Western diet cause of most heart attacks

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New York: A Western diet rich in fried foods, salt and meat accounts for 35 per cent of heart attacks worldwide, researchers say.

They said their findings support evidence that animal fat and junk food can lead to heart attacks.

“This study indicates that the same relationships that are observed in Western countries exist in different regions of the world,” says the study’s senior author, Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.

The study published in the current issue of the journal Circulation, examined 16,000 people in 52 countries, and analysed 5,761 cases of heart attack.

Participants gave blood samples and filled in detailed diaries on what they ate between February 1999 and March 2003. Depending on what participants reported, they were divided into three dietary groups.

The report found that:

* People who consumed the “prudent” diet of more fruits and vegetables had a 30 per cent lower risk of heart attack compared with people who ate few or no fruits and vegetables.
* People who consumed the “Western” diet had a 35 per cent greater risk of having a heart attack compared with people who consumed few fried foods and little meat.
* The “Oriental” diet, which is loaded with tofu but also high in salty soy sauce, showed no relationship with heart attack risk.

The results clarify that it’s the eating of Western food that drives up the risk of heart attacks, rather than other lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, Yusuf and his colleagues say.

“Diet is serious for the individual, but also if we can make population-level changes, we can prevent a lot of heart attacks, using, you know, relatively simple measures,” said study author Dr. Sonia Anand, a medical professor at McMaster.

Also on Monday, a series of reports published in the medical journal the Lancet concluded that worsening diets and unhealthy habits in China are contributing to a looming health crisis in the increasingly wealthy country.

“The pace and spread of behavioural changes including changing diets, decreased physical activity, high rates of male smoking and other high-risk behaviours has accelerated to an unprecedented degree,” one report says.

The journal said 177 million Chinese adults suffer from hypertension, which it blamed in part on high salt consumption.

“People don’t want to eat boring when they eat healthy,” says Julie Lau of the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation in Vancouver. Lau consults with large restaurant chains to help them offer healthier choices.

“They want to have lots of flavour, so we tried to recreate the flavour without using a lot of salt, without using a lot of fat.”

Yusuf’s study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario; the International Clinical Epidemiology Network; and unrestricted grants from several pharmaceutical companies.

Breast milk reduces heart attack risk

London: Scientists have discovered another reason why breast is best – it can lower your blood cholesterol in later life, according to research from St George’s, University of London funded by the British Heart Foundation.

The study discovered that exposure to breast milk in the first months of life may reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of developing heart disease in adult life.

The findings are based on a review of data from over 17,000 participants (4,608 were formula-fed and 12,890 were breast-fed) showing adults who had been breastfed had a lower mean total blood cholesterol than those who had been fed formula. It concludes that early exposure to the high cholesterol content of human milk affects long-term cholesterol metabolism, which may modify risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.

The meta-analysis is to be published in the American Journal of Clinical NutritionÂ’s (ACJN) August edition.

Study author Dr Chris Owen, Epidemiologist at St GeorgeÂ’s, University of London, is an expert in cardiovascular risk factors in childhood, and works in the Division of Community Health Sciences.

He says: “The paper concludes that initial breastfeeding, particularly when exclusive, is associated with lower blood cholesterol concentrations in later life, compared to initial formula feeding.”

Dr Owen said there is substantial evidence to suggest that human milk does provide long-term, protective health benefits, breastfeeding should be advocated, when possible, as the preferred method of feeding in early life.

“This study provides further evidence that breast feeding has long-term health benefits. Apart from all its other effects, it appears to lower blood cholesterol in later life. The results also suggest that formula feeds should match the context of breast milk as closely as possible – any attempt to reduce the fat content of formula feeds could be counter-productive” said Dr Owen.

Primary Article Reference

Owen CG, Whincup PH, Kaye SJ et al. Does initial breastfeeding lead to lower blood cholesterol in adult life? A quantitative review of the evidence. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008; 88:305-314.

About St George’s
St GeorgeÂ’s, University of London is the only institution to provide training to a full range of more than 2,600 healthcare and sciences students on one site. As well as providing courses in medicine and biomedical sciences, the college also offers courses in midwifery, nursing, physiotherapy, radiography and social work in conjunction with Kingston University. The school is dedicated to promoting by excellence in teaching, clinical practice and research, the prevention, treatment and understanding of disease. It is extremely active in research and has a high reputation in areas such as infection, diseases of the heart and circulation, cell signalling and epidemiology. Other areas of expertise include genetics, health and social care sciences and mental health.

