Articles on Cardiovascular
Friday, August 17th, 2012
Bergamot, a plant grown in southern Italy, has demonstrated strong cholesterol-lowering effects. The active components, which are polyphenols, act by reducing lipid absorption from the gut, and also by inhibiting cholesterol production in the liver.
Taken alone, Bergamot may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 31% and triglycerides by 37%. It has benefits superior to statins in reducing triglycerides, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and altering the size of LDL molecules from small and dense to large and fluffy, thus reducing their plaque-forming effect. Bergamot can also be used in conjunction with a statin drug to provide a combined lipid-lowering effect, allowing for a lower dose of the statin drug and lesser risk of statin side effects.
Niacin, plant sterols, and other nutrients may be added to bergamot for collective cholesterol suppression, bypassing conventional statin drugs altogether, except in patients with pre-existing coronary artery disease, who should continue statins if they are tolerated.
Monday, July 30th, 2012
Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve by calcification, usually occurring in older people or those with congenital defects in aortic valve formation. When the valve gets too narrow, the heart has to pump extra hard to force blood into the aorta and into the rest of the body. Eventually heart failure, chest pain or passing out will occur, ultimately leading to death unless the valve is surgically replaced.
Until now, older people who were too ill to undergo open heart surgery to replace the valve would die. A new procedure has arrived, allowing for valve replacement without opening the chest and putting the patient on a heart-lung machine. A special catheter is threaded up the aorta from entry in the groin artery. An artificial valve at the end of the catheter is placed carefully and exactly within the orifice of the aortic valve, then expanded by inflation of a balloon. The calcified natural valve is pushed against the sides of the aorta, and the new valve is fixed in place, allowing for a larger passage. (more…)
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
An invasive cardiologist in Maryland recently had his license revoked by the state medical board for 2 years, for implanting unnecessary cardiac stents in his patients. He was the head of cardiology at his hospital. One day he had implanted 30 stents. Review of his cases revealed that he had overestimated the degree of blockage, and between 2007 and 2009 had inserted 585 unnecessary stents, at a cost of $3.8 million paid by Medicare.
Six hundred thousand angioplasties are performed in the US every year. Cardiac stents are of value in patients with new heart attacks, where they may reduce the extent of damage, and in patients with disabling angina, whose chest pain prevents them from performing daily activities or exercising. In patients with stable, non-limiting chest pain, heart catheterizations and stents offer no benefit, either in preventing heart attacks or prolonging life, over optimal medical therapy. (more…)
Sunday, December 11th, 2011
Berberine is a plant-derived product effective in lowering blood sugar in diabetics, and also in lowering cholesterol levels. The method of action is to increase expression of the insulin receptor. In one study, berberine hydrochloride given to 50 type 2 diabetics lowered HgbA1c by 18%, fasting blood glucose by 25%, and triglycerides by 17%. These effects were similar to those of metformin and of rosiglitazone, two drugs commonly used to treat diabetes.
Our Berberine formulation, called BerberMAX, also contains grapeseed extract. The dosage is 1000 mg, or three capsules daily, in divided doses. We prescribe it alone, mainly for patients with prediabetes, or HgbA1c 5.7-6.5%. It may also be used in combination with Diaxinol, another formulation containing chromium, vanadium and alpha lipoic acid. These supplements act together to further reduce blood sugar.
Berberine is compatible with medications used for treating diabetes. Side effects are minimal. After starting berberine, wait 6-8 weeks before measuring HgbA1C and cholesterol. It takes that long to assess full effects.
Allan Sosin MD
Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Along with their many other benefits, omega three fatty acids, primarily found in fish, have now been found protective against the development of heart failure. (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2 August, 2011, pp. 160-170) In adults aged 65 years or older, the incidence of new onset heart failure was substantially lower in subjects with the highest blood concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids. Over an observation period of 10 years, people in the lowest quartile of fish oil concentrations had twice the risk of developing heart failure as those in the highest quartile.
Heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalizations in older adults, and one of the most common causes of death.
This beneficial effect of fish oil likely results from several factors:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased heart muscle elasticity leading to improved filling during the relaxation phase
- Dilatation of larger blood vessels, with lowering of vascular resistance
- Increased production of nitric oxide to dilate blood vessels
- Increase of HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering of triglycerides
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
An ultrasound study uses sound wave reflections in the body to visualize structure. Newer machines can detect minute variations in tissues. Ultrasound can measure increased thickness of arterial walls, which indicates damage and a loss of resiliency. Abnormalities in the carotids, arteries in the neck, can be detected. They correspond to changes in heart arteries, which are located too deep to be measured by ultrasound.
A current study reveals increased thickening of carotid arteries in men taking antidepressants.
The study was performed at Emory university in Atlanta, Georgia, and presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Antidepressant use of all types, including SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors, including Prozac and Zoloft) , was associated with a 5% increase in carotid artery thickness, corresponding to a 7% increase in the risk of having a heart attack.
The finding held true for identical twins as well. The twins taking antidepressants had thicker carotid artery walls than their siblings who were not taking these drugs.
A possible cause could be release of nerve transmitters that constrict blood vessels. It was recommended that patients with prior history of cardiovascular events should be carefully evaluated for adverse effects from antidepressant drugs. I think back on the many patients I have seen who were released from the cardiac unit on antidepressant drugs, because they were “depressed” after having suffered heart attacks. Were they being set up for more heart attacks?
Allan Sosin MD
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Beverages formulated with whey proteins may offer a dietary approach to reducing blood pressure in people at risk of hypertension, suggests a new study.
Young adults in the early stages of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) experienced significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures following six weeks of drinking a whey-rich beverage every day, according to findings published in the International Dairy Journal.
Effects were observed whether the subjects consumed hydrolyzed or non-hydrolyzed whey beverages, leading the researchers to propose that the benefits were due to a factor other than the presence of antihypertensive peptides was produced during hydrolysis.
“The majority of the subjects enjoyed the taste and convenience of the functional whey protein beverages. Taste and convenience are both important to ensure compliance during a dietary intervention,” wrote researchers from Washington State University.
“Whey protein beverages may be a valuable dietary intervention in the treatment of hypertension,” they added.
High blood pressure (hypertension),defined as having a systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) greater than 140 and 90 mmHg, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) – a disease that causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169bn ($202bn) per year.
Read the rest of this article here.
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Use of fish oil was shown to significantly decrease blood pressure in overweight adolescent boys. High blood pressure, imbalances in blood lipids and other markers of metabolic and cardiovascular disease can follow adolescents into adult hood potentially leading to more serious disease processes.
IPM offers a high-quality fish oil supplement, Mega Omega Balance.
Source: Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on Markers of the Metabolic Syndrome
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
Men, wanting to add years to their life, should consider supplementing with calcium beyond what is recommended as the daily dose. The latest science shows that Swedish men who supplemented with relatively high doses of calcium reduced their all-cause mortality, including death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
IPM offers the calcium supplements CALM Plus Calcium and Reacted Cal-Mag.
Source: Dietary Calcium and Magnesium Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Men
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
Low plasma levels of vitamin B6 are now being associated with increased risk markers of inflammation, oxidative stress and metabolic disease, all of which can lead to increased risk of heart disease.
Higher levels of P-5-P, the active form of vitamin B6, were linked to lower levels of important markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are related to heart disease risk.
Source: Association of vitamin B-6 status with inflammation, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammatory conditions: the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study