Chronic exposure to environmental noise increases risk of heart disease

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Chronic exposure to environmental noise from road traffic and aircrafts can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and arterial hypertension. And the potential mechanisms underlying this increased risk have been explored in a study published online February 5, 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study proposes that noise induces a stress response, characterized by activation of the sympathetic nervous system and increased levels of hormones, which will initiate sequelae and ultimately lead to vascular damage. Traffic noise may disrupt the body on the cellular level in a way that increases the risk of common heart disease risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes because noise is associated with oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction, autonomic imbalance and metabolic abnormalities.

Autonomic imbalance due to environmental noise is also suggested as a potential factor contributing to the cardiovascular risk factors including progression of atherosclerotic process.

(Source: ACC Press release, February 5, 2018)

Heart disease is often diagnosed late in women

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Symptoms of this disease are different in women which delays diagnosis

New Delhi, 16 January 2018: A recent study has indicated that women who start menstruating before the age of 12 or earlier, or enter menopause before the age of 47 were at a 10% and 33% higher risk of heart disease and stroke, respectively. Some other factors that were found to be associated with elevated odds of heart problems in later years were miscarriage, stillbirth, undergoing a hysterectomy, and bearing children at a young age. These findings suggest that such women should be screened for heart problems.

Heart disease is the number one killer in women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. However, the warning signs of a heart attack differ from those in men. For example, women do not have the characteristic chest pain but may have pain in the jaw, neck or back, or they may present with symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, or nausea. This is one of the reasons why women do not get diagnosed timely, thus exacerbating the condition further.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Heart disease has traditionally never been thought to be a woman’s disease. Thus, when a woman complains of symptoms such as breathlessness, very often it is mistaken for some other problem. The pattern of symptoms exhibited by women is also slightly different from men, which also tends to delay the diagnosis. The classic pattern of angina with pain on the left side of the chest may be absent in women. They are more likely to have atypical angina, in which they could experience discomfort in the shoulders, back, and neck. Apart from this, shortness of breath is often the first and only presenting symptom. All of this can make the diagnosis tricky.”

Besides the traditional risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diet, women have some specific ones including use of birth control pills, anemia, and menopause.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP Group, said, “The need of the hour is to create awareness about the fact that heart diseases can affect anyone irrespective of their age or gender. Only timely changes to one’s lifestyle and preventive measures can help in combating the risk factors and avoiding heart diseases. Women need to be particularly aware of the signs and symptoms and take adequate care of their health.”

Some tips for a heart-healthy lifestyle are as follows.

For all Women

Moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes and for 60 to 90 minutes for weight management on most days of the week.
Avoidance and cessation of cigarette smoking and passive smoking
Keep waist circumference below 30 inches.
Take a heart-friendly diet. Include omega-3 fatty acids in diet.
Keep blood sugar, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP) under control.
In women older than 65 years of age, daily aspirin may be considered in consultation with the doctor.
Women who smoke should avoid oral contraceptive pills.
Treat underlying depression.

Women at high risk

Aspirin 75 to 150 mg, as prevention
Control of high blood pressure.
No use of antioxidant vitamin supplement.
No use of folic acid support.
No Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Lowering of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol to less than 80.

Sugar-sweetened drinks increase risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome

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A review of epidemiological studies published online November 2 2017 in the Journal of the Endocrine Society has added to the growing evidence of the association of sugar sweetened beverages with chronic lifestyle disorders such as type 2 diabetes hypertension and heart disease. The review which examined the association of sugar sweetened beverages with type 2 diabetes metabolic syndrome and hypertension found that regularly drinking sugar sweetened beverages such as soda and juice contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Most of the studies included in the review found that consumption of sugar sweetened beverages also increased the risk of metabolic syndrome which in turn increased the risk of developing heart disease stroke and diabetes. The review included 36 studies on the cardiometabolic effects of sugar sweetened beverage consumption from the last 10 years. Most of the analyzed studies for metabolic syndrome included individuals who drank more than five sugar sweetened beverages a week while consuming as few as two servings of sugar sweetened beverages a week increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking at least one sugar sweetened beverage a day was associated with high blood pressure. These findings yet again highlight the need to educate the general public the young in particular about the adverse health effects of sugar sweetened beverages who frequently consume foods and drinks high in added sugars. It is very important therefore to raise awareness among the public about the lifestyle diseases prevalent in our country which are now occurring at a younger age and the lifestyle measure by which these disease can be prevented. Source Endocrine Society News Release November 2 2017

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