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This page you have reached is an archive page of heart watch blog. If you wish to read current posting of this blog, please go to heart watch blog main page. If you wish to read the archived blog postings, simply scroll down to the lower part of the page.

Do you read all of the blogs published by Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.

Cancer blog: I manage the cancer blog with lots of help and support form other bloggers. Through this cancer blog my friends and I try to bring stories of hope for patients with cancer. The cancer blog often republishes important blog posts from other cancer related blogs at If you are searching for a blog that covers wide variety of cancer topics, this may be the one for you.

Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.

Lung cancer blog: Lung cancer blog is managed by Scott with the help of other bloggers. Through this blog Scott and his friends constantly remind the readers about the dangers of smoking. It's a never-ending struggle against this miserable disease with which a social stigma of smoking is associated.

Colon cancer blog: Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.

Prostate cancer blog: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer. publishes a diabetes watch blog and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.


Dec 19, 2005

Fruit Sugars Might Cause Obesity

Fruit Sugars Might Cause Obesity
While eating lots of sugary food can definitely increase the risk of obesity with associated risks of developing diabetes and heart problems, eating more fruits might just do the same thing as per reports from a recent study.

Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, honey and the corn-syrup sweeteners used in many processed foods, may trick the body into thinking it's hungrier than it really is, researchers report.

The findings could explain why sweet foods help boost obesity rates in the United States and elsewhere.

A word of caution in interpreting the study! The evidence comes from animal studies and not from human studies. Researchers at at the University of Florida identified fructose as part of a biochemical chain reaction that causes weight gain in rats.

Fructose can also cause an increase of uric acid levels in the blood, the Florida team found. This temporary rise in uric acid blocks the action of insulin, the hormone that regulates how body cells use and store the sugar they need for energy.

If increased uric acid levels occur frequently enough, features of metabolic syndrome may develop over time, the researchers said. These features include obesity, elevated blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

This research paper is published in the December issue of the journal Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology and in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology.

JoAnn      Permalink

Dec 18, 2005

Risk Estimate Misses Women's Heart Disease Risk

Risk Estimate Misses Women's Heart Disease Risk
Women's risk of developing coronary artery disease would be missed many times if the conventional Framingham Risk Estimate is used for coronary disease calculation as per a new study.

The Framingham Risk Estimate (FRE) is a commonly used risk estimator for a person's risk of suffering a fatal or nonfatal heart attack within 10 years. The test is based on a number of major risk factors for coronary heart disease, including age, blood pressure, smoking, and blood cholesterol levels.

In one study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University compared the FRE results of women, average age 50, who had no symptoms of heart disease but had a sibling who'd been hospitalized with a heart attack or other kind of coronary event.

Using the FRE, the researchers found that 98 percent of the women were considered to be at low risk for future coronary heart disease while 2 percent were judged to be at intermediate risk. The researchers then compared these FRE scores to CT scans of calcium buildup in the women's arteries. Calcium buildup is a sign of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

The CT scans indicated that a third of the women classified as low risk according their FRE scores actually had coronary atherosclerosis.

Physicians should be aware of this shortcoming associated with Framingham Risk Estimate when it comes to treating women.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 16, 2005

Dangerous Heart Condition In Young Athletes

Dangerous Heart Condition In Young Athletes
If they weren't high-profile sports stars, there are probabilities that no one would notice them dying. But young athletes do die every year. Though the number is low, the death of a young, talented, teenager or college student astonishes the community and leaves friends and family brokenhearted.

A Johns Hopkins study has presented the most comprehensive explanation of people most likely to build up a relatively rare heart condition, called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), known to be among the top causes of sudden cardiac death among young athletes.

The symptoms of ARVD include irregular heartbeat and the presence of excess amounts of fatty tissue in the heart's right ventricle. Consequently, the abnormal and often weakened and scarred right ventricle significantly increases the risk of harmful ventricular arrhythmias and possible sudden cardiac death.

According to senior study investigator and cardiac electrophysiologist Hugh Calkins, M.D., "physicians should be on the lookout for its early signs and symptoms as it is an important cause of sudden cardiac death in healthy young individuals.

Calkins, a professor of medicine and pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, notes that the disease often hits people who are relatively young and that symptoms like palpitation and dizziness may appear up to 15 years before diagnosis.

Diagnoses of ARVD depends on a four-point scale, and up to 10 cardiac tests are compulsory to confirm a diagnosis. Electrocardiograms and echocardiograms are performed to verify the origins of arrhythmia, and MRI tests are done to confirm the buildup of fat and fibrous tissue in the right ventricle,

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 14, 2005

About Hypertension, and Obesity

About Hypertension, and Obesity
I was surprised to know that about half of all Americans aged 55-64 have hypertension. As you may know very well, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease. As if this is not enough, two in five have obesity also. This is as per the United States annual report to the President and Congress on the health of all Americans.

