and heart attacks

Further information on the causes of heart attacks, diagnosis and treatment can also be found at bhf.org.uk

Diet drinks linked to metabolic disorders

New York: Diet drinks (sodas) may be linked to a number of diseases including metabolic syndrome- high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, a big waist, high triglycerides (a blood fat) and low HDL (good) cholesterol.

Metabolic syndrome is believed to be a risk factor for heart disease, according to the report published in the Journal of Circulation

Researchers collected food questionnaires from about 6,000 middle-aged people over several years. Those who drank less than one soda per day were about half as likely to develop metabolic syndrome as those who drank more than one.

Previous studies have suggested (but not proven) that drinking soda may be a marker for a number of factors this study didn’t fully account for:

* an unhealthy lifestyle generally (some of which was controlled for in this study)
* an increased taste for sweet foods triggered by sweet-tasting beverages, regardless of the source of the sweetness (this is only a hypthesis)
* lower economic status (Soda is cheaper than many healthier beverages, meaning people with less money–whom other studies have suggested are at higher risk for heart disease–are more likely to drink them.)

Other researchers have suggested that drinking diet soda is a marker for a desire to lose weight, which could explain why those who drink diet soda appear to be at elevated risk of metabolic syndrome.

New report looks at ways to promote walking

People can be encouraged to walk for up to 30-60 minutes more per week if they are given the right kind of help, finds a study published on www.bmj.com today. This could make a valuable contribution to improving public health.

Physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer of the colon, write David Ogilvie and colleagues for the Scottish Physical Activity Research Collaboration (SPARColl). Walking is a free and convenient way to be active, and most people can continue walking into old age. Promoting walking could therefore help tackle the health problems linked to today’s inactive lifestyles.

The authors reviewed 48 studies of different approaches to promoting walking. The most successful were tailored to people’s needs and targeted at sedentary people or at those most motivated to change. These increased walking in the target groups by up to 30-60 minutes a week on average, at least in the short term. Given how little exercise most people take, this amounts to a substantial increase, say the authors.

The authors found that walking could be encouraged in a variety of ways. Examples included giving face to face advice or telephone support, using pedometers, or promoting walking as an environmentally friendly mode of transport. Different people may respond to different approaches, say the authors. One size may not fit all, and a range of options should be offered, they conclude.

Click here to view the full article: www.presspssprings.co.uk

British scientists invent jab to end high blood pressure

London: A jab to control high blood pressure has been invented by British scientists.

A third of all adults suffer from high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Now Cheshire-based Protherics has created a vaccine, based on a protein found in limpets, which would require patients to have a three-jab course with a booster every six months.

The jab which has already been trialed successfully on humans is is a viable alternative to the current treatment where pills are given. The limpet protein in the new jab attacks a hormone called angiotensin which raises blood pressure by narrowing arteries.

Protherics is planning trials of an improved version of the jab, which is ten times more effective at stimulating the immune system than its original formula.

People who have tried it have suffered few side-effects, although one in ten did complain of a brief, flu-like illness.

A successful jab would guarantee its manufacturers a healthy share of the $24bn (£12bn)spent around the world annually on blood pressure medicines.

Ideally, patients would be given an initial course of three injections, with a week or fortnight between each jab. A booster shot every six months, or even once a year, would keep blood pressure low. The jabs will be offered privately rather than on the UK’s NHS public health service.

Another company, the Swiss firm Cytos Biotechnology is developing a similar vaccine using an empty virus shell to spur the immune system into action.

Zurich-based Cytos, which is also developing anti-smoking, obesity and flu vaccines, has already shown that its jab is effective at lowering blood pressure.

But the reduction was less than that achieved by tablets already available on prescription. Further trials are due to later this year.

In time, the vaccine may be given to ward off problems in young men and women with a family history of heart disease.

Various blood pressure tablets already on the market work by targeting angiotensin, either by cutting production of the hormone or by stopping it from working properly. But many people stop taking the daily tablets simply because there are no obvious signs that they are boosting their health.

