Tuesday November 12, 2019

HIV Patients at Higher Risk of Developing Heart Diseases

The researchers emphasised on the importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes smoking cessation, adequate physical activity, eliminating or reducing the amount of alcohol consumed and a healthy diet

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AIDS, Indonesia, HIV
Students with their faces painted with messages pose during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to mark the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, in Chandigarh, India, May 20, 2018. (VOA)

HIV patients are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from heart and blood vessel diseases as compared to those without the infection, according to a new scientific statement.

In the statement, published in the Circulation journal, the researchers indicated that the heart disease risk among HIV patients occurs due to interactions between traditional risk factors, such as diet, lifestyle and tobacco use; and HIV-specific risk factors, such as a chronically activated immune system and inflammation characteristic of chronic HIV.

“Considerable gaps exist in our knowledge about HIV-associated diseases of the heart and blood vessels, in part because HIV’s transition from a fatal disease to a chronic condition is relatively recent, so long-term data on heart disease risks are limited,” said Matthew J. Feinstein, lead author and Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The statement, released by American Heart Association, highlighted that tobacco use, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, is common among people living with HIV.

Forty-two per cent of HIV patients were smokers, it said.

HIV. Pakistan
Participants hold placards in the shape of the red ribbon, the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV, as a hot air balloon is released during an awareness campaign ahead of World AIDS Day in Kolkata, India. VOA

The researchers said that another risk factor is the aging population of HIV patients as 75 per cent of HIV patients are over 45 years of age.

“Aging with HIV differs greatly from the aging issues facing the general population,” said Jules Levin, Founder and Executive Director of the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project.

“On average, people living with HIV who are over 60 years old have 3-7 medical conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, kidney disease, frailty and bone diseases and many take 12-15 medications daily,” Levin added.

The researchers insisted that more research is needed for informed decision-making and effective CVD prevention and treatment in the aging population of people living with HIV.

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“There is a dearth of large-scale clinical trial data on how to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases in people living with HIV,” said Feinstein.

The researchers emphasised on the importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes smoking cessation, adequate physical activity, eliminating or reducing the amount of alcohol consumed and a healthy diet. (IANS)

Next Story

People Living with HIV Significantly Elevates Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

They found that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of contracting specific diseases and illnesses

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HIV, COPD, Disease
For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers combined data from 20 separate observational studies and examined 55 different illnesses. Pixabay

People living with HIV have a significantly elevated risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and coughs, heart disease, pregnancy mortality and sepsis, anemia and bone fractures, according to a study.

For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers combined data from 20 separate observational studies and examined 55 different illnesses.

They found that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of contracting specific diseases and illnesses, some of which are more commonly associated with ageing.

“By pooling data from different studies, we have been able to show for the first time that even with the rise in life expectancy amongst people living with HIV, this population now seems to be disproportionately affected by chronic illnesses often attributable to lifestyle issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol use or more commonly associated with an older population,” said study researcher Lee Smith from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK.

HIV, COPD, Disease
People living with HIV have a significantly elevated risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and coughs, heart disease, pregnancy mortality and sepsis, anemia and bone fractures. Pixabay

Although the number of people contracting HIV is declining, approximately 1.8 million people are infected every year and HIV remains one of the world’s major health issues.

In recent years, people with HIV have benefited from improved access to antiretroviral treatment. However, increased life expectancy and a lower immunity has meant higher levels of comorbidity, with people living with HIV also more likely to suffer from other illnesses.

The greater prevalence of age-associated diseases may be explained by the persistent immunodeficiency and inflammation connected with HIV. There are also adverse effects associated with antiretroviral treatment.

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Previous studies have also suggested that people with HIV in developed countries, as a population, often exhibit greater risk factors associated with non-AIDS related illnesses, such as smoking, drug use and alcohol use. (IANS)