Young Adults with Hypertension at Higher Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yuichiro Yano MD PhD Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine Duke University

Dr. Yano

Yuichiro Yano MD PhD
Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine
Duke University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: New blood pressure guidelines, issued in 2017 in the US, lowered the blood pressure thresholds for hypertension from systolic blood pressure/diastolic ≥140/90 mm Hg to systolic/diastolic ≥130/80 mm Hg. This change increased the prevalence of hypertension two- to three-fold among young adults. The guidelines also newly defined elevated blood pressure as, 120-129 mmHg systolic blood pressure over 80 mmHg diastolic or less. However, no study investigated that high blood pressure, as defined by the new criteria, is something that younger people should be concerned about as a potential precursor to serious problems.

Our study is among the first to report that people younger than age 40 who have elevated blood pressure or hypertension are at increased risk of heart failure, strokes and blood vessel blockages as they age. Continue reading

Women With History of Preeclampsia or Gestational Hypertension Have Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology  Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  Division of Women's Health Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Stuart

Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Division of Women’s Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are common pregnancy complications involving high blood pressure that develops for the first time during pregnancy and returns to normal after delivery. Approximately 10 to 15% of all women who have given birth have a history of either preeclampsia or gestational hypertension. Previous studies have shown that women with a history of high blood pressure in pregnancy are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease events like heart attack and stroke later in life when compared to women with normal blood pressure in pregnancy. However, what is less clear is to what extent these women are more likely to develop chronic hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol and when these risk factors begin to emerge after pregnancy.

We examined this question in a cohort of nearly 60,000 American women who we were able to follow for up to 50 years after their first pregnancy. Previous studies have been limited by small numbers, short follow-up, or a lack of information on shared risk factors, such as pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking, and family history. This research was conducted within the Nurses’ Health Study II, which collected data on these pre-pregnancy factors in tens of thousands of women over several decades.

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Safety Net and Smaller Hospitals Not Well Represented in Medicare’s Bundled Payment Program for Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dan Blumenthal, MD, MBA Assistant in Medicine, Division of Cardiology Massachusetts General Hospital Instructor in Medicine Harvard Medical School

Dr. Blumenthal

Dan Blumenthal, MD, MBA
Assistant in Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Instructor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite dramatic advances in the treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the past half-century, CVD remains a leading cause of death and health care spending in the United States (US) and worldwide. More than 2000 Americans die of CVD each day, and more than $200 billion dollars is spent on the treatment of CVD each year in the US By 2030, over 40% of the US population is projected to have some form of CVD, at a cost of $1 trillion to the US economy.

The tremendous clinical and financial burden of cardiovascular illness has helped motivated policymakers to develop policy tools that have the potential to improve health care quality and curb spending.  Alternative payment models, and specifically bundled payments—lump sum payment for defined episodes of care which typically subsume an inpatient hospitalization and some amount of post-acute care—represent a promising tool for slowing health care spending and improving health care value.

Despite broad interest in implementing bundled payments to achieve these aims, our collective understanding of the effects of bundled payments on .cardiovascular disease care quality and spending, and the factors associated with success under this payment model, are limited.

Medicare’s Bundled Payments of Care Improvement (BPCI) is an ongoing voluntary, national pilot program evaluating bundled payments for 48 common conditions and procedures, including several common cardiovascular conditions and interventions.   In this study, we compared hospitals that voluntarily signed up for the four most commonly subscribed cardiac bundles—those for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and percutaneous coronary intervention—with surrounding control hospitals in order to gain some insight into the factors driving participation, and to assess whether the hospitals participating in these bundles were broadly representative of a diverse set of U.S. acute care hospitals.  Continue reading

Bone Density Scans Can Also Assess Abdominal Aortic Calcification and Cardiovascular Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joshua Lewis, PhD National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow, Edith Cowan University, School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Kidney Research Children’s Hospital Westmead Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, School of Public Health University of Sydney

Dr. Lewis

Dr. Joshua Lewis, PhD
National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow, Edith Cowan University, School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Kidney Research
Children’s Hospital Westmead
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, School of Public Health
University of Sydney 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Bone scans from bone density machines are widely used to predict future fracture risk. These scans can also be used to detect the presence and severity of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), which is a marker of advanced atherosclerosis.

We examined bone scans of over one thousand Australian women that were taken in the late 1990s using a method developed many years ago by one of the authors Dr. Kiel from the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School, and validated on scans from bone density machines by the joint first author Dr. Schousboe from the University of Minnesota. More than 2/3rd of these women had detectable AAC and women with more advanced calcification had increased likelihood of long-term cardiovascular hospitalizations and deaths as well as deaths from any cause. These finding remained significant even after adjusting for conventional cardiovascular risk factors.