Others give up after suffering side effects. Beta blockers, a major type of blood pressure pill, can cause fatigue, cold hands and feet, nausea, diarrhoea and impotence. They have also been linked to the risk of stroke.

Heart risk women should be on statins, say experts

Dallas: Women with a “moderately high risk” of heart problems should be prescribed the anti-cholesterol drugs called statins, according to a leading expert.

Professor Scott Grundy from the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center argues in the British Medical Journal that women should not be ruled out simply because of their gender.

The drugs are designed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol linked to heart disease called LDLs. While many studies have found that statins can prevent heart disease in men, the case for women is much less conclusive.

However, lack of evidence for their effectiveness on women in part because women make up only 16 per cent of those who take part in statins trials has led some experts to argue against their use.

Yet he said there was already general agreement that both men and women at high risk of heart disease should get intensive drug therapy.

Professor Grundy wrote: ‘Until a large-scale clinical trial is carried out to test the efficacy of cholesterollowering in women at moderately high risk, drug therapy should be avoided in most lower risk women.

‘But in those with multiple cardiovascular risk factors and who are projected to be a moderately high risk, use of drugs should not be ruled out.’

HRT blamed for 1,000 ovarian cancer deaths

London: Women taking hormone replacement therapy are 20% more likely to suffer from ovarian cancer, claims a new report. More more than 1,000 women died in the last 15 years after contracting ovarian cancer following hormone replacement therapy it says.

The study published in the latest issue of The Lancet medical journal etimates that 70 deaths a yar are connected to taking the therapy which is dogged with controversy and confusion.

US researchers recently produced evidence to suggest that women int heir 50s on HRT are protected from heart attachs and premature death. This contradicted earlier claims that it put women at risk of heart disease.

This latest study, sponsored by Million Women Study, was started in 1996 suggests that more than 1,300 extra cases of ovarian cancer occured between 1991 and 2005. Of these women, 1,000 died of the disease. It reveals a 20 per cent increase in risk of the disease in women who have taken HRT for at least five years, but says it does not persist if women give up. The study, largely funded by Cancer Research UK, looked at responses from 948,576 postmenopausal women over seven years. It has previously linked HRT with breast cancer.

Overall the statistics mean that over a five-year period there is likely to be one extra case of ovarian cancer among every 2,500 women receiving hormone replacement therapy. For every 3,300 women on HRT, there is estimated to be one additional death from ovarian cancer.

HRT prescribed by the UK’s National Health Service is artificially made hormone replacement usually made from mare’s urine. It is used to combat symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes, vaginal dryness and night sweats, with a range of drugs including tablets, implants and patches.

Safety concerns led to drug regulatory authorities in the UK and other countries issuing restrictions, including the advice to use it for the shortest time possible, which have continued to deter women from getting treatment. It has been blamed for both womb and breast cancer.GP data shows the number of British women on HRT halved from two to one million between 2002 and 2005.

Secondhand smoke – the invisable killer – new government ad campaign launches

London: Secondhand smoke is an “invisible killer”, according to a shocking new advertising campaign, launched by Public Health Minister Caroline Flint today. Nearly 85 per cent of tobacco smoke is invisible and odourless, but it causes just as much harm to people’s health as the smoke that is visible(i).

In the TV advert, which will be broadcast on UK TV from Monday 5 March, pervasive, dark smoke curls around guests at a wedding reception revealing the actual amount of smoke emitted by a single cigarette. And the smoker’s well intentioned attempts to blow or waft smoke away from non-smokers does not reduce the potential risk of secondhand smoke to health. The ads make this “invisible killer” visible in this family celebration. The TV commercial will be supported by press, online and outdoor advertising from 5 March.

Whilst most smokers and non-smokers believe secondhand smoke can cause harm, a new survey released today to support the campaign shows over half of smokers continue to smoke in a room with adult non-smokers, and a further quarter will still smoke when they’re near children(ii).

Secondhand smoke contains around 4,000 different chemicals. It can increase your chance of developing lung cancer and heart disease and can also cause a variety of serious health conditions including respiratory disease and cot death in children(iii). It’s made up of both side stream smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette, and mainstream smoke exhaled by the smoker. Side stream smoke accounts for nearly 85 per cent of the smoke in a smoky environment and contains a much higher concentration of toxins, such as hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide.

