Saturday January 19, 2019

Know Your ‘Heart Age’ to Avert Attack

Patients who were told their Heart Age were far more likely to take action to live healthier lifestyles, such as quitting smoking

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

You are more likely to adopt healthy lifestyle if you know your ‘Heart Age’ rather than just knowing the “chances” of your developing a cardiovascular disease, claims a study.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer, but doctors have long struggled to explain risk factors to patients in a way that encourages them to change their behaviour — thus reducing risk.

Risk scores for diseases such as CVD are usually presented as a “percent chance” of contracting the disease within the next 10 years.

Researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain, carried out the study amongst 3,153 patients, who were randomly assigned to one of three groups before completing an annual health assessment.

One group was then presented with their chances of contracting CVD expressed as a “percentage risk”, while another received the same information expressed as their estimated “Heart Age”.

electrocardiogram
Representational image. Pixabay

A third control group only received general guidance on healthy living. Follow-up measurements were recorded a year later during the subsequent annual health assessment.

Patients who were told their Heart Age were far more likely to take action to live healthier lifestyles, such as quitting smoking.

“We know that traditional risks scores can be confusing. We wanted to test whether using the Heart Age Calculator to talk to patients about their CVD risk would have an effect on motivating them to adopt healthier lifestyles and, in turn, reduce their risk of developing CVD,” said Pedro Tauler, the lead author of the study.

Also Read: Smokers Lack Motivation, Get Tired Easily

The results showed that patients who had been told their CVD risk (both as a percentage or Heart Age) demonstrated significant decreases in their risk scores compared to the control group, with improvements being greatest in the Heart Age group.

Quitting rate for smokers was four times greater in the Heart Age group compared to those who received the traditional percentage risk scores.

“This would suggest that the mere fact of presenting the patients with information that is easy to understand has a positive effect in engaging them to take preventive action,” said Tauler. (IANS)

Next Story

Smoking, High BP Increases Risk of Heart Attack Recurrence

Previous studies have defined young heart attack patients as less than 45-years-old while some used a less than 40-year-old cut-off

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Cigarette
Smoking, high BP raises risk of heart attack relapse: Study. Pixabay

Young men who are chain smokers or suffer from hypertension could be at an increased risk of heart attack recurrence, researchers have warned.

The study found that risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease and chronic kidney disease were more prevalent among the patients who experienced a relapse.

“When treating younger patients with a history of heart attack, clinicians should emphasise better control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes,” said Joanne Karen Recacho-Turingan, a cardiology student from The Medical City in Manila, Philippines.

“Other modifiable risk factors to highlight in patient history and address with these patients include smoking habits and obesity,” Recacho-Turingan added.

The findings were presented at the Asia Conference 2018 in Shanghai.

blood pressure
BP-monitoring machine. Pixabay

For the study, researchers analysed 133 young patients and found that males (90.1 per cent) with an average age of 40.9 years, experienced a second heart attack compared to females (9.9 per cent) with an average age of 39.6 years.

In addition, in these male patients, chest pain was the most common presenting symptom (81.8 per cent) while 90.9 per cent had unstable vital signs.

Heart attack in young patients can cause disability and even death at the prime of life. There are often serious consequences for these patients, their families and the health system, which can lead to an increased economic burden, according to the study.

Also Read- New Drug Offers Treatment For Diabetes-Related Blindness

“We must make sure to work with these patients on their modifiable risk factors to reduce their risk not just for a second heart attack, but hopefully, even preventing the first,” Recacho-Turingan noted.

Previous studies have defined young heart attack patients as less than 45-years-old while some used a less than 40-year-old cut-off. (IANS)