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Both Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets Beneficial for Weight Loss and Heart Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Vegetarian dan dan noodles” by Andrea Nguyen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Francesco Sofi, MD PhD
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine
University of Florence, Florence, Italy; Clinical Nutrition Unit, Careggi University Hospital
Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation Italy, Onlus IRCCS
Florence, Italy 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Mediterranean and Vegetarian diets are two of the most beneficial dietary patterns for prevention of chronic degenerative diseases.

No studies have been conducted in the same group of subjects, by comparing these two dietary profiles.

Main results are that both diets have been found to be beneficial for cardiovascular prevention, in the same group of subjects at low risk of cardiovascular disease.

In particular, vegetarian diet determined a reduction of total and LDL-cholesterol, whereas Mediterranean diet resulted in lower levels of triglycerides and some inflammatory parameters

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Current Statin Guidelines May Miss Young Adults At Risk of Heart Attack

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Avinainder Singh, M.B.B.S. Research Fellow Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham & Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA

Dr. Singh

Avinainder Singh, M.B.B.S.
Research Fellow
Cardiovascular Medicine
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Overall, the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) in the US has declined. However, it has remained stable in adults <50 years of age.

We evaluated the statin eligibility of a cohort of adults who had an MI at a young age using current guidelines – the 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines for cholesterol treatment and the 2016 USPSTF guidelines on use of statins for primary prevention.

In, our study we found that only 49% of these young adults would have been eligible for statin therapy prior to their MI according the 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines, and only 29% would have been eligible according to the USPSTF guidelines, despite a high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors. These numbers were even more striking for women where only 18% were eligible for statin therapy according to the USPSTF guidelines.

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Gestational Diabetes Associated With Greater Risk Of Heart Attack and Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20817 

Dr. Zhang

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD
Senior Investigator
Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health.
Bethesda, MD 20817

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a common pregnancy complication. The American Heart Association identifies gestational diabetes as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women, based on consistent evidence for the relationships between gestational diabetes and subsequent hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Also, previous studies identify GDM as a risk factor for intermediate markers of CVD risk; however, few are prospective, evaluate hard cardiovascular disease end points, or account for shared risk factors including body weight and lifestyle.

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Young and Female Low Socioeconomic African Americans At Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Samson Y. Gebreab, Ph.D., M.Sc. Lead Study Author and Research Scientist National Human Genome Research Institute Bethesda, MarylandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Samson Y. Gebreab, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Lead Study Author and Research Scientist
National Human Genome Research Institute
Bethesda, Maryland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Gebreab: It is well known that African Americans hold a commanding lead in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and morbidity compared to whites and other ethnic groups.  Furthermore, the risk for developing CVD begins early in life and extends over a lifecourse.  Previous studies have indicated the influence of both childhood and adult socioeconomic status (SES) on CVD risk. However, the impact of lifecourse socioeconomic status (both childhood and adulthood) on CVD risk in African American population is not fully understood.  The purpose of our study was to investigate the associations of different measures of lifecourse socioeconomic status with cardiovascular disease risk in African Americans and whether the associations were modified by sex and/ or age after controlling for known cardiovascular disease risk factors.  We analyzed 10-year follow-up data of African American adults who were participating in Jackson Heart Study, Jackson, MS.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Gebreab: Our findings highlights that among those of lower socioeconomic status,  women and younger (<=50 years old)  African Americans are at increased risk of CVD, including heart disease and stroke compared to their counterparts of higher socioeconomic status groups.

         African American women in the lowest socioeconomic status, had more than twice the risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those in the highest socioeconomic status group.

         African Americans of 50 years and younger in the lowest socioeconomic status group had more than three times higher risk of experiencing a cardiovascular disease event than those in the highest socioeconomic status group.
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Cardiovascular Disease: Declining Mortality, Increasing Costs and Disability

Ankur Pandya PhD Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Health Policy Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical CollegeMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ankur Pandya PhD
Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Health Policy
Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Pandya: Our study looked at the impact of some of the future risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the United States.  Using nine National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey waves from 1973 to 2010 we forecasted disease risk and prevalence from 2015 to 2030. We found that despite continued improvements in the disease’s treatment and declining smoking rates, increasing obesity rates, the aging population, and declining mortality from the disease should cause a rise in health care costs, disability, and reductions in the quality of life associated with increased disease prevalence.
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