Launching the new campaign Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said:

“Smoking is harmful not just to smokers but to the people around them. What this new campaign brings home very clearly is the full impact of secondhand smoke. 85 per cent of smoke may be invisible and odourless but it is still damaging people’s health. Wafting and blowing away smoke may seem like the right thing to do but in reality, it makes little difference to the amount of secondhand smoke inhaled by people around you.

“With England going Smokefree on 1st July, there has never been a better time to stop smoking. We have already exceeded our three-year target to help 800,000 people quit by 2005/6, and still more and more people are successfully kicking the habit.”

Professor Jarvis, University College London commented: “Children are particularly affected by breathing the poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke, because their bodies are still developing. Their bronchial tubes and lungs are smaller and immune systems less developed, making them more vulnerable to the toxins in smoke. Despite smokers’ efforts to blow their smoke away, or to not sit near children, they are still causing harm. People need to see secondhand smoke for the invisible killer that it is.”

Mikis Euripides, Asthma UK’s Assistant Director of Policy & Public Affairs said: ‘For people with asthma the effects of smoking can be deadly. 82% of people with this serious condition tell us that other people’s cigarette smoke triggers their asthma and many cannot go out to bars and clubs without the fear of a fatal asthma attack. About 800,000 people with asthma in England are also smokers themselves(iv), increasing their risk of asthma symptoms, asthma attacks and permanent damage to the airways.”

The ads will run until 8th April coinciding with National No Smoking Day on Wednesday 14th March: nosmokingday.org.uk

The best way to protect your family and other adults from secondhand smoke is to stop smoking. For further information phone the NHS Smoking Helpline free on 0800 169 0 169. Smokers who want to quit can also find details of their local NHS Stop Smoking Service by visiting gosmokefree.co.uk texting ‘GIVE UP’ and their full postcode to 88088 or asking at their local GP practice, pharmacy or hospital.

The NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 169 0 169) provides expert, free, and friendly advice to smokers and those close to them. Since its launch it has received over one million calls and a year after first calling the helpline, nearly a quarter of callers said they had successfully stopped and were still not smoking. Advisors can also refer callers to a local NHS Stop Smoking Service offering ongoing free face-to-face support and advice near their own home. There are over 170 throughout the country, offering a range of services including one-to-one meetings and group discussions with trained cessation advisors. Government research shows that smokers are up to four times more likely to stop successfully if they use their local NHS Stop Smoking Service together with NRT than they are if they use willpower alone.

Quitters can also sign up to a new website: justgiving.com/smokefree and quit smoking whilst raising money for a charity of their choice. The NHS also offers an interactive cessation support programme, Together, which helps smokers to quit by providing advice at key stages of the giving up process through a range of communication methods including email, text messages, mailings and phone calls.

Sources for statistics
(i) Chief Medical Office Annual Report 2003/US Surgeon General. The Health Consequences of Smoking: Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, 1984.

(ii) 90% of UK population believes secondhand smoke can cause harm. However 56% smokers will still smoke in a room with adult non-smokers and 24% smokers will still smoke in a room with children. Research conducted amongst 1,600 adults aged 16-74 in England by BMRB’s Access Omnibus survey, Feb 2007.

(iii) Secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer by 24% and heart disease

by 25%. Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) report, 2004.

(iv) 23% of adults with asthma in England are smokers (National Asthma Panel 2006) based on England adult population of 3.49 million with asthma

Brits – the fattest in Europe, says new survey

London: Brits are the fattest people in Europe, says a new survey by the European Union’s Statistical Office, Eurostat.

A quarter of women and a fifth of men in the UK are now so overweight that their health is at serious risk. Second and third place go to Germany and Malta.

British women head the EU league, with 23 per cent clinically obese, and men fare little better, with 22.3 per cent classified as obese behind only Malta.

The figures highlight the obesity timebomb of ageing diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases brought on by obesity.