Mediterrean diet cuts diabetes risk

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Madrid: A Mediterranean diet that includes fruit, vegetables, fibre and healthier fats may protect against type two diabetes, a new study suggests.

The study monitored the eating habits of 14,000 Spaniards over a four year period to see who developed the condition.

The results indicated a 83% lower risk for those who followed the diet, the British Medical Journal reported.

The traditional lifestyle of the Mediterrean includes regular exercise, but also plenty of fish, fruit and vegetables, usually cooked in olive oil, and red wine.

This diet has already been shown to be good for heart health. In addition olive oil helps control blood sugar and lower blood pressure.

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

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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 smokersÂ’ 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 ÂŁ15 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 peopleÂ’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.

The Truth about Fats – by Flora

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MYTHS AND TRUTHS – FLORA FAT FACTS – UNCOVERED

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

MYTH
ALL FAT IS BAD FOR YOU
TRUTH
SOME FATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU
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!

MYTH
‘LIGHTER’ PRODUCTS ARE ALWAYS BETTER FOR YOU
TRUTH
‘LIGHTER’ SPREADABLE BUTTERS ARE HIGH IN SATURATES

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.

MYTH
ALL SPREADS ARE FULL OF TRANS FATS
TRUTH
FLORA SPREADS ARE VIRTUALLY TRANS FAT FREE

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.

MYTH
USING BUTTER WONÂ’T DO ME ANY HARM
TRUTH
BUTTER IS HIGH IN SATURATED FAT

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 – thatÂ’s the same amount youÂ’d find in 5 rashers of streaky
bacon! Whereas the same amount (20g) of Flora Original only contains 2.4g of saturated fat, thatÂ’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.

MYTH
ONLY OLDER PEOPLE NEED TO THINK ABOUT HEART HEALTH
TRUTH
WE ALL NEED TO THINK ABOUT HEART HEALTH

Cholesterol deposits can start to build up in the arteries in early childhood, so itÂ’s vital that children enjoy a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle right from the word go. The ‘goodÂ’ 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 itÂ’s never too early to start looking after your familyÂ’s heart health – visit nevertooearly.co.uk for more information.

DID YOU KNOW?

THERE IS A FLORA PRODUCT TO SUIT EVERYONE.
ThereÂ’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 familyÂ’s hearts as part of a healthy balanced diet. And if you just canÂ’t do without the taste of butter, thereÂ’s even Flora Buttery Taste!

DID YOU KNOW?
ITÂ’S NOW EVEN EASIER TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES.
At Flora, weÂ’re committed to helping you make the right choices, which is why weÂ’ve introduced a simple panel of information across the Flora range. We want you to know exactly what youÂ’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 youÂ’ll see why itÂ’s essential to have all of the facts in front of you when youÂ’re choosing what to eat. For more information about GDAs, click on florahearts.co.uk

Pine bark may help menopause symptoms

Stockholm: A study to be published in a forthcoming edition of the Scandinavian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reveals that Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), pine bark extract from the French maritime pine tree, reduces “climacteric symptoms” such as hot flashes, depression, panic attacks, cholesterol and other common symptoms associated with women entering the perimenopause.

The results suggest Pycnogenol® may serve as an alternative treatment to estrogen replacement therapy, which is the most common remedy of pre-menopause (“perimenopausal”) symptoms.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, perimenopause is the natural part of aging that signals the ending of a womanÂ’s reproductive years. It marks the time when a womanÂ’s body begins its move into menopause and can last anywhere from two to eight years.

“Pycnogenol® was chosen for this study due to previous research revealing health benefits associated with cognitive function, skin elasticity, nitric oxide stimulation, free radical scavenging and the broadening of antioxidant activity,” said Dr. Peter Rohdewald, Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Germany’s University of Munster and a lead researcher of this study. “Achieving these health benefits is key to treating perimenopausal symptoms naturally.”

The randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study was conducted at Ham-Ming Hospital in Taiwan with 155 perimenopausal women. Each day, patients either received 200 mg Pycnogenol® or placebo, and recorded their symptoms using the Women’s Health Questionnaire (WHQ). The WHQ consisted of the following: somatic symptoms, depressed mood, vasomotoric symptoms, memory/concentration, attractiveness, anxiety, sexual behavior, sleep problems and menstrual symptoms.

