Category Archives: Heart Disease

Mediterranean diet could prevent 20,000 deaths in Britain each year 

 

Italian seaside tangentially related to this post

Italian seaside tangentially related to this post

The Telegraph has the details:

“Some 20,000 lives could be saved each year if Britons switched to a Mediterranean diet, according to a new study.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and Cambridge University followed nearly 24,000 people in the UK for up to 17 years to see how their diet affected the health of their heart.

They discovered that people who followed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and olive oil lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 16 per cent. The researchers estimate that 12.5 per cent of cardiovascular deaths, such as heart attacks and strokes,  could be prevented if everyone switched to the Mediterranean diet. There are around 160,000 heart deaths each year so 20,000 deaths could be avoided just by eating more healthy foods.”

Source: Mediterranean diet could prevent 20,000 deaths in Britain each year 

Night Shift Work Is Dangerous

Not very pertinent, but a cool picture

Not very pertinent, but a cool picture

Shift work can kill you.

I’ve seen studies associating night shift work with T diabetes in Japanese men, higher breast cancer rates, more metabolic syndrome, and higher heart disease risk in men.

Now we have evidence for higher diabetes rates in women who do shift work”

“Our results suggest that an extended period of rotating night shift work is associated with a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, which appears to be partly mediated through body weight. Proper screening and intervention strategies in rotating night shift workers are needed for prevention of diabetes.”

Source: PLOS Medicine: Rotating Night Shift Work and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Two Prospective Cohort Studies in Women

Action Plan: P.D. Mangan has some ideas.

Also, reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes with the Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If you get one of my books, stay safe and read it during the day.

Chronic Daily Alcohol Consumption Linked to Atrial Fibrillation

Photo copyright: Steve Parker MD

Photo copyright: Steve Parker MD

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common serious heart rhythm disturbance in folks over 50. It can cause strokes, chest pain, trouble breathing, palpitations, dizziness, fainting, and other problems.

Many cases of atrial fibrillation are of unknown cause, but others are caused by blocked heart arteries, leaky or blocked heart valves, blood mineral disturbances, and overactive thyroid.

Another cause is alcohol consumption. Physicians typically think it takes relatively heavy alcohol consumption, even if just a short-term binge, to cause atrial fibrillation. A recent study suggests low doses could be problematic. From the American Heart Association Newsroom:

“Despite the common perception that moderate alcohol intake is good for the heart, new research suggests long-term alcohol consumption, even as little as one drink a day may enlarge the heart’s left upper chamber (atrium) and increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

“Our study provides the first human evidence of why daily, long-term alcohol consumption may lead to the development of this very common heart rhythm disturbance,” said Gregory Marcus, M.D., senior study author and associate professor of medicine specializing in cardiac electrophysiology at the University of California at San Francisco. “We were somewhat surprised that a relatively small amount of alcohol was associated with a larger left atrium and subsequent atrial fibrillation.”

Source: Drinking alcohol daily may enlarge heart chamber; lead to atrial fibrillation | American Heart Association

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Although alcohol is an option with several of my diets, it’s not mandatory.

Review of the Science: Mediterranean Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Disease and Helps Control Diabetes

From my pantry...

From my pantry…

Click the link below if you want to know how we think the diet works.

“The Mediterranean diet can be described as a dietary pattern characterized by the high consumption of plant-based foods, olive oil as the main source of fat, low-to-moderate consumption of fish, dairy products and poultry, low consumption of red and processed meat, and low-to-moderate consumption of wine with meals. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend Mediterranean diet for improving glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. Prospective studies show that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 20-23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while the results of randomized controlled trials show that Mediterranean diet reduces glycosylated hemoglobin levels by 0.30-0.47 %, and is also associated with a 28-30 % reduced risk for cardiovascular events.”

Source: Mediterranean diet for type 2 diabetes: cardiometabolic benefits. – PubMed – NCBI

FYI:  Glycosyated hemoglobin is a blood test that reflects average blood sugar levels over the preceding three months. A reduction of that value, also called hemoglobin A1c, translates to blood sugar levels lowered by 15-20 mg/dl (1 mmol/l).

Steve Parker, M.D.

Potatoes Don’t Cause Diabetes, Obesity, or Cardiovascular Disease

…at least according to researchers in Denmark who did a review of the scientific literature.

“The identified studies do not provide convincing evidence to suggest an association between intake of potatoes and risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. French fries may be associated with increased risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes although confounding may be present. In this systematic review, only observational studies were identified. These findings underline the need for long-term randomized controlled trials.”

Source: Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies

A Pharmacist Asks: Should we use PCSK9 inhibitors?

PCSK9 inhibitors are a new class of drug that dramatically lowers LDL cholesterol. LDL is the “bad cholesterol” implicated in blocked arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes. PCSK9 inhibitors are injected every several weeks. They are expensive.

Pharmacist Catherine writes:

“We know this drug lowers LDL cholesterol.  But what we really care about (or should care about) is whether this medication lowers the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.  This data isn’t yet available.   From what data I could easily access, it seems that the PCSK9 inhibitors can halve your risk of having heart attack over one year.  This might sound good, but when you look at actual numbers, not so good.  Of the ~4500 people studied, about 2% in the control group had an ‘event’ (heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event) compared to about 1% in the treatment group.  And the difference between the groups was only about 60 people.  The study size just simply isn’t big enough, nor has it run for long enough to really tell if these medications are worth it.  A bigger study is in progress, but we won’t get the results before 2017.   Even then, we may not have the long-term risk/benefit data.  A systematic review on the medications in 2014 concluded that there is currently insufficient data to show benefit.”

Source: Should we use PCSK9 inhibitors? | Lifestyle Before Medication

I also want to know the effect of these drugs on death rates. As they say, “more studies are needed.”

Hey, guess what? The Mediterranean diet prevents heart attacks and strokes, and extends lifespan.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Mediterranean diet helps your heart pump better

Your heart’s basically a hollow muscle that pumps blood – about five quarts a minute at rest, more if you’re exercising. The main pumping chamber is the left ventricle.

A recent study confirms what we’ve known for years: the Mediterranean diet helps prevent heart trouble.

From AJCN:

“A higher Mediterranean diet score is cross-sectionally associated with a higher LV [left ventricular] mass, which is balanced by a higher LV volume as well as a higher ejection fraction and stroke volume. Participants in this healthy, multiethnic sample whose dietary patterns most closely conformed to a Mediterranean-type pattern had a modestly better LV structure and function than did participants with less–Mediterranean-like dietary patterns.”

Source: Mediterranean diet score and left ventricular structure and function: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis