Tag Archives: study

Heart Health in the News: “Women with Diabetes Face Greater Heart Risks than Men”

It has been reported that Type 2 diabetes – the most common form of the disease – substantially increases one’s risk for heart disease. Interestingly, a recent wellness blog on The New York Times web site reported that a meta-analysis review of more than 64 published studies covering more than 850,000 patients, has found that this risk is much higher for women than men.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, with Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, which is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy.

When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems: (1) it may starve cells for energy and (2) over time can result in negative consequences for one’s eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart. Studies show that Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.

Why is there a greater risk for women than men?

The lead researcher on the review project, Sanne A. E. Peters, an epidemiologist at University Medical Center Utrecht, states that the reasons are largely unclear. However, Peters suggests that women may be taking worse care of themselves – i.e., gaining more weight and raising the risk of coronary disease – than men prior to the onset of diabetes.  The researcher mentions that while there is no proof of this, she suspects it may be true.

According to a Time.com blog on this study:

“Even after accounting for the fact that women tend to develop heart disease at different rates than men, the researchers report in Diabetologia that women with diabetes were 44% more likely to develop heart problems than men with the disease. Historically, women aren’t treated for heart risk factors as well as men, partly because their symptoms are different – many women don’t experience the chest pains and shortness of breath that are a hallmark of a heart attack among men, for example. So women may actually have more advanced, untreated heart disease when they are diagnosed with diabetes than men when they are diagnosed.”

At Vasomedical we believe in taking care of your heart in a variety of ways – from regular exercise to watching your diet and beyond. Diabetes is a serious issue with consequences that can impact your heart health. For more information about diabetes, visit: the American Diabetes Association’s website at: http://www.diabetes.org/.

Exercise and heart health– Can there be too much of a good thing?

We’ve all heard that exercising keeps the heart healthy – whether it’s a run, yoga class or cycling. But how much exercise is healthy and can too much be harmful?

According to a recent piece by MedPage Today, “too much of a good thing” can become a reality, and one must be tuned in to his or her limits.  It looks like moderate exercise may be the way to go, even for healthy patients.

The article states:

“Research involving stable chronic heart disease (CHD) patients found daily strenuous exercise to be associated with a more than twofold increased risk for cardiovascular mortality compared with moderate (two- to four-times a week) exercise (2.36, 95% CI 1.05-5.34).”

This is not an excuse to skip your exercise though! Researchers found that moderate, regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy heart. Widely accepted guidelines recommend 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity five to seven days per week.

You can read the full piece here: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Prevention/45785

Tell us – how much exercise do you get each week? What’s your favorite form of cardio?  Email us with your heart-healthy exercises at vaso@kcsa.com.

In the News: Unnecessary Deaths Attributed to Healthcare Disparities

A recent Los Angeles Times article examined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that healthcare disparities in the United States lead to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths each year.

Researchers at the CDC found that roughly 20-40 percent of premature deaths from the five leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke and accidents – could be avoided if Americans had equal access to the best preventive care available.

For us here at Vasomedical, one of the numbers that strikes closest to home is that out of the 895,000 patients under the age of 80 who died prematurely, 91,757 of these deaths were the result of heart disease.

Heart disease, as we all know, is rampant in the U.S. As such, preventative care is of the utmost importance and we have seen firsthand the positive impact EECP® Therapy has on patients’ lives.

Our team will continue to lead the fight to increase awareness and insurance coverage of EECP Therapy. We support patients and their physicians by providing them with the most up-to-date clinical information on EECP so that an informed decision can be made about their patients’ care.

Does your physician know about EECP Therapy? If not, let us know how we can help educate them by sending us an email at vaso@kcsa.com and we are happy to reach out on your behalf.

Your Heart: On Running

On this blog, we often talk about the benefits of exercising, and nothing gets your heart pumping quite like a good race. But the New York Times’ “Well Blog” recently posed an interesting question: is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

This post discusses a study of marathon runners and their spouses to see how prolonged training affects the heart. Scientists found that, although marathon runners generally had lower risk of heart attacks, running did not insulate them from heart disease entirely because factors other than exercise play a role in one’s heart health. Dr. Taylor, who led the study, said: “in essence, the scans showed that marathon training did not cancel out the depredations of age, longstanding bad health habits or a family history of cardiac problems.”

The study did, however, find that it likely isn’t the long hours of training that is putting a strain and creating damage to these racers’ hearts.