Additionally, patients visited the clinic at one, three and six months following start of treatment. At each visit, BMI, blood pressure, lipid profile and total antioxidant status were recorded. After six months, LDL (bad) cholesterol dropped by 10 percent with Pycnogenol® treatment compared to placebo. Patients who supplemented with Pycnogenol® also had increased antioxidant levels compared to the placebo group.

During treatment, rapid improvement of symptoms was reported from the Pycnogenol® group after one month. All symptoms of the WHQ improved significantly compared to the start of treatment, and patients did not report unwanted side effects. In the placebo group, no significant changes of symptoms were recorded.

“There is a shift away from the use of hormone replacement therapy due to side effects and in its absence women are searching for safe and natural options to help manage their symptoms. This study investigating Pycnogenol® as a potential natural alternative is very encouraging in view of the safety of Pycnogenol® as it does not bear any hormone-like activities at all,” said Dr. Rohdewald.

Numerous other published studies reveal Pycnogenol’s® effectiveness for women’s health, such as relieving menstrual pain and endometriosis, and it is patent-protected for this application. Additional studies reveal Pycnogenol® is a natural anti-inflammatory, which provides the basis for the rationale to use Pycnogenol® to naturally moderate inflammatory pain sensation involved in menstruation.

Pycnogenol® is available from pharmacies and health food stores nationwide priced from £9.99 for 30 capsules. For further information please visit www.pycnogenol.com

Notes to editors:
About Pycnogenol®:
Pycnogenol® is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the Maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol® is available in more than 600 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information or a copy of this study, visit www.pychnogenol.com

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.

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.’

A cholesterol busting breakfast…

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London: The British Heart Foundation reports that 2,350 women will die of heart disease as a result of high cholesterol every week; around 123,000 deaths a year. But now a new tasty breakfast cereal, Kellogg’s Optiva, offers a simple and enjoyable step towards cholesterol reduction.

Addressing cholesterol may be on most people’s “to do” list for tomorrow, but taking active steps today could mean less to worry about in the future. Starting the day with a bowl of Kellogg’s Optivita can be your first step.

Kellogg’s Optivita is made with oat bran, the naturally active fibre found in oats, which acts like a sponge, soaking up and subsequently removing ‘bad’ cholesterol from the body.

Made with crispy wholegrain oat bran flakes and delicious clusters, KelloggÂ’s Optivita is available in two varieties; Raisin Oat Crisp with sweet juicy raisins and Berry Oat Crisp containing freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrants.

Cholesterol & Heart Disease Facts:

1. High cholesterol is the biggest factor in coronary heart disease

2. Heart disease is the biggest cause of death in the UK

3. Heart disease in women is 10 times more common than breast cancer

4. 70% of people over 45 have raised cholesterol

5. 10% of deaths from heart disease in the UK could be avoided if everyone lowered their cholesterol level, and this can be done through simply making some fundamental changes to their daily diet- visit www.choose-to-beat-cholesterol.com for useful ideas.

Michael Livingston, Director H·E·A·R·T UK suggests, “a healthy heart is one of the keys to enjoying a long and fulfilling life, and H·E·A·R·T UK would encourage everyone to better manage his or her cholesterol. Choosing to eat a breakfast cereal such as Kellogg’s Optivita which, as part of a healthy diet, could help to reduce your cholesterol levels and ensure a healthier heart for future.”

Research shows that people who eat breakfast tend to have lower cholesterol levels and are less likely to be overweight than those who skip breakfast.

According to Registered Nutritionist Cath MacDonald, “Eating fatty foods,

being overweight and a lack of regular physical activity can lead to raised blood cholesterol.”

“We all know that eating healthily and finding time to exercise can be difficult when a busy schedule gets in the way. But by making Kellogg’s Optivita a part of your daily breakfast routine, you’ll be taking a simple and easy step in the right direction to actively reduce your blood cholesterol levels.“

KelloggÂ’s Optivita contains all the cholesterol reducing benefits of oat bran, plus it has no added salt and is low in saturated fat. It is widely available in most major UK supermarkets. Optivita Raisin Oat Crisp is priced at ÂŁ2.59 and Optivita Berry Oat Crisp at ÂŁ2.89 for 375g.

For further information on managing cholesterol, general ways to ensure heart health and for access to inspiring success stories, visit the KelloggÂ’s Optivita website at: www.choose-to-beat-cholesterol.comThe website also invites people to share ideas on how to make a positive change in their lives through participating in online forums and receiving regular medical updates.

