Thursday November 21, 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)

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Stop Consuming Ultra-Processed Foods For A Healthy Heart

Consuming a lot of ultra-processed foods can lower heart health

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Ultra-processed food
Ultra-processed food can deteriorate heart health. Pixabay

If you are eating too much ultra-processed foods, stop consuming it now as researchers have found that eating fast food is linked to lower heart health.

“Eating ultra-processed foods often displaces healthier foods that are rich in nutrients, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, which are strongly linked to good heart health,” said study research Zefeng Zhang from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

“In addition, ultra-processed foods are often high in salt, added sugars, saturated fat and other substances associated with increasing the risk of heart disease,” Zhang added.

Ultra-processed foods are made entirely or mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, hydrogenated fats, added sugar, modified starch and other compounds and include cosmetic additives such as artificial flavours, colours or emulsifiers.

Examples include soft drinks, packaged salty snacks, cookies, cakes, processed meats, chicken nuggets, powdered and packaged instant soups and many items often marketed as “convenience foods.”

 ultra-processed
Ultra-processed food items are marketed as ‘convenience foods.’ Pixabay

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected between 2011 and 2016, researchers reviewed the results from 13,446 adults, 20 years of age and older, who completed a 24-hour dietary recall and answered questions about their cardiovascular health.

Researchers have found that for every five per cent increase in calories from ultra-processed foods a person ate, there was a corresponding decrease in overall cardiovascular health.

Adults who ate approximately 70 per cent of their calories from ultra-processed foods were half as likely to have ‘ideal’ cardiovascular health, compared with people who ate 40 per cent or less of their calories from ultra-processed foods.

Also Read- Indians Are Cooking Western Food In Their Kitchens: Survey

“This study underscores the importance of building a healthier diet by eliminating foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes and other processed foods,” said Donna Arnett from the University of Kentucky in the US.

The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 from November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US. (IANS)