Heart News

Here’s a rundown on some of the recent research findings on heart health…

Never too early
Whatever your age, your cholesterol levels and blood pressure are important for your future heart health.
Research has recently shown that the longer you have lived with high cholesterol the higher your risk of heart disease. The research results were published in the journal Circulation last month. They show that at age 55, if you’ve had high cholesterol for 1 to 10 years, you have double the risk of heart disease compared to people who had low cholesterol levels. If you’ve had high cholesterol for 11 to 20 years, you have quadruple the risk of heart disease compared to people who had low cholesterol levels
The study concluded that for every 10 years a person has borderline-elevated cholesterol between the ages of 35 and 55, their risk of heart disease increases by nearly 40 percent.
Another study on blood pressure suggests that young and middle-aged adults with systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or more (the first number in the blood pressure reading) may have an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney damage in future. Women with high systolic pressure were found to have a 55 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease than women with normal blood pressure. For men, the difference was 23 percent.
Accurate reading
We know that monitoring our blood pressure regularly is important, particularly for people with a history or risk of high blood pressure. And now there’s a more accurate way – ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. You wear the monitoring device all day as you go about your regular business. The device measures your blood pressure at regular intervals and stores the data. You keep a diary of your activity during the day, and doctors use the data from the monitor and the information in your diary to determine whether your blood pressure is high. Researchers found that the data gathered in this manner was up to 40 percent better at predicting future heart attacks, strokes and heart disease than individual blood pressure checks done in a doctor’s office.
Diet do’s and don’ts
Recent studies also provide information on diet do’s and don’ts for heart health. We have known that fruit is good for heart health, and now the results of a study from China emphasize just how important. The study found that people who ate more fruit decreased their risk of getting cardiovascular disease and lowered their blood pressure. Even just one additional portion per day helped lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another study established the value of eating avocados. The study found that people who ate a moderate-fat diet, and also ate an avocado every day, had lower bad cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day, and those on a lower-fat diet and no avocado a day. A study on alcohol consumption and heart health found that even people who only drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol benefit from reducing their alcohol consumption, while new research published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, found that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages daily in middle-age may raise your stroke risk more than traditional factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Calm mind, healthy heart
Everyone knows that daily exercise is good for the heart, but did you know that yoga has similar health benefits? Researchers at Harvard University found that people randomly assigned to take yoga classes saw improvements in their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. The calming effects of Yoga could be one of the reasons for the benefits. Certainly, stress is unhealthy. An interesting study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that people who are stressed out, as indicated by their angry communications on Twitter, are at increased risk of heart disease.

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