· H·E·A·R·T UK is a UK registered charity primarily concerned with the prevention and risk management of cardiovascular diseases with particular attention to inherited high cholesterol. For further information contact 01628 628 638 or email ask@heartuk.org.uk

· One 40g serving of Kellogg’s Optivita provides at least 1g of beta glucan soluble fibre found in oat bran, which is one quarter of 3g, the suggested daily intake, 30% more than any other cereal

· Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to narrowing and blockage of arteries, increasing the risk of developing coronary heart disease

10 Ways to Save your Husband’s Life

London: New research1 to coincide with World Heart Day 2006 finds men in midlife still taking HEALTH risks: 45% of men would wait until they were ill before taking action and changing their lifestyle and behaviour; Wives and partners could be the key to better health and longer life for men.

The inequality in life expectancy between men and women is growing wider
and men are falling behind at a faster pace than ever. In 1940 women outlived men by 4.4 years – today the average is nearly seven.2

The biggest cause of premature death in men is heart disease, despite being one of the most easily treated and, therefore, preventable causes of death. New research1 from healthcare company McNeil Ltd. highlights menÂ’s risk taking attitudes as they enter mid-life.

Particularly relevant for World Heart Day 2006 (24th September) is the important role men identify for wives and partners in helping them change engrained and often life threatening behaviour.

MenÂ’s behaviours and attitudes are threatening their health and happiness? Midlife does not seem to have affected menÂ’s ambition with 60% of men over 45 feeling they still had much to achieve, while nearly a third clearly stated feeling excited about entering a new stage of their lives.

Life is still good with 43% of the men surveyed claiming they had had sex in the last seven days! Men considered the biggest priority for their health over the next 20 years was keeping mentally capable, staying out of hospital and being
there for their kids. 45% of men would only be prompted into improving their health and changing unhealthy behaviour by becoming ill first – the idea of preventing potential problems through diet and behaviour is an anathema.

One third of men over 45 never exercise and 13% are perfectly happy
with the fact they are unfit and overweight – and as a consequence at
increased risk of heart attack. A quarter of men over 45 drink more than the weekly allowance of 21 units and over half were on some sort of medication, indicating a clear need for men to re-evaluate their health and lifestyle choices.

“The biggest killer of men is heart disease and too many men are dying from
this condition by failing to tackle their risks,” said Dr. Mike Ingram, GP and men’s health specialist.

“The risk of heart disease increases with age- while men might covet a sports car or motorbike during their ‘menoporsche’, if they want to enjoy a long and active life they need to focus more on reducing their risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Regardless of where you start, reduction of cholesterol through diet and the proven effectiveness of statins will reduce risk. “ Key to a healthy heart is wives and partners The research highlighted how wives and partners were regarded by men as key to becoming more proactive with their health. Men ranked their wives and partners as equal to GPs in prompting changes towards healthier behaviour.

“Considering men spend more time with their wives and partners than their local GP, there is clearly a role and responsibility for them to motivate the men in their lives to look after their health,” said Dr Mike Ingram.

“If men are going to enjoy the increasing trend of a healthy old age then changing risky behaviour as they reach their “male menopause” is the key. Time after time I see men at my surgery whose attendance has been due to their wives concerns. I know that their motivation and support will help change their behaviour and even avoid an untimely and premature death.”

McNeil Ltd., manufacturers of Zocor Heart Pro®, the over-the-counter pill that effectively reduces cholesterol, recommends the following 10 simple ways that wives and partners could actually help to save their husband’s
life.

Ten Ways to Save Your Husbands Life:
1. Know the warning signs : Changes in bowel or bladder habits; Recurrent chest pain; Unexplained weight loss or gain; Extreme fatigue; Ensure that he makes a GP appointment if he has any of these symptoms

2. Does he know his blood pressure? High blood pressure damages the blood vessels, heart and kidneys

3. Encourage him to check himself out with routine testicular checks.

4. Promote a healthy diet – encourage him to eat a healthy, low fat diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

5. Stop smoking – Create a new routine and rewards for milestones. NHS Quitline
recommends using nicotine replacement therapy at the same time as cutting
down on cigarettes, as it improves success.

6. Exercise regularly – give him encouragement, time and space to take exercise, or make it part of the family regime – little and often to start with

7. Reduce alcohol intake – do you know how much he drinks at home in the week – probably you wonÂ’t – show him the cans and bottles from a single weekÂ’s recycling if he is getting through more than 10 pints a week.

8. Be realistic about weight: be honest with your husband or partner
about whether he needs to lose weight and how much he needs to lose. The best way to do this is to follow a healthy low fat diet and regular gentle
exercise.

9. Reduce his cholesterol – get him to have his cholesterol levels checked and take appropriate steps to reduce it. If he is over 45 ask your pharmacist if he should take an OTC statin.

Be Patient – the goal of taking a more active role in menÂ’s health care is to
get your husband to take better care of himself, and to get the next generation of men to start building good habits. A small change can make
a big difference.

Heart attack is the single biggest cause of premature death in the UK and will account for 1 in 4 male deaths each year4. Raised cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart attack in men over 45. There is an estimated 8.8 million of people who are considered at moderate risk of a heart attack (10-15% chance) in the next 10 years3. While many in this group will be below the threshold that would make them eligible for prescription statins, the single most effective product that you can buy to reduce cholesterol before it becomes a problem is an over the counter statin from the pharmacist.

Zocor Heart-Pro® contains simvastatin, always read the leaflet. Consult
your pharmacist for advice. Zocor Heart-Pro® is suitable for men aged 55 or over. In addition it is suitable for men aged between 45 and 54, or women aged 55 or over if they have a one or more of the following risk factors: a family history of heart disease, smoke (current or within last 5 years), are overweight, or
have a family origin from South Asia. References: 1. TNS Onlinebus conducted 183 interviews with men aged 45-64 on 24th-27th August 2006 2. “19 Ways the Save Your Husband’s Life” By Armin Brott 3. Ipsos RSL Consumer Survey amongst 612 UK adults. July 2004. 4. British Heart Foundations Statistical Database. 2003.

Statins help stroke victims

Boston: Statins, the class of cholesterol-reducing drugs, has been shown to help stroke victims avoid further attacks.

According to a five year study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, high doses of statins cut the risk of a second stroke by 16 per cent.

Patients taking part in the study were given the drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) or a placebo.

Dr Larry Goldstein, of the Duke Stroke Centre in North Carolina, said the study demonstrated that treatment with a statin can reduce the risk of strokes in patients who have had a recent stroke and who have no known history of coronary heart disease.

Statins are used to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. This substance builds up inside arteries, damaging them and raising the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Studies suggest statins may also protect against blood clots, Alzheimer’s and eye disorders.

Cholesterol busting bread goes on sale

London: A cholesterol-cutting loaf has been launched by the supermarket chain Tesco in the UK.

The white loaf is fortified with oat bran, which is known to help reduce cholesterol and well as having a low GI.

The bread which costs 88p is being trialed at half of the supermarket’s stores around the country and will be available in all shops if a success. Tesco believes it will appeal to customers’ growing appetite for ‘healthy’ or ‘functional’ foods, enriched with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats such as omega 3.

Brown and multi-grain versions are likely to follow. The key ingredient is beta-glucan, a soluble fibre found in the oat husk, which capable of tricking the body into breaking down more cholesterol than usual.

Eggs the new superfood

London: Eggs blamed for raising levels of bad fats in the blood are now being labelled a “superfood” following new research.

According to a new report published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Bulletin they have no “significant impact” on heart disease or cholesterol levels and could actually protect against these health problems.

Dr Bruce Griffin of the University of Surrey’s school of biomedical and molecular science analysed 30 egg studies, among them one from Harvard University which showed people who consumed one or more eggs a day were at no more risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease than non-egg eaters.

Egg yolks contain cholesterol, but nutritionists now know it is the saturated fats in food, not dietary cholesterol, that raises blood cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart attacks.

Dr Griffin said that it was erroneous to view eggs soley in terms of their dietary cholesterol content and to ignore the potential benefits.

The British Nutrition Foundation says that one egg provides 13 essential nutrients, all in the yolk (egg whites contain albumen, an important source of protein, and no fat). They are also an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body, and also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development.

An egg’s vitamin E content protects against heart disease and some cancers; there’s also vitamin D, which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health. Eggs are rich in iodine, for making thyroid hormones, and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Teenage girls who eat an egg a day may give themselves additional protection against breast cancer in later life, according to a study in the journal Breast Cancer Research. It is the essential nutrients in eggs, such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals, that may be responsible for this protection.

Egg yolks contain the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which could help to prevent or even reverse the age-related eye problem macular degeneration (MD). This is one of the leading causes of blindness and occurs as a consequence of getting older — however, low lutein intake is implicated as a risk factor.

Eggs are also low in calories — a large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat — and other research suggests they can help you lose weight.

A study published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition looked at the breakfast habits of obese women. Scientists from the Wayne State University in Detroit found that when the women were given either an egg or bagel breakfast, each providing the same number of calories, the women eating the eggs felt fuller and consumed fewer calories overall in the following 24 hours.

Health experts used to recommend a maximum egg consumption of three a week to avoid a rise in blood cholesterol levels. But since evidence has shown that it is saturated fat intake that affects cholesterol, advice has changed.

According to the British Egg Information Service, storing eggs correctly is vital to maintaining their freshness and nutrient content. They advise buying eggs only from a reputable retailer, keeping them in the fridge in their box and eating by the use-by date.

Blood fat profile is a predictor of rheumatism, says new report

Amsterdam: An unfavourable ratio of blood fats could herald the development of the inflammatory joint disease rheumatoid arthritis up to 10 years later, suggests research published ahead of print in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

The authors base their findings on analysis of more than 2000 blood samples donated to a blood bank in The Netherlands.

They analysed the fat content of 1078 deep frozen blood samples from 79 people who had given blood between 1984 and 1999 and subsequently went on to develop rheumatoid arthritis 10 or more years later.

In particular, they looked at levels of total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (‘good’ cholesterol), triglycerides, apolipoproteins A and B, and lipoprotein (a).

The samples were then compared with those taken from 1071 randomly selected blood donors, matched for age, sex, and storage time.

They found that the samples of people who subsequently developed rheumatoid arthritis had a more unfavourable balance of circulating blood fats than the samples of those who did not develop the disease.

On average, total cholesterol was 4% higher, while high density lipoprotein levels were 9% lower. Triglycerides were 17% higher and apolipoprotein B was 6% higher.

Taken together, these figures also indicate an increased risk of ischaemic heart disease, in which the artery walls are thickened and hardened by fat deposits.

This might help to explain the link between an increased risk of cardiovascular disease among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, say the authors.

And they speculate that a poorer blood fat ratio might make a person more susceptible to inflammation or inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Contact:
Dr Michael Nurmohamed, VU University Medical Centre, Department of Internal Medicine and Rheumatology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Tel: +31 (0) 6 53 843 873 (mobile)
Emails: mt.nurmohamed@vumc.nl
Click here to view full paper: press.psprings.co.uk

Lower cholesterol vital to coronary health, says new US study

Boston: People born with lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol as a result of a genetic variation are less likely to suffer coronary heart disease later in life, a new US study has revealed.

In addition, another study has shown that beta glucan, a substance found in porridge oats does lower levels of LDL.

Researchers, in a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, analysed information from 12,000 subjects ages 45 to 64 who took part in an Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), which examined data from four communities in Mississippi, Minnesota, North Carolina and Maryland for 15 years.

They discovered that those with a genetic variation of a gene called PCSK9 had LDL levels to be about 40 mm/dL below average and were eight times less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those without the mutations. Subjects with genetic variations that produced a 20 mg/dL reduction in LDL compared to the average were two times less likely to develop heart disease.

The PCSK9 gene produces an enzyme that reduces the quantity of LDL receptors on the liverÂ’s surface which are responsible for removing bad cholesterol from the blood. The genetic mutation reverses this increasing the number of LDL receptors, therefore removing more bad cholesterol from the blood. Ironically, statin drugs, although they can lower cholesterol, may increase the production of the PCSK9 enzyme.

The study says: “These data indicate that moderate lifelong reduction in the plasma level of LDL cholesterol is associated with a substantial reduction in the incidence of coronary events, even in populations with a high prevalence of non-lipid-related cardiovascular risk factors. “

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition another study confirms the effect of beta-glucan on lowering cholesterol.

Researchers examined the effects of a beta-glucan–enriched fruit juice on serum lipids and lipoproteins and on markers of cholesterol absorption and synthesis. In addition, they measured effects on lipid-soluble antioxidants.

Healthy subjects were divided into two groups. The 22 subjects in the placebo group consumed a fruit drink providing 5 grams rice starch per day. The 25 subjects in the treatment group received a fruit drink with beta-glucan from oats for five weeks.

Exercise lowers cholesterol

London: Exercise lowers LDL “bad cholesterol”, a new study has discovered.

The Brunel University study also found that both fat and thin people who did not exercise both had high levels of LDL.

Leader researcher, physiologist Dr Gary O’Donovan said that many people believed that the only benefit of exercise was weight loss but being thin was not enough to protect people from unhealthy levels of blood cholesterol. Slim people also needed to exercise, he said.

High levels of LDL is associated with coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

UK’s foremost expert on hormones warns about the dangers of statins

London: One of BritainÂ’s foremost experts on hormones today warned of the dangers of statins, the cholesterol busting family of drugs.

Dr John Moran said that taking too much could deplete the body of vital hormones, such as testosterone and oestrogen, which are processed in the body from cholesterol.

Statins, not only deplete the body of cholesterol but also the beneficial natural substance, co-Enzyme Q10, an anti-oxidant and cellular energiser which is present in healthy hearts.

Dr Moran of the Holistic Medical Clinic in LondonÂ’s Wimpole Street was commenting on the recent decision by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to recommend that GPs prescribe statins to anyone with a 20 per cent chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years. Patients are also going to be able to buy statins across the counter.

Dr Moran, who specialises in advanced hormone replacement therapies for men and women said: “Taking too much of a statin could prevent the manufacture of vital hormones, such as testosterone which is responsible for a host of body functions, including sex drive. Patients should be aware that there are side effects, but anyone who has been prescribed statins should not stop taking them but consult their doctor, particularly those with diabetes or heart or stroke problems.

“One of my other concerns is that people will be able to buy statins over the counter and might not be aware of the consequences of taking the incorrect dose. In some people statins can raise liver enzymes to an unacceptable level which means the liver is not working efficieciently. They can also cause muscle aches and pains. On the whole statins are an amazing drug for preventing the risks of cardio-vascular disease but .”

Contact: John Moran RD, MBBS, DFFP, PG Dip.Nutri.Med at the Holistic Medical Clinic, London, W1 on 020 7935 4870 or mobile 07860 417874

Red grapefruit lowers cholesterol

Jerusalem: Eating one whole red grapefruit daily, decreases blood fat levels, researchers in Israel have discovered.

The researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem tested white and red grapefruit on patients who had not responded to the cholesterol-lowering group of drugs known as statins. All had undergone heart bypass surgery.

After 30 days it was found that those who had consumed red grapefruit had lowered levels of blood fats called lipids. Those who consumed white grapefruit also suffered a decrease but the effect was not as marked.

Magic bullet will drain world health budgets

Rotterdam:Treating everyone, or those at only moderate risk of cardiovascular disease, with the polypill would not save any money at all, even if the drug cost nothing to make, finds research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The “magic bullet” could drain global health budgets, unless it is carefully targeted and very cheap to manufacture, suggest the authors.

The formulation has not been tested out on large numbers of people, and how the various constituents will interact is as yet unknown, say the authors.

But in theory, the polypill, which combines aspirin, a statin, three blood pressure lowering agents, and folic acid into one tablet, has the potential to slash the risk of coronary artery disease by 88% and stroke by 80% in those aged between 55 and 64.

To calculate potential costs of widespread treatment with the polypill, the authors looked at differing levels of risk of developing coronary artery disease in different age groups, and medical and treatment costs.

They used data from the US Framingham Heart Study, which involved over 5,000 people aged between 28 and 62, who were monitored for heart disease and stroke in two year periods for almost half a century.

And they also used data from the Framingham Offspring Study, which involved monitoring the children and spouses of those in the original study every four to eight years.

Even if the polypill cost nothing, it would not save anything at all if given to everyone, irrespective of their risks of developing cardiovascular disease, or if given to those only at moderate risk, say the authors.

Giving the polypill to everyone over the age of 60 would produce the greatest health gains, the authors say. It would prevent between 76 and 179 heart attacks, and between 11 to 33 strokes, per 1000 people in this age group.

But to be cost effective, the annual expense of the polypill would have to be no more than £208 (€302) for those aged 50 and no more than £282 (€410) for those aged 60 at high risk of coronary artery disease, say the authors.

And this cost would need to be around three times lower for those at lower risk, they add.

The authors point out that irrespective of its value, treatment with the polypill “implies the medicalisation of a large section of the population,” as well as the risk of exposing healthy people to the risk of side effects.