The report was prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics from data gathered by state and federal health agencies and through ongoing national surveys.

The report features an in-depth look at the 55-64 age group, which includes the oldest of the baby boomers. In 2011, the oldest of the boomers will be eligible for Medicare, and by 2014, the ranks of Americans ages 55-64 will swell to 40 million, up from 29 million in 2004.

"Controlling hypertension and obesity is crucial for health, and especially for baby boomers as they grow older," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. "It's time to act against both conditions so more Americans can live longer, healthier lives."

Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC Director, urged 55-to-64-year-olds to take careful stock now of their health, including such vital measures as weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure, risk of heart attack and any signs of diabetes. "The late 50s and early 60s are a crucial time of life to focus on disease prevention. It's never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle to enjoy a longer, healthier life," she said.

While a number of adults in their late 50s and early 60s enjoy good health, others are dealing with chronic and debilitating diseases and lack of health insurance. The report finds that minorities - primarily blacks and Hispanics - are more likely to fall into those categories.

The report also notes that 11 percent of Americans ages 55-64 lack health insurance-compared to the national average of Americans under age 65 without health insurance (16.5 percent). Eighty-three percent of married adults ages 55-64 had private health insurance, compared to 60 percent of widowed, separated, divorced or single adults in that age group.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 13, 2005

Rate Of Emergency Bypass Surgery During Angioplasty Drops

Rate Of Emergency Bypass Surgery During Angioplasty Drops
The last thing you and I want is to have a complication while undergoing an angioplasty procedure. If it happens then we may have to undergo an emergency coronary artery bypass sugary. The good news is that complications associated with angioplasty are decreasing causing a marked lower rate of such emergency surgeries.

Data from the Mayo Clinic indicates that need for emergency bypass surgery has dropped sharply. This is as per a study published in the Dec. 6, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Our review of almost 25 years of data on angioplasty suggests that there has been a dramatic reduction of almost 90 percent in the incidence of coronary artery bypass graft surgery following angioplasty; and this is despite the fact that more recently we are performing angioplasty on very high risk patients," said Mandeep Singh, M.D., F.A.C.C., from the Mayo College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

The researchers, including lead author Eric H. Yang, M.D., reviewed a unique registry of every angioplasty performed at the Mayo Clinic. The registry includes more than 23,000 cases and extends back to the first angioplasty procedure in 1979. Coronary angioplasty involves threading a catheter through blood vessels in order to re-open arteries that nourish the heart muscle, usually after a heart attack or severe chest pain. The procedure is an alternative to bypass surgery in which blood vessels taken from elsewhere in the body are used to re-route blood around a coronary artery blockage. It is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI.

"We knew there had been a reduction, but the magnitude of the reduction was a surprise to us," Dr. Singh said. "The bypass surgery rates, which were close to 3 percent, came down to 0.3 percent in the most recent time period."

Dr. Singh said the fact that angioplasty is being offered to sicker patients now makes the reduction even more remarkable. Patients requiring emergency surgery in the most recent study period had a higher prevalence of high blood pressure and heart failure, and they were more likely to have undergone previous procedures, compared to patients in the earlier study periods.

Dr. Singh said he believes stents may be responsible for much of the reduction in the rate of life-threatening problems during angioplasty procedures. Stents are tiny wire-mesh scaffolds that are inserted into the area of a coronary artery narrowing that has been opened up by a balloon or cutting device. He also pointed to other improvements in drug therapy and device technology that have made angioplasty safer and more successful.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 12, 2005

Groundbreaking Guidelines for Arterial Diseases

Groundbreaking Guidelines for Arterial Diseases
More than 12 million Americans suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD), prompting the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) to release today the groundbreaking Peripheral Arterial Disease Guidelines to help physicians and all healthcare professionals better treat this alarmingly common condition.

PAD is generally defined as diseases of the arteries that supply blood to the arteries outside the heart, including those that supply the legs, feet, kidneys, and intestines. These arterial diseases can impair physical health by diminishing an individual's ability to walk. PAD can lead to amputation of the extremities, rupture of an aortic aneurysm, severe hypertension, kidney failure, as well as contribute to current rates of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death.

The new Guidelines, representing best practices for managing diseases of the aorta - the body's main artery - and the arteries that supply blood to the legs, feet, kidneys, and intestines, were developed in collaboration with and approved by the American Association for Vascular Surgery/Society for Vascular Surgery, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Interventional Radiology, Society for Vascular Medicine and Biology, and the ACC/AHA Task Force on Practice Guidelines.

The PAD Guidelines strongly emphasize the fact that early detection and treatment of peripheral arterial disease can prevent disability and save lives.

A driving force behind the Guidelines was recognition that a wide range of physicians treat peripheral arterial disease, and each brings a different set of tools and knowledge to the task, depending on background and training.

Highlights of the guidelines include:
  • Recommended questions and observations that can uncover hidden signs of peripheral arterial disease;
  • Clinical clues that a patient may have renal artery stenosis, a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidney—and a possible cause of poorly controlled high blood pressure or kidney failure;
  • Recommendations on when an aneurysm—a weakening and bulging of the arterial wall—should be treated with surgery or catheter-based therapy, as well as when “watchful waiting” is the best course;
  • A critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of vascular imaging tests and other diagnostic methods;
  • An emphasis on therapeutic choice, including the role of exercise, diet, smoking cessation, and medications, and an objective review of the benefits and drawbacks of surgical and catheter-based therapies; and
  • Clinical pathways and treatment algorithms to guide clinical decision-making.
Daniel      Permalink

Dec 11, 2005

High Diastolic Blood Pressure May Protect You During Exercise

High Diastolic Blood Pressure May Protect You During Exercise
Having a high diastolic blood pressure during exercise appears to have a protective effect against exercise-induced myocardial ischemia. This has been reported in a recent issue of the American Heart Journal. Most coronary perfusion to the left ventricle arises during diastole because the vessels are compressed during systole. So, a high diastolic blood pressure during exercise would be assumed to have a protective effect on exercise-induced ischemia. Conversely, a high systolic pressure would be expected to worsen ischemia

Dr. Hiroyuki Yamagishi, from Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues scrutinized data from 469 patients with suspected coronary artery disease and had undergone heart-imaging studies during exercise. A diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mmHg at peak exercise was considered high.

Approximately half of the patients had normal diastolic blood pressures during exercise and half had high pressures. There were no significant differences in number of diseased vessels, the severity of atherosclerosis or medications were noted between the groups.

It was found that the patients with high diastolic blood pressure during exercise had a higher pressure-rate product than their peers with normal pressure. This suggested that ischemia was weakened patients with high diastolic blood pressure.

The authors explain that most coronary blood flow to the left ventricle of the heart occurs during diastole (dilation) because the vessels are compressed during systole. So, a high diastolic blood pressure during exercise is assumed to have a protective effect on exercise-induced ischemia.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 9, 2005

Thyroid Function and Heart Failure

Thyroid Function and Heart Failure
Thyroid hormone is very important for normal cardiovascular function. So for the people who have a deficiency in thyroid hormone, neither the heart nor the blood vessels function normally. My aunt who faced the problem of subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) in her late fifties suffered simultaneously from weakened heart muscles in both its contraction and relaxation phase.

When your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, the pituitary gland overworks and increases the its production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), in an effort to encourage the thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormone. In the early phase of thyroid hormone deficiency known as subclinical hypothyroidism (SH), the thyroid gland would be able to produce enough thyroid hormone under the stimulatory effect of the TSH. So patients of SH may only have an elevated level of TSH and may have normal levels of thyroid hormone. SH is defined as TSH levels of 4.5-6.9 mIU/L (mild), 7.0-9.9 mIU/L (moderate), and 10 mIU/L or greater (severe).

A recent study, conducted by Nicolas Rodondi, M.D., MAS, at the University of California, San Francisco, showed that when compared with people having normal thyroid function, older adults with TSH levels of 7.0 mIU/L or higher have two- to three-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure events. Both incidence and recurrent rates of heart failure events were increased in this group.

This study included 2,730 men and women between the age group of 70 and 79 and showed that the incidence of congestive heart failure found during a four-year follow-up period was significantly increased in patients with moderate and severe SH, but not in patients with mild SH, who comprised the highest percentage (68 percent) of all patients with SH in the study. However the study found no consistent evidence that SH was associated with coronary heart diseases events, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, cardiovascular-related mortality, or total mortality.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 8, 2005

Actos Prevents Heart Attacks

Actos Prevents Heart Attacks
As you may very well know, patients with type-2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. Today I have some great news for such patients. Yes, the diabetic medication Actos (pioglitazone) is now known to reduce the recurrence of myocardial infarction in patients with diabetes and myocardial infarction. This is the first known oral diabetes drug has shown to prevent cardiovascular events.

Patients taking Actos (pioglitazone) also experienced considerable reductions in insulin resistance, C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation) and blood pressure, all of which contribute to the overall risk for cardiovascular disease. Beyond its effects on blood glucose, it also keeps the blood vessels healthy precluding the hardening of the arteries.

