Thursday September 20, 2018

Omega-3 levels may better predict mortality risk than cholesterol

"We all know that the serum cholesterol level is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), and since the latter is a major cause of death, it would be reasonable to expect that a high cholesterol level would portend higher risk for premature death", said a researcher

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Omega-3 acids can indicate risk of cardiovascular diseases. Pixabay
Omega-3 acids can indicate risk of cardiovascular diseases. Pixabay
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  • Presence of Omega-3 can help in detecting cardiovascular diseases
  • More cholesterol means more risk of disease
  • It is important for one to keep their cholesterol in check

Measuring the levels of Omega-3 fatty acids present in the blood may indicate the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and mortality more profoundly than serum cholesterol, researchers have claimed. The serum cholesterol level is the total amount of cholesterol present in the blood.

Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Pixabay

A higher “Omega-3 Index” a combination of the EPA and DHA (two important types of Omega-3) content of red blood cell membranes is associated with a 33 per cent reduced risk of death due to total cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, total coronary heart disease events, and total strokes, the study showed.

“We all know that the serum cholesterol level is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), and since the latter is a major cause of death, it would be reasonable to expect that a high cholesterol level would portend higher risk for premature death,” said lead author William Harris, researcher at Britain’s University of Nottingham.

Also Read: Omega-3s from fish more effective in cancer prevention

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, the team compared the total serum cholesterol and Omega-3 fatty acids, two “risk factors” for heart disease, in 2,500 individuals aged 60 years, who were free of known cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline.

benefits of donating blood
It is important to keep one’s biostat levels in check. Pixabay

Researchers primarily focussed on total mortality (death from any cause) as an end-point, but also tracked death from CVD, cancer and other causes. In addition, they reported the associations between Omega-3 Index levels and a risk for any CVD event fatal or not whether a heart attack or stroke.The results showed that the category most strongly associated with the Omega-3 Index was non-cardiovascular disease, non-cancer deaths from all other causes.

“When baseline serum cholesterol levels were substituted for the Omega-3 Index in the same multi-variable models, the former was not significantly associated with any of the tracked outcomes whereas the latter was related to four of the five outcomes assessed,” Harris said. IANS

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Aspirin Doesn’t Prevent Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases, says Study

McNeil said aspirin remains a relatively safe medication but more research was needed to investigate the longer-term benefits and risks of its daily use

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Aspirin
Aspirin pills are arranged on a counter in New York, Aug. 23, 2018. New studies find most people won't benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. (VOA)

Australia’s largest clinical trial has concluded that taking a daily dose of aspirin does not reduce the chance of death, disability or cardiovascular disease, the results of a five-year study revealed on Monday.

Led by researchers at Monash University and involving more than 19,000 participants, the study known as Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE), did reveal a slightly increased risk of major bleeding problems, reports Xinhua news agency.

Head of Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, John McNeil said that the trial was long overdue and he hopes that the results will help inform prescribing doctors who have long been uncertain whether to recommend the drug to otherwise healthy patients.

“Despite the fact that aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, we have not known whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive measure to keep them healthy for longer,” McNeil said.

Aspirin
Aspirin doesn’t reduce heart attack risk: Australian study. Pixabay

“Aspirin is the most widely used of all preventive drugs and an answer to this question is long overdue — ASPREE has provided this answer.”

Aside from the risk of major bleeding problems which rose from 2.8 to 3.8 per cent, no other significant differences were observed between the placebo group and those taking the aspirin.

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Researchers have noted that the results only apply to those over 70 years of age who are otherwise healthy and not to those with existing conditions such as a previous heart attack, angina or stroke, where aspirin is recommended as a valuable preventive drug.

McNeil said aspirin remains a relatively safe medication but more research was needed to investigate the longer-term benefits and risks of its daily use. (IANS)