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High thyroid hormone levels may up heart disease in elderly

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November1’2017:  Older adults with higher levels of a thyroid hormone may be at an increased risk of artery disease and consequent death, according to new research.

Free thyroxine (known as FT4) is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland that helps control the rate at which the body uses energy.

The findings showed that elderly with high levels of FT4 hormone may be at twice the risk of having high levels of coronary artery calcification scores, which may be an indicator of atherosclerosis — the process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of arteries from fat deposits on their inner lining.

“We expected that thyroid function would influence the risk of developing atherosclerosis by affecting cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure.

“However, our results remained very similar after accounting for several cardiovascular risk factors,” said lead author Arjola Bano, from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

“This suggests that mechanisms other than traditional cardiovascular risk factors may play a role,” Bano added.

Further, increasing FT4 levels were associated with 87 per cent greater risk of suffering an atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular event as well as double the risk of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular death.

“Our findings suggest that thyroid hormone FT4 measurement can help identify individuals at increased risk of atherosclerosis,” Bano said.

For the study, detailed in the journal Circulation Research, the team analysed data from 9,420 participants with an average age 65.

They looked at data on two types of hormones: thyroid-stimulating hormone and free thyroxine (known as FT4) and their link to atherosclerosis and death due to coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease or other artery-related illness.(IANS)

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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)