In the main study, 5,238 patients with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to pioglitazone or placebo in addition to glucose-lowering drugs and other medications, and followed for an average of 34.5 months.

In these patients, pioglitazone significantly reduced the risk of fatal or recurrent non-fatal MI by 28% (a pre-specified endpoint) and significantly reduced the risk of acute coronary syndromes by 37% (part of a post hoc exploratory analysis).

Pioglitazone has shown to increases HDL cholesterol levels and LDL particle size, and decreases levels of triglycerides and inflammatory markers.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 7, 2005

Micronutrient Supplementation For Heart Failure

Micronutrient Supplementation For Heart Failure
Supplementation wit vitamins and micronutrients is a very common practice here in the United States. I know few elderly gentlemen who take three different kinds of multivitamins. As a person moves towards older age, there is deterioration in the function of heart and general quality of life. This is especially true for patients with chronic heart failure. How can this be overcome?

There is evidence to suggest that the function of the heart and quality of life in elderly patients with chronic heart failure may be improved by supplementation of micronutrients. In fact adequate intake of macronutrients is essential throughout the life is for the maintenance of health.

In many countries people may have deficiency of more than one micronutrient and supplementation program for different micronutrients are often implemented at the same time. The vitamin story has been often confounded with studies examining the response to single vitamin supplements in relatively low-risk patients.

The patients with congestive heart failure are at a greater risk and face multiple deficiencies. So it would not be enough if just one micronutrient is replaced as the other deficiencies like for example the deficiency in vitamin E or C would not be rectified. So a combined intake of micronutrients is important in these patients.

Researchers are conducting investigations on the effect of long-term use of multiple micronutrient supplementations in elderly patients with stable heart failure. Significant improvements in cardiac pumping ability were found in these patients after a certain period of time. It was also found that such patients had an increase in their quality of life score, like improvements in scores for breathlessness on exertion, quality of sleep and daytime concentration. A combined multivitamin supplement along with zinc, copper and selenium is generally recommended along with a high dose of Coenzyme-Q10.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 6, 2005

Alcohol Heart Disease Link

Alcohol Heart Disease Link
Many who drink alcohol justify the use of alcohol to the beneficial effects of alcohol in prevention of coronary artery disease. More than a dozen previously published studies have demonstrated a consistent, strong, dose-response relation between increasing alcohol consumption and decreasing incidence of CHD. The protective effect of alcohol is similar in men and women and is present irrespective of the geographic location and ethnic groups. Studies suggest that consumption of one or two drinks per day is associated with a reduction in risk of approximately 30% to 50%.

Studies of coronary narrowing at cardiac catheterization or autopsy show a reduction in atherosclerosis in persons who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. This protective effect of alcohol is independent of other factors like diet and cigarette smoking.

So far good! A new research suggests that things may not be as fruity as above. Researchers from New Zealand say that the harmful effects of alcohol may offset any gain in benefit in coronary artery disease. They say that drinking a glass or two of wine a day may not be such a good idea. Their findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet.

These researchers claim that past studies that showed beneficial effects of alcohol are flawed.

Indeed, there is more evidence that heavier drinking provides the most heart protection - alcoholics have relatively 'clean' arteries they say. But overdrinking may have its own health hazards including damage to the liver and development of cirrhosis. These researchers are warning not assume there is a window in which the health benefits of alcohol are greater than the harms. The health risks of alcohol definitely outweigh the risks the authors say.

The researchers conclude: The good news is that people can still enjoy alcohol in moderation, especially during the festive period. There is no evidence to suggest that light to moderate alcohol consumption will actually harm the heart. However over indulging can have an adverse effect on your health.

Daniel      Permalink

Dec 6, 2005

Teach Your Boys Young To Avoid Saturated Fat

Teach Your Boys Young To Avoid Saturated Fat
I have seen some parents taking their small children to McDonalds very frequently. Cultivating such habits in children may have a double edge effect. A recent report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggest that, boys with an intake of low saturated fat diet from birth till ten years of age have lower cholesterol levels, healthier arteries and less risk of heart disease or stroke in the later part of their life.
At the same time low saturated diet had no significant impact on girls. The exact cause of this difference between boys and girls is unknown. Researchers speculate that this may be due to the level of sex hormones present in boys and girls.

The study indicated better endothelial health for those who were on a low saturated fat diet compared to the boys eating a typical diet. As per an analysis, the superiority of the endothelial function in boys was because of the lower fat diet early in life rather than later.
Previous studies have indicated that beginning a low saturated-fat diet in infancy with individualized diet and lifestyle counseling could lower cholesterol in children without harming their growth or neurological development.

Daniel      Permalink

Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

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