What new studies reveal on important factors behind heart problems?

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Heart is one organ of your body that is responsible for keeping you fit and stable at all times. That explains why people are particular about taking care of their heart over other organs. While diet related factors and lifestyle issues can lead to heart complications, new studies are revealing hitherto unknown factors that can also lead to cardiovascular problems. Bizarre as it may sound to some, lack of hair on scalp can also indicate poor heart health.

A study finding published in British Medical Journal indicates heart disorder does have links with balding in men. Mary Ann McLaughlin a cardiologist said while majority of people think of high blood pressure and sedentary lifestyle as far as heart attacks are concerned, this could also be an indicator. The study finding show men with baldness on top of head are more likely to suffer from heart disease. In fact they are 70 percent more susceptible than others. For balding men over 50 years or more the risk is as much as 84 percent. However, for some reason men with lightly receding hairline do not face the risk as much.

The BMJ study researchers think baldness may be indicator of chronic inflammation and insulin resistance –factors that can lead to cardiac attack. McLaughlin said insulin resistance and Inflammation can affect artery health and that can lead to heart attacks. The researchers think that the finding can lead to new ways to stop heart problems.

The National Heart Foundation cautions suspense filled events like watching a football match can be bad for your heart. The same can be said about other major sports events which can stress people worrying about the outcome. Unexpected mental stress like demise of a loved one can also trigger heart attacks. However, researchers think that the old view about job stress taking toll on heart is not true.

Nick Glozier, a study author who was part of a study carried out on factors leading to heart attacks say impact of work stress on human heart is not that severe. The researchers think it is important to have control over factors that are known to be prominent. It has also been found that apart from health factors, social isolation can also contribute to poor heart health. The study also unveiled possibility for augmented cardiovascular risk in populations subjected to natural disasters. After the infamous 9/11 attack the number of people admitted to NY hospitals increased substantially, shows the data.

James Tatoulis, chief medical adviser of the National Heart Foundation of Australia is of the view this finding can be used to cope with emergency situations. He also thinks arrangements need to be made for defibrillators where large scale sports and public events are held. Unusual events like missile strikes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks can also lead to heart problems. The study also showed people undergoing major bereavement can face 40 percent enhanced mortality risk from cardiac attacks. Risk of moderate heart tacks after 24 hours after a loss or close one’s death was 21 percent.

Acute emotional stress like a close person’s death can trigger a cardiovascular condition like takotsubo cardiomyopathy which results in heart muscles shrinking in hour glass shape. It is seen more in women over 45 years, said Professor Tatoulis.

In another study carried out in New Zealand it has been found that changing and fats from your food and replacing them with healthy fats can do wonders for your heart health. The University of Otago Researchers analyzed data obtained from a number of international studies on links between polyunsaturated and saturated fat and heart diseases.

They applied study findings to general Kiwi diet and found changing 5% daily energy intake to daily energy intake from saturated fats can cut down heart disease risk by 10 percent. They also noted government should take steps to make fat laden foods costlier. However, more studies are required before they can suggest so in a conclusive manner. The study’s co author Professor Nick Wilson, said the purpose of it was to find ways to reduce heart disease in New Zealand. It continues to be a major health menace.

The study authors are however confident that shifting from saturated fats like butter with unsaturated fats like vegetable oils reduces  heart disease risk. Replacing red meat with fresh fish and cheese with nuts can also help in this regard, said the study authors. The authors said that following the examples of European countries, New Zealand government should impose tax on saturated fat and sugary foods. Denmark did so in 2011. Professor Wilson said plans like proving healthy lunch to school kids can also be thought of. He added that the example followed by France of adding tax on soft drinks can be tried.

The study made waves in health community as expected. Auckland University of Technology’s Professor of Nutrition Elaine Rush raised the question whether New Zealanders should opt for oil change. Prof Rush said they do not eat plenty of produce or unsaturated fat made foods as it is. The authors are of the view that the way food is prepared should be changed to begin with. This is applicable both to households and fast food joints. Better packaging information can be another way of making people aware of nutritional information of every food they buy, say the researchers. This is something the authorities in Australia are doing, they pointed out.





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