Wednesday February 19, 2020

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

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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Poor Sleep In Women Increases Risk of Heart Disease and Obesity

Poor sleep can increase cardiovascular disease risk in women

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Women who sleep poorly are at a risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. Pixabay

Women who sleep poorly tend to overeat and consume a lower-quality diet, say health and lifestyle researchers, adding that poor sleep quality can increase the risk of heart disease and obesity.

Previous studies have shown that people who get less sleep are more likely to develop obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease–and that the relationship may be partially explained by diet.

The current study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, was designed to get a more comprehensive picture in women by examining associations between overall diet quality and multiple aspects of sleep quality.

Heart sleep
Previous studies have shown that people who get less sleep are more likely to develop obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Pixabay

“Women are particularly prone to sleep disturbances across the life span, because they often shoulder the responsibilities of caring for children and family and, later, because of menopausal hormones,” said Indian-origin researcher and study senior author Brooke Aggarwal from Columbia University Vagelos.

For the findings, the researchers analysed the sleep and eating habits of an ethnically diverse group of 495 women, ages 20 to 76. The study looked at sleep quality, the time it took to fall asleep, and insomnia.

The women also reported on the types and amounts of foods they typically eat throughout the year, allowing researchers to measure their typical dietary patterns.

Similar to previous studies of sleep and diet, the study found that those with worse overall sleep quality consumed more of the added sugars associated with obesity and diabetes.

Women who took longer to fall asleep had higher caloric intake and ate more food by weight, the researchers said.

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Women are particularly prone to sleep disturbances across the life span. Pixabay

And women with more severe insomnia symptoms consumed more food by weight and fewer unsaturated fats than women with milder insomnia.

“Our interpretation is that women with poor-quality sleep could be overeating during subsequent meals and making more unhealthy food choices,” said Aggarwal. “Poor sleep quality may lead to excessive food and calorie intake by stimulating hunger signals or suppressing signals of fullness,” said study lead author Faris Zuraikat.

“Fullness is largely affected by the weight or volume of food consumed, and it could be that women with insomnia consume a greater amount of food in an effort to feel full,” Zuraikat added.

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“However, it’s also possible that poor diet has a negative impact on women’s sleep quality, eating more could also cause gastrointestinal discomfort, for instance, making it harder to fall asleep or remain asleep,” Zuraikat concluded. (IANS)