Your healthcare news library

Posts tagged ‘Heart Disease’

Hot Peppers Could Help You Live Longer

By Claire Nowak,

Good news, spicy food lovers. You may outlive the rest of us.

Hot peppers are the unofficial superfood we all need. They help you lose weightjumpstart metabolism, and stimulate endorphins as a proven aphrodisiac. And based on a new study, they harness one more superpower: immortality.

Okay, it’s not that drastic, but hot peppers may be able to increase your lifespan. Researchers from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont found that the consumption of hot red chili peppers (not to be confused with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is associated with a 13 per cent lower risk of death, especially concerning deaths caused by heart disease or stroke.

These findings are based on 23 years’ worth of data collected from more than 16,000 Americans. Those who ate any amount of hot red chili peppers, excluding ground chili peppers, were considered chili pepper consumers. After 23 years, the death rate of pepper-eaters (21.6 per cent) was lower than the death rate of participants who did not eat the peppers at all (33.6 per cent).

The authors behind this study aren’t sure why chili peppers could delay death, but it could have something do to with capsaicin (the primary component of chili peppers) and its receptors in the body called TRP channels. Capsaicin improves digestion, has antioxidant properties that fight infections, and may fight cardiovascular disease. Certain types of TRP channels may protect against obesity.

So the next time you’re debating what kind of salsa to buy, opt for the hottest flavour. It could give you some extra time on this lovely planet of ours.


Many S’poreans have misconception that heart disease is a man’s disease

A woman having her blood pressure checked.

Many Singaporeans have the misconception that heart disease is a man’s disease, even when figures in 2011 showed that 29.6 per cent of females died of cardiovascular disease as compared to 31.7 per cent of men.

SINGAPORE: Many Singaporeans have the misconception that heart disease is a man’s disease, said Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor on Saturday.


She noted that the misconception exists even when figures in 2011 showed that 29.6 per cent of females died of cardiovascular disease as compared to 31.7 per cent of men.

Dr Khor was speaking at a health event where the findings of the Women’s Heart Health Awareness survey were shared.

The survey, through telephone interviews, was conducted by the Singapore Heart Foundation. It covered 995 respondents, between 21 and 64 years of age.


The findings were presented at the Singapore Heart Foundation’s annual ‘Go Red For Women’ public symposium. The event called ‘What Every Women Needs To Know’ addressed lesser-known facts about heart disease.


The survey also showed that 37 per cent of respondents now own electronic blood pressure monitors, up from 30 per cent in 2009.


This indicated a higher level of awareness of blood pressure being a significant risk factor.


In addition, three-fifths of the respondents knew their good and bad cholesterol levels.

Most respondents (87%) understood that heart disease develops gradually over many years and can go undetected.


There was also a high level of agreement (88%) that exercise is one way to prevent or reduce risk of heart disease, followed by reducing stress (68%), reducing cholesterol (66%), and quitting smoking (61%).


The survey also showed that over 65 per cent of respondents exercise at least once a week.


But many women are still unaware that the onset of menopause increases the risk of heart disease, and that women and men experience different symptoms of a heart attack.

So to promote a healthy lifestyle for Singaporeans, the Health Ministry launched the Healthy Living Master Plan in March.


Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, said: “People always link healthy living to having the time. Many have shared that since they are working and have lots of things to do, they don’t have the time.


“As such, this is something we are working very closely, via the different agencies, to see how a healthy lifestyle can be natural and effortless. That means it’s at their doorstep. We want to make facilities very close to their home.”


According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, one area of concern is the level of health screening among Singaporeans.


So to encourage more Singaporeans to come forward to screen for their body fat, cholesterol and blood pressure, Nex shopping mall has set up a booth where they can do so for free this weekend.

– CNA/al

Heart disease: Drive to reduce deaths in Wales

Heart surgery

About 9% of adults in Wales are being treated for a heart condition

A new plan is being launched to help cut the 4,700 deaths a year from heart disease in Wales.

It includes looking at lifestyle, medication, faster detection, easier access to GPs and pharmacies, and more effective treatment.

The Welsh government says heart disease deaths are falling, but the death rate is still higher than England and it remains one of Wales’ biggest killers.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths is launching a three-month consultation.

The cardiac delivery plan is part of a major overhaul of the NHS called Together for Health.