German women have an obesity rate of 21.7 per cent and Maltese women 21.2 per cent. The thinnest women are in Italy, where fewer than 8 per cent are obese.

The highest rate of male obesity is in Malta, with 25.1 per cent obese. British men are second with a rate of 22.3 per cent, followed by Hungary and Germany. Romania has the best record on male obesity, with just 7.7 per cent obese.

Measured by calculating Body Mass Index – a mathematical formula relating height to weight – people are classified as obese if they weigh a fifth more than their ideal maximum weight.

The EU statisticians looked only at adult obesity, but previous studies have shown rates of child obesity are equally worrying. In Britain the figures have trebled in 20 years, with 10 per cent of six-year-olds and 17 per cent of 15-year-olds now obese.

Adult obesity rates have nearly quadrupled over the last 25 years, making Britain the second-fattest nation in the developed world, trailing behind only America.

Obesity causes 9,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS up to £1billion.

Being obese can take nine years of a person’s lifespan and raise the risk of a host of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, infertility and depression.

The risk of many cancers, including breast, colon, kidney and stomach cancer, are linked to weight.

Doggie diet pill gets approval

New York: A diet pill for dogs has been given approval by the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration.

This allows qualified US veterinarians to precribe it to pets who have a weight problem. It costs around £1 a day to administer.

Manufacturer Pfizer is also waiting for approval from the European Medicines Agency.

The new drug called Slentrol, which is given in liquid form, is said to reduce a dog’s appetite and fat absorption and was shown to reduce weight by 18% and 22% in a clinical trial. But it can have side effects including diarrhoea.And it must not be taken by humans as it can cause liver damage.

Veterinarians estimate that about 40% of dogs in Britain and America are overweight. A survey last year found 81% of British vets considered obesity to be the biggest health threat facing dogs. It is linked with similar problems to humans such as heart disease and obesity.

In the US trials dogs lost about 3% of their weight a month without changing their diets.

Two drinks a day helps reduce blood pressure in men

Amsterdam: Two alcoholic drinks a day can help men reduce high blood pressure, according to scientists.

As well as the traditional methods of getting healthier body markets such as taking more exercise and cutting amounts of saturated fats and sat, a drink is also recommended following research carried out by Joline Beulens of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

This latest discovery adds to the mounting evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol are good for health. Wine, for example, contents anti-oxidants, that may have protective qualities and lead to a longer life.

Miss Beulens examined data on 11,711 men with high blood pressure and their incidence of heart attacks, heart disease and stroke between 1986 and 2002. During this period there were 653 heart attacks of which 279 were fatal. Every four years participants filled out a questionnaire including details of how often they drank beer, red wine, white wine and spirits.

The scientists found that the chances of suffering a heart attack were lower among men who consumed one or two drinks a day – one drink was defined as a single glass of wine or a single shot of spirits.

Men, however, are urged not to drink more as this increases blood pressure and heart attack incidence.
However she urged men not to have three drinks a day, as this increases their blood pressure and risk of an attack. ‘Our findings are not a licence to overindulge.’

Dieters cut calories rather than exercise

London: Dieters prefer to count calories rather than take the healthier exercise option, says a new poll from pharma giant, GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare.

Twice as many dieters count calories to lose weight rather than exercise, a poll has found. And this diet loss method if more poplar with women than men.Calorie counting is most popular with women – half opt to count their food intake, compared with a third of men.

Surprisingly 59% of the 2,000 people surveyed by GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare realised exercise makes the greater contribution to personal health.

More choice in low-calorie foods means people are giving up exercise in favour of consuming less, nutritionists say.

John Brewer, GSK Sports Scientist, said: “The trend of people swapping the gym for a low calorie meal is very worrying.

“Consuming fewer calories is no substitute for exercise. We cannot afford to become a nation of calorie-counting couch potatoes – the benefits of leading active lives are enormous.”

Graham Neale of GSK Nutritional Healthcare said diet food manufacturers had a responsibility to consumers.

He said: “With food and drink manufacturers broadening their ‘diet’ ranges, we need a concerted effort to encourage consumers to focus as much on ‘energy out’ as ‘energy in’.”