One other positive finding of this study is that prolonged exercise likely is not hurting one’s heart; rather, it is strengthening it. This is good news, but when exercising and committing to endurance sports, it is important to understand your family history, know previous health habits and monitor any potential signs of heart trouble (such as shortness of breath).

One of the other interesting findings is that endurance training’s cardiac benefits may actually be transferrable! The spouses of marathon runners were generally quite healthy and active, leading to lower risk of cardiac disease.

At Vasomedical, we’re proponents of exercising for your heart health, but always understanding your limits. Check with your physician before starting any exercise program. And, if you want to start exercising or want to be more active but the symptoms of angina and congestive heart failure are stopping you, ask your physician if EECP® Therapy might be a “bridge to exercise” for you.

Tell us: are you a marathon runner or a runner in general? What exercise do you work into your healthy lifestyle?

Click here for the whole New York Times piece. 

Chinese Experts Agree on the Benefit of EECP® in Treating Stroke Patients

Last week, an expert panel of physicians in China published an article titled Chinese Consensus Statement on the Evaluation and Intervention of Collateral Circulation for Ischemic Stroke under a Clinical Guideline in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, a peer reviewed scientific journal. The article is based on the group’s review of the most up-to-date evidence-based clinical research and their state-of-the-art, scientific knowledge on ischemic stroke.

In their summary, the authors make the point that “Collateral circulation is becoming more significant in the individual management strategy for ischemic stroke…” and that current data has been recently updated to reflect this. They further note – in the section discussing Indirect Interventions that External Counterpulsation “…increases cardiac output and augments blood flow of vital organs, such as brain, kidney, liver, and myocardium.”

One of the additional recent updates is the inclusion of EECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation) Therapy in the 2012 Guidelines for the Early Management of Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, with a IIb Level of Recommendation (LOR).

Though the use of EECP Therapy is not yet an approved Indication for Use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, recently published papers show that recognition of the clinical benefits of EECP Therapy in treating stroke patients by experts in the field are encouraging that one day, in the not too distant future, it will be.

EECP Therapy and Stroke Patients

There are an estimated 6.8 million Americans over 20 years old who have had a stroke, and 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke every year.

Recently, there were several papers published to discuss the effects of using External Counterpulsation (ECP) therapy to treat ischemic stroke patients with cerebral large artery disease. The effects of ECP  as a treatment of acute stroke has been demonstrated to increase cerebral blood pressure and blood flow velocity in stroke patients previously. ECP has been used extensively to help functional recovery of ischemic stroke patients in China, even though it has not been cleared by FDA for treatment of this cohort of patients in the United States.

In brief, these papers have the following message:

  • The first paper analyzed 207 ischemic stroke patients, with 112 patients completed the 35 hour session of ECP, 43 did not, and 52 medical treated patients served as controls. Three months after a stroke, 70.5% of the patients who finished a whole course of EECP had a good clinical outcome, whereas only 46.5% achieved good outcome in the unfinished ECP group and 38.5% in the medical group. Patients with good clinical outcome were younger, had a lower baseline National Institute of Health Stroke Scale and longer ECP therapy. The paper concluded that the duration of ECP therapy is an important factor for a good clinical outcome.
  • The second paper published demonstrated that ECP treatment increased cerebral blood pressure significantly as well as blood flow velocity in both sides of the brain in 37 recent ischemic stroke patients with large artery occlusive disease but not in the 20 healthy controls. The study demonstrated that ECP can increase blood flow to both sides of the cerebral hemisphere presumably because the cerebral autoregulation was impaired soon after stroke.
  • The third paper published investigated the relationship between the magnitudes of external applied pressures during ECP, resulting in increased cerebral perfusion pressures and increased mean cerebral blood flow in 38 ischemic stroke patients and 20 elderly controls. The mean blood pressure increased significantly from baseline in both stroke and control groups in proportion to external applied pressure, whereas the mean cerebral blood flow increased to the same levels of around 5% above baseline in the stroke patients independent of the external applied pressure. Also, there were no changes in blood flow in the control group under different magnitudes of external applied pressure. The paper recommended 150 mm Hg as the optimal treatment pressure for ischemic stroke patients.

Dr. John CK Hui of Vasomedical remarked:  “It has been postulated for decades that increase in cerebral perfusion blood pressure and blood flow would improve the functional recovery rate of stroke patients. These recent papers provided evidence that ECP treatment within the first two weeks after stroke when the autoregulatory response is inactive is safe and effective in augmenting cerebral blood pressure and flow. Results of these studies were encouraging and they stimulate us to start developing protocols for studies to seek FDA labeling clearance for stroke patients.”