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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.

Meet the German Doctor who “Speaks the Language of the Patient”

Dr. Kai Ruffmann is a cardiologist based in Germany who has been recommending and administering EECP® Therapy treatments for his patients for more than ten years. He has treated more than 250 patients in the hospital he worked at in the Black Forest region, and recently opened his own cardiology and internal medicine clinic in Baden-Baden.

Though various sites in Germany have provided EECP Therapy for many years, Dr. Ruffmann is the first German provider to get one of the German health insurance companies – a sickness fund – to provide reimbursement coverage for EECP Therapy, which is a huge win.

Germany has a universal multi-payer healthcare system with two main types of health insurance: “Law-enforced health insurance” (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung), also known as sickness funds, and “Private” (Private Krankenversicherung). The “law enforced health insurance” is available for people who fall below a certain income level, and is provided through private non-profit sickness funds at common rates for all members. This insurance is paid for with joint employer-employee contributions.

The recently updated 2013 European Society of Cardiology Guidelines granted a IIa Level of Recommendation for EECP Therapy in treating refractory angina patients and this upgrade in status helps with reimbursement from insurance companies. At Vasomedical, we know that EECP Therapy changes lives, and we are very pleased to see that additional insurance companies around the world are beginning to accept this treatment and reimburse for it.

We appreciate Dr. Ruffmann’s commitment to his patients and his support of EECP Therapy on their behalf. We will continue to work with him to expand reimbursement coverage for more patients in Germany and Europe.

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. 

EECP Therapy Week Goes Global

As many of you know, last week was EECP® Therapy Week, which occurs the last week in February (American Heart Month) annually. This year, to help celebrate the efficacy of EECP Therapy and increase access for patients, our colleagues in India launched their first EECP patient awareness program.

During the course of the week patient awareness programs were conducted in Tamil Nadu Government Medical Hospital with the goal of patients to become aware of conventional cardiac risk factors and how life style changes can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

The Tamil Nadu Government Medical Hospital recently incorporated EECP Therapy treatments into its flagship program called the Non-Invasive Ischemic Burden Reduction Program (NIBR-P). Currently, the hospital is the largest EECP center in India with five EECP Therapy systems allowing them to complete treatment for 45 patients per month at capacity.

Our IETA colleagues in India have big plans when it comes to raising awareness about EECP Therapy! In 2014 the group plans to work with physicians and therapists to develop a computer simulation training program on inflation and deflation timing to improve the understanding of this important component of EECP Therapy.

To learn more about Tamil Nadu Government Medical Hospital and their work utilizing EECP Therapy read the full announcement at the following link: http://www.ietaonline.com/2014/02/27/tamil-nadu-government-medical-college-hospital-in-india-joins-third-annual-eecp-therapy-week-celebration-feb-24-28th-2014/

 

Spotlight: Healthcare Professional Doris Osborne Advocates for EECP® Therapy

We often hear stories about how EECP® therapy helped improve a patient’s quality of life, but today we want to share a slightly different story. We are excited to introduce you to Doris Osborne, who has been the EECP coordinator at The Christ Hospital Health Network for the past 15 years. Her proactive and innovative methods have significantly enhanced her ability to obtain more patient referrals for her center while also rejuvenating the programs for other practicing EECP professionals.

Osborne’s success started when she was invited to speak about EECP therapy at a meeting hosted by HealthCare Friends, an organization devoted to facilitating networking opportunities for health care professionals in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. More than 100 representatives of senior facilities as well as healthcare professionals attended the meeting. After her presentation, Doris received interest from many attendees who asked her to come back and speak at their senior facilities. Through this event, her EECP program has received many new patient referrals as she successfully   spreads the word about the effectiveness of EECP Therapy.

Following the success of the meetings hosted by HealthCare Friends, Doris along with Dr. Charles Abbottsmith, the Medical Director of their EECP program, wanted to keep up the momentum and share her success so she organized a dinner meeting to share their experience and form a support group with other EECP professionals in her region. With the assistance of the International EECP Therapist Association (IETA), they invited program directors, managers and nurses from other EECP treatment centers around the southwestern Ohio area to a dinner meeting. Happy to participate were, Dawn Corbin from Kettering Hospital, Cherie Smith and Joan Rose from Premier Dayton Heart Center and Lisa Fent and Kathy Schmitt from Springfield Regional Medical Center.  Also in attendance were Marlene Snyder and Bill Seychell from Vasomedical. The attendees shared their personal experience, stories and knowledge about providing and using EECP therapy.

Doris clearly states “There are so many patients who need EECP therapy, yet they never hear about it and therefore are not getting the treatment they need. EECP therapy is the only noninvasive, non-pharmacological demonstrated to successfully treat patients with angina and heart failure as it promotes the growth of new collaterals and improves endothelial function”  continued, “My goal is to help facilitate and organize other meetings across the country. I hope through these meetings we will increase physician and patient awareness so that EECP Therapy becomes available to even more patients.”

We here at Vasomedical are inspired by Doris’ commitment and proactive activism in her advocacy for EECP Therapy. We hope other program directors, therapists, physicians and facilities around the country will follow her example!

Tell us: is there a healthcare professional in your community who is a provider and proponent of EECP Therapy you’d like to spotlight?  Email us at vaso@kcsa.com to submit!