Measures by 2016 will include new health checks for the over-50s and a pledge to redouble efforts on awareness of exercise, diet and smoking issues.

Ms Griffiths said: “There have been significant improvements to cardiac care in Wales in recent years.


  • 9% of adults report being treated for a heart condition (33% of over-65s and 12% of those 55-64)
  • 23% of adults report that they smoke
  • 57% are classed as overweight or obese, including 22% obese
  • 29% reported doing at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days in the previous week
  • Source: Statistics Wales – Welsh Health Survey 2011

“While fewer people die prematurely from heart attacks in Wales now, it still remains one of Wales’ biggest killers.

“We must do more to prevent avoidable cardiac disease, identify those at risk and manage that risk well. Where cardiac disease does occur, we want to focus on prompt diagnosis and the best treatment.”

The death rate from heart disease, although falling, remains higher in Wales than in England, although lower than in the north west and north east of England, areas with similar social-economic issues.

Dr Chris Jones, a cardiologist and medical director of NHS Wales, said coronary heart disease was a largely preventable condition, which increased in risk with age.

“That risk can be reduced by simple lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, drinking alcohol sensibly, exercising regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet to reduce the risk of obesity – a major contributory factor increasing the risk of diabetes and eventually cardiac disease,” he added.

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said he expected the plan to outline how the Welsh government would tackle early prevention and care of heart disease.


‘Silent diseases’ that are killing Malaysians

PUTRAJAYA: Many Malaysians are unaware that they have contracted non-communicable diseases (NCD) until it is too late.

.Director-general of Health Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman at the launch of the Health Awareness Camp organised by the Kuala Lumpur Nurses Board Club at the Presint 11 Community Centre in Putrajaya yesterday. Pic by Mohd Fadli Hamzah

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension are referred to as diet-related chronic diseases and are termed NCD. The list goes on, and includes cancer, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, gallbladder, and many more.

Director-general of Health Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said they were worried as the number of Malaysians suffering from this “silent diseases” or NCDs was increasing yearly.

“Malaysians do not realise that NCD can be controlled if detected early,” he said after launching the Health Awareness Camp organised by the Kuala Lumpur Nurses Board Club at the Presint 11 Community Centre here yesterday.

He said the number of Malaysians with undiagnosed NCD risk factors had increased alarmingly.

“For diabetes, there may be one undiagnosed patient for every patient diagnosed.

“For hypertension, for every patient diagnosed, there may be another three still undiagnosed.

“For high cholesterol, there may be three undiagnosed patient for every patient diagnosed.”

Thus, Dr Hasan said the ministry had embarked on awareness campaigns nationwide to educate and give citizens a chance to check for NCDs.

He said aside from the Health Awareness Camp organised by NGOs, the ministry had their own roadshows with 88 scheduled for this year covering Felda scheme areas, villages and towns.

“Our target is to detect the undiagnosed NCD patients and educate them on living a healthy lifestyle by exercising and taking the proper diet as well as to quit smoking.

“Currently, our health awareness camp are aimed at residential areas, but we are willing to work with any interested NGOs, association or corporate companies to educate their members or employees.”

According to WHO, one million people died yearly from NCDs caused by lack of physical exercise.

“The same statistics showed that one third of cancer patients can avoid that disease by eating healthily, maintaining the ideal body weight and doing physical exercise for a life time,” Dr Hasan said.

Read more: NST

Gum disease and heart disease — no link after all?

Gum disease, despite what we’re told, may not raise the risk of heart disease or strokes. But brush your teeth anyway. ( / April 18, 2012)


By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog

Gum disease — it raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, doesn’t it? We’ve long been told there’s a link. But here’s a statement put out Wednesday by the American Heart Assn.:

“Keeping teeth and gums healthy is important for your overall health,” the heart association’s statement begins. “However, an American Heart Association expert committee — made up of cardiologists, dentists and infectious diseases specialists — found no conclusive scientific evidence that gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, causes or increases the rates of cardiovascular diseases. Current data don’t indicate whether regular brushing and flossing or treatment of gum disease can cut the incidence of atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes.”

You can read the whole statement at the AHA website.

Knock me down with a feather. (Next scientists will be telling us that fish oil doesn’t help prevent heart attacks in people with heart disease … Oh wait, they just did.)

