Wednesday September 19, 2018

Exposure to Arsenic, Lead May Spike up Risk of Heart Disease

Since metals are associated with cardiovascular disease even at relatively low levels of exposure, "population-wide strategies to minimise exposure will further contribute to overall cardiovascular prevention efforts," the researchers concluded

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Even low exposure to arsenic, lead may up heart disease risk. Pixabay
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Even low levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment like arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium pose a significant risk to cardiovascular health, finds a study, led by one of an Indian-origin.

Although often naturally occurring, these contaminants have made their way into water supplies and, via irrigation, into the food chain.

Concern has often focused on the toxicity or carcinogenic properties of the metals, particularly at high doses.

However, the findings, published by The BMJ, showed there is increasing evidence to suggest that heavy metals may have other adverse effects on health – including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke – even at lower levels of exposure, the researchers said.

“It’s clear from our analysis that there’s a possible link between exposure to heavy metals or metalloids and risk of conditions such as heart disease, even at low doses – and the greater the exposure, the greater the risk,” said lead author Rajiv Chowdhury, from Britain’s University of Cambridge.

Heart Disease
Concern has often focused on the toxicity or carcinogenic properties of the metals, particularly at high doses. Pixabay

“While people shouldn’t be overly worried about any immediate health risk, it should send a message to policymakers that we need to take action to reduce people’s exposure.”

The study “reinforces the (often under-recognised) importance of environmental toxic metals in enhancing global cardiovascular risk, beyond the roles of conventional behavioural risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity,” the researchers said.

For the study, the team conducted a meta-analysis of 37 studies involving almost 350,000 participants.

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Chowdhury noted that the study highlighted the potential need for additional worldwide efforts and strategies “to reduce human exposures even in settings where there is a relatively lower average level of exposure.”

Since metals are associated with cardiovascular disease even at relatively low levels of exposure, “population-wide strategies to minimise exposure will further contribute to overall cardiovascular prevention efforts,” the researchers concluded. (IANS)

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Being Fit in Middle-age May Not Offer You Protection From The Risk of CVD

Moreover, it is also important to practice moderation when it comes to exercise, Morrison noted

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Heart Disease
Even low exposure to arsenic, lead may up heart disease risk. Pixabay

While a lot of middle-aged adults have begun exercising, after realising its potential health benefits, new research claims that even the fittest among them are not immune to cardiovascular disease (CVD)– and they often do not have any symptoms.

The study, from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada, highlights how important it is for middle-aged adults to have their doctor check their CVD risk factors, especially if they have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of CVD.

CVD refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

“We all know that exercise is good for us–it can help prevent a range of health problems and diseases, from cancer to depression,” said lead author Barbara Morrison, doctoral student at the UBC.

“However, even if you are really active, our findings suggest that you still can’t outrun your risk factors,” she added.

heart-rate
Heart Rate. (IANS)

For the study, published in the journal BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, the team followed 798 “masters athletes” — adults aged 35 and older who engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity — running to cycling, rowing and hockey — at least three days a week.

Of the 798 athletes, 94 (11 per cent) were found to have significant CVD. Ten participants were found to have severe coronary artery disease — a blockage in their artery of 70 per cent or greater — despite not having any symptoms.

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While the results may seem alarming, Morrison emphasised that it does not mean middle-aged adults should stop exercising.

Moreover, it is also important to practice moderation when it comes to exercise, Morrison noted.

“There is no evidence that pushing exercise to the limit will make you live longer or your heart stronger, but when taken to the extreme, it may have the potential to do harm,” said Morrison. (IANS)