Waistline May Predict Heart Disease

A new study involving diabetic patients suggests that an increasing waist size is a stronger predictor of serious heart disease than either body weight or body mass index. Researchers evaluated the heart function of study participants and found that left ventricular function progressively worsened as a participant’s waist size expanded, with heart function decline eventually leveling off when the waist reached 45 inches (~114 cm). The left ventricle is the heart’s primary pumping chamber, and abnormal ventricular function is a common cause of heart disease. Dr. Sarah Samaan, a cardiologist at the Heart Hospital at Baylor in Plano, Texas adds, “Abdominal fat produces a wide range of inflammatory substances, and is more highly correlated with heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes than other types of fat. We know that heavier people are more likely to have stiffer hearts, which in turn can predispose to heart failure. This study shows us that fat in the abdominal area is especially harmful to heart function.”

American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, Chicago, April 2016

Kidney Stones Increase Risk of Heart Disease

A new study suggests that kidney stones can increase an individual’s risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. The results of the study found that patients with kidney stones have a 19% increased risk for coronary heart disease and a 40% higher risk for stroke. Thomas Manley, director of scientific activities at the National Kidney Foundation, writes, “Kidney stones are common, and with their association to coronary heart disease and stroke found in this study, it suggests that a thorough cardiovascular assessment should be considered in patients who develop kidney stones.”
American Journal of Kidney Diseases, August 2014

Eat More Fruit to Reduce Heart Disease Risk

A study including 450,000 participants in China revealed that eating fruit every day lowers an individual’s risk for cardiovascular problems by up to 40%. The authors recommend adding fruit to your cereal, keeping an apple with you for a snack, or having fruit for dessert as ways to increase your daily fruit intake.
European Heart Journal, September 2014

Exercise Crucial for Women’s Heart Health

Lack of physical activity appears to be the strongest indicator of a woman’s risk for heart disease, even more so than smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Women’s Heart Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, concludes, “If you want to do one thing to prevent heart disease, you should exercise. We need people to become more active again, and the way you can do that is to make it part of your life, like brushing your teeth.”
British Journal of Sports Medicine, May 2014

Health Alert: Less Salt, More Potassium

Reducing salt intake can lower blood pressure, which ultimately reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Results show that four or more weeks of modest salt reduction leads to notable decreases in blood pressure. Increased potassium intake was associated with a 24% reduced probability of stroke in adults and may also have an advantageous impact on blood pressure in kids.
British Medical Journal, April 2013