It’s World Heart Day! Take a look at cardiovascular disease around the world!

An environmental scan report published last year in the Journal of American College of Cardiology revealed staggering global CVD statistics. CVD currently accounts for 17.3 million deaths per year and that number is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030. Additionally, elevated blood pressure was found to cause 51 percent of stroke deaths and 45 percent of coronary heart disease deaths. The report also noted that stroke mortality exceeds ischemic heart disease mortality in 74 World Health Organization member countries, with China, Africa and South America having an excessively higher rate of stroke than the other countries. The study revealed that despite the projection that heart disease and stroke will be the leading cause of death through the year 2030, only 150 new cardiovascular drugs are in development, contrasted with the more than 700 underway for the treatment of cancer.


CardioSource – World Heart Day 2013.


48% Mumbaikars at risk of heart attacks!

Forty-eight per cent of Mumbaikars face the risk of heart attacks because of obesity, more than 50% have unhealthy cholesterol levels while around 64% lead a sedentary life and avoid exercise.

These are some of the disturbing findings of a mega study, conducted across nine Indian cities among 1.8 lakh people, including 29,017 respondents surveyed in Mumbai.

It showed that 70% of urban Indians are at the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study found people in various cities with different sets of risk factors.

Dr Akshay Mehta, senior cardiologist from Asian Heart Hospital, said, “Sedentary lifestyle, stressful work conditions and compromised diet are leading factors in precipitating the risk of heart disease. This has affected the heart health of the young work force in the 30 to 44 age group.”

In comparison to other cities, Mumbai appears to have fared moderately well when it comes to percentage-wise risk factors. Those in Delhi and Chandigarh, for instance, were found to be more obese at 54% each. Mumbai fared slightly better at 48% whereas all the others, except Kolkata—Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune–have people between 49-52% who suffer the risk of heart problems because of obesity. Obesity factor was lowest in Kolkata at 47%.

The study conducted by Saffolalife, also factored in faulty eating habits. Delhi and Chandigarh, again, topped the chart in consumption of processed foods such as noodles, chips and packaged juices. Forty-four per cent of Mumbai’s respondents consumed processed or preserved food more than twice a week.

Delhi and Chandigarh were also high in consumption of fried or fat-rich foods. Ahmedabad, meanwhile, was the biggest defaulter when it came to consumption of vegetables, fruit and salad whereas people from Chennai were found to have the least affiliation with whole grains.

“Diet has undergone major changes depending on convenience. Preference for processed, preserved and fried foods has gone up noticeably. High dependence on the same and a menu devoid of vegetables, fruits and whole grains will only make people more vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases,” said dietician Niti Desai.

Lack of physical activity, too, makes Indians prone to heart problems. The study found that 70% of those who live in Ahmedabad indulged in little physical activity. Those in Pune and Bangalore were found to be most active of all, but only marginally more than others.


“No more eyebrows are raised these days when one hears about people below the age of 40 getting a heart attack. While Mumbai is seeing an increase in the ageing population—which, in turn, directly affects the heart—there are also many attacks in the younger working population,” said Dr Ganesh Kumar, chief interventional cardiologist, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital.

Its high time we recognize this and eat well and exercise to prevent heart illnesses.

via 48% Mumbaikars at risk of heart attacks – The Times of India.

Ride in the Tour de France, live a little longer.


Elite French cyclists participating in the Tour de France over the past 60 years have a significantly lower rate of mortality than French men in the general population, according to the results of a new study.

In evaluating the overall mortality rates of French cyclists who rode in the prestigious event between 1947 and 2012, investigators found the cyclists had a 41% lower mortality rate than men in France and that this lower mortality rate was consistent over time, including periods of reported heavy performance-enhancing-drug use. The lower rate was significant for deaths resulting from cancer and cardiovascular causes, and while it wasn’t statistically significant for other causes of death, the mortality trends all favored the cyclists.


Presenting the results at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2013 Congress, senior investigator Dr Xavier Jouven (Paris Descartes University, France) said that among the cyclists who rode in the Tour de France from 1947 to 1951, a period accounting for more than 60% of the deaths in the analysis, the elite athletes lived six years longer than men in the general population.


Results consistent across the different race eras

Of the 786 French cyclists who rode in the tour since 1947, 208 have died. Of these, 59 cyclists died from cancer, mainly neoplasms of the digestive tract, lung, and prostate, a number that is 44% lower than what would be expected if the cyclists had the same mortality rate as the general male population. Similarly, deaths from cardiovascular causes were reported in 53 cyclists, a 33% lower rate than what would be expected based on estimates in the general male population.


via Ride in the Tour de France, live a little longer |

Severe obesity now in 5% of US kids.