The statement, which comes after a review of 500 journal articles and studies, notes that there have been a lot of population studies that suggest a link between poor oral health and poor heart health, meaning people who have gum disease are also more likely than the Average Joe to have heart disease as well. And vice versa.

But the problem with population studies is that they don’t prove cause and effect, and the same lifestyle and/or physiological factors that contribute to gum disease may also contribute to heart disease. Such as smoking. Or older age. Or diabetes. Two separate conditions can develop at the same time, for the same root reason –- but that doesn’t mean that one caused the other.

And people who don’t look after their gums may also not look after their heart. The gold-standard clinical trials that would properly figure out the relationship — get a huge group of people, randomly select half of them to brush and floss diligently, let the others develop gum disease, then track the outcomes over years and years — would be expensive and unwieldy and aren’t likely to ever be done.

The American Dental Assn. on Scientific Affairs and the World Heart Federation both agree with the report’s conclusions.

But floss and brush your teeth anyway. There are other good reasons.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

Dental grads only need serve 2 years

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin looking at Mohd Ratiha Azaha having his teeth checked by Dr Azwinda Abdul Rashid at the launch of the Colgate Oral Health Month campaign yesterday. With her are Malaysian Dental Association president Dr Mohd Muzafar Hamirudin and Colgate-Palmolive marketing general manager John Hazlin.


PETALING JAYA: A study by the Health Ministry revealed that most young children below the age of 7 suffered from dental cavities.

Its deputy minister, Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, said the oral health of younger children, who are not in the school system, needed improvement.

“This may be attributed to family and environmental factors, which requires us to redouble our education and awareness efforts on dental hygiene,” she said at the launch of the Colgate Oral Health Month 2012 campaign at 1Utama shopping centre yesterday.

Rosnah added that less than one third of 6 year olds were decay-free in 2010.

The campaign, in its ninth year, aims to reach out to 500,000 members of the public via roadshows providing free dental check-ups at 772 participating dental clinics nationwide.

She said the ministry’s National Oral Health Plan (2011-2020) sought to achieve caries-free teeth for children aged 6, 12 and 16.

“So far, the results have been encouraging with caries-free status of 12-year-olds hitting 63 per cent in 2007, and 16-year-olds at 52 per cent.”

She highlighted that the ministry planned to increase the number of dental clinics with two or more permanent dental officers to provide daily outpatient services.

“This year, the ministry has set a target of 250 of these clinics to serve the community with daily dental outpatient services,” she said, adding that oral health services in rural areas could be improved with better access.

She said starting this month, the ministry planned to serve basic dental care to an estimated population of 14,186 in 24 identified villages and estates.

“The local community will be informed a week before these visits.”

Rosnah added that complex cases needing follow-up for health or dental reasons would be referred to the nearest clinic or hospital.

The Malaysian Dental Health Association president, Dr Mohammad Muzaffar Hamirudin, meanwhile, said 90 per cent of Malaysian adults suffered from dental cavities.

“The public must realise that oral disease may also be linked to life- threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.”

Read More: NST

Medicare covers yoga for heart disease


(CNN) — Frank Korona lives near the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border with his wife Kathy, in a house that he built with his own hands, on the same property where he grew up.


He served in the Army Special Forces in Vietnam. The Koronas have a long, proud tradition of military service, but their family’s greatest losses have been to heart disease.


“Our family has shrunk tremendously. We’ve lost so many people through death,” Kathy says.


In 1992, Frank’s brother Bob died in his arms, suffering a heart attack on their kitchen floor. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins have all died from complications from heart disease, too. The Koronas point them out in a graveyard near their home.


Frank and Kathy have both had heart attacks, and both have stents holding their blood vessels open. The birth of their grandson Caleb led them to try harder to extend their lives. So last year, the couple joined the Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease.


Medicare, the government health insurance program for Americans 65 and older, covers the Ornish program, which teaches a plant-based, meatless diet, meditation and regular exercise. The program was officially declared an intensive cardiac rehab program in 2010, and the first patients started in May 2011.


Ornish is a persistent advocate within the halls of government. There are mountains of scientific evidence that his recommended lifestyle changes do reverse heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States and worldwide.


Helping patients make these lifestyle changes costs Medicare about $70 per hour, and patients can receive up to 72 one-hour sessions. Proponents of preventative medicine point out that that cost is still much less than operations and medications.


Ornish believes that fear cannot motivate lifestyle change in people long-term. Change has to be about feeling better and having more zest for life. The greater the change, the better the feeling, he says.


Kathy and Frank Korona pose for a photo at a July 2008 wedding reception.
Kathy and Frank Korona pose for a photo at a July 2008 wedding reception.

That seems to ring true for the Koronas. Despite the grim history of heart disease, they say it’s how good they feel that keeps them living the lifestyle that their neighbors sometimes find strange.


“If I was going to be able to participate as a grandparent in his life, that gave me another incentive, that really did,” Kathy explains. “But in order to do that, I needed to feel good about myself first.”


The Koronas’ favorite yoga positions are “cobra” and “fish,” and their favorite pizza is meatless meat-lovers, made with soy pepperoni and soy “ground beef.”


“Usually at the end of the session, the instructor will say, ‘Now the reward, get into the total relaxation pose,’ and we do that, and it just feels so good,” Kathy says.


Together the Koronas have lost 85 pounds on the program, and Frank is off of four medications.


Hospitals can now bill Medicare for their patient’s yoga and group discussion sessions because the Ornish program is an approved intensive cardiac rehab program, a new class of cardiac rehab created by Congress in 2009.


Traditional cardiac rehab, developed in the 1950s and covered by Medicare since 1982, focuses almost exclusively on exercise — getting patients out of bed and the blood flowing again.


But in the 1970s, Ornish and others began leading experiments to test whether improving diet and stress levels could make a difference for those with heart disease. In the following decades the researchers published volumes of studies in peer-reviewed journals that became the basis of the Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease.


There are four components to the program: nutrition, stress management, moderate exercise and group support.


Part of the underlying cause for widespread heart disease, explains Ornish, is chronic loneliness and isolation, which lead to stress and bad habits. When people feel emotionally close to others, they’re physiologically healthier, too, so Medicare is paying for it.


In 1997, Highmark Health Insurance Co. became the first insurer to cover the Ornish program, but even today,only three insurance companies will pay for the program. All three are in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


That’s expected to change.

“The reason that I spent 16 years working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to achieve Medicare coverage for our program is that I knew that most insurance companies follow Medicare’s lead. In other words, if Medicare covered our program, most other insurance companies would, as well,” explains Ornish, who also says he was once naive in thinking that solid science alone would be enough to change health care policy.


“Reimbursement as well as science are primary determinants of medical practice. If it’s not reimbursable, it’s not sustainable.”


Read More: CNN

Simple diet changes to help cut heart disease risk

Written By Tanya Zuckerbrot


Heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet.  There are many ways to do this:


Kick the salt shaker habit


On average Americans consume 3,500 mg of sodium each day, about three-quarters of which comes from processed and restaurant foods. Cutting sodium intake in half would prevent 150,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease each year, according to estimates from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. To reduce sodium intake, opt for more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.


Add heart-healthy fats


A diet rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood fats called triglycerides. The highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut or herring; the American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish per-week. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Good sources of monounsaturated fat include olive oil, avocado, nuts and nut butters.


Eat more fiber


Aim for 35 to 40 grams of dietary fiber per day. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol by binding with it and pulling it out of the system.  A study at the University of Kentucky found that people who added fiber to their regular diets were able to lower their LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 25 percent.  Fiber also aids in successful weight management; since fiber-rich foods are more filling, you’ll feel satisfied eating less throughout the day.


Spice it up


Numerous studies have shown that spices can help improve cardiovascular health. Cayenne pepper is known to strengthen the heart, arteries and capillaries and lower cholesterol levels. A study published in the Journal Diabetes Care found that half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day reduces LDL cholesterol levels. A USDA study found that, gram for gram, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity of 27 fresh culinary herbs. Garlic is known to help lower blood cholesterol and ginger is a natural blood thinner and anti-inflammatory agent.


Choose foods rich in antioxidants


Good heart health depends on open, flexible arteries that can deliver blood efficiently throughout the body. Dark chocolate and cocoa, as well as plant-based compounds found in red wine and green tea, are high in antioxidants, which help fight cell damage from free radicals in the bloodstream that can cause fatty plaque to build up on artery walls.

Read more: FoxNews

Tag Cloud