Around 5% of children and adolescents in the US are severely obese and therefore at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and premature heart disease, says the American Heart Association (AHA) in a new scientific statement, also endorsed by the Obesity Society.

While childhood obesity rates are starting to level off, severe obesity has increased, say Dr Aaron S Kelly (University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis) and colleagues in the statement, published online September 9, 2013 in Circulation.

They therefore propose that “severe obesity” among kids and teens be a newly defined class of risk and stress the grave consequences of this condition. “Accumulating evidence suggests that severe obesity in childhood is associated with an adverse cardiovascular and metabolic profile, even compared with obesity and overweight,” they note.

The definition of severe obesity in children over the age of two years is a body-mass index (BMI) that’s at least 20% higher than the 95 percentile for the child’s gender and age or an absolute BMI score of >35.

Treatment options limited, greater awareness needed

Kelly and colleagues note that treatment options for children with this level of obesity are limited, as most standard approaches to weight loss are insufficient for them.

For example, lifestyle-modification/behavior-based interventions in youth with severe obesity have demonstrated modest improvement in BMI, but participants have generally remained severely obese and often regained weight after the conclusion of the treatment programs, they observe.

And the role of medical management is minimal, because only one medication is currently approved for the treatment of obesity in adolescents.

Also, while bariatric surgery has generally been effective in reducing BMI and improving cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, reports of long-term outcomes are few, many youths with severe obesity do not qualify for surgery, and access is limited by lack of insurance coverage.

Hence, the AHA is calling for greater awareness of this condition as a chronic disease requiring ongoing care and management. And future research aimed at closing the gap between lifestyle, medication, and surgery is vital, the authors add.


via Severe obesity, in 5% of US kids, should be new risk class |

Happy hearts: Positivity plus exercise linked to lower CVD mortality.

The association between a positive emotional state of mind and lower mortality in patients with ischemic heart disease is mediated by exercise, according to the results of a new study.

Patients with higher levels of positive affect, which reflects a pleasurable response to the environment and typically includes feelings of happiness, joy, excitement, contentment and enthusiasm, had a 42% lower risk of all-cause mortality at five years and were 50% more likely to participate in an exercise program than those with lower levels of positive affect.

Writing in the September 10, 2013 online issue of Circulation, the researchers sought to determine if positive affect predicted time to first cardiac-related hospitalization and all-cause mortality, and whether exercise mediated this relationship.

Ischemic heart disease patients with higher levels of positive affect had a significant 42% lower risk of all-cause mortality at five years. In addition, these happier patients were also 48% more likely to exercise. In a risk model that adjusted for positive affect, patients who exercised were less likely to die during the five-year follow-up. The mortality benefit among those with positive affect is mediated by exercise.

So be happy and exercise for a healthy heart!

via Exercise links happiness and lower mortality in CVD |

Prevent Heart Failure.

The best way to prevent heart failure is to:

Lower your risk of getting heart disease by making lifestyle changes.

Control certain health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.


To reduce your risk:


Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit. Smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. Avoid secondhand smoke too.

Lower your cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, follow your doctor’s advice for lowering it. Eating a heart-healthy diet-such as the TLC diet -exercising, and quitting smoking will help keep your cholesterol low.

Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure raises your risk of getting heart disease and heart failure. Exercising, limiting alcohol, and controlling stress will help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.

Get regular exercise. Exercise will help control your weight, blood pressure, and stress. Controlling these things will help keep your heart healthy. Try to do activities that raise your heart rate. Aim for at least 2½ hours of moderate exercise a week. One way to do this is to be active at least 10 minutes 3 times a day, 5 days a week. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Control diabetes. Take your medicines as directed, and work with your doctor to make a diet and exercise plan to control diabetes.

Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol, drink moderately. This means no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. Heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to heart failure.


via Heart Failure-Prevention.

September is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness month!

Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.

It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, and debilitating pain.

AFib can also increase the risk of stroke fivefold. It is estimated to be responsible for 88,000 deaths and $16 billion in additional costs to the U.S. healthcare system. As the world population ages, the prevalence of AFib is projected to increase. In fact, in the next 30-40 years, the number of people in diagnosed with AFib in the U.S. is expected to more than double.

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), through its efforts during Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month in September and throughout the year, is working to increase public knowledge of AFib, including its symptoms, warning signs, and available treatment options.

via Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness.