New guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say healthy adults without known heart disease should no longer take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack. It could actually do more harm than good.
The revised guidelines come in the wake of several major studies published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that low-dose aspirin did not extend life in otherwise healthy older adults and any preventive benefits were offset by the danger of internal bleeding and other side effects in people considered to be at low or moderate risk for heart disease. Continue reading
As summer ebbs, influenza season is around the corner. Public health officials are beginning their annual campaign to urge people to get a flu shot long before cases begin to peak in January or February.
So what’s new for journalists to write about this year? Take a look at what happened last flu season and at some new data showing that flu vaccination may also reduce the chances of heart attacks and stroke, especially in those 65 or older. Continue reading
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about it. There’s good news and bad news on the older adult sexual health front.
First the good news, at least if you’re an older woman. Frequent, enjoyable sex can lower risk of hypertension according to a new study by researchers at Michigan State University. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services just announced a five-year test, to begin next summer, of a new way to pay for the care of patients who have had a heart attack or need coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
As with any new payment model, unintended consequences are possible. The experimental bundled-payment program, which was announced July 25 and will begin July 1, 2017, potential could lead some physicians to sell their practices to hospitals, be financially risky and potentially harmful to the hospitals forced to participate, and could lead to an increase in heart attacks, warned Francois de Brantes, executive director of the consulting firm Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and an expert on bundled payment models. Continue reading
Postmenopausal women who eat foods higher in potassium are less likely to have strokes and die than women who eat less potassium-rich foods according to new research in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of mortality in the United States, and as this infographic shows, women account for 60 percent of all stroke cases in the U.S. Women also have higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
In this observational study, researchers tracked 90,137 postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 79, for an average 11 years. They looked at potassium consumption, incidence and type of stroke and mortality during that period. The average dietary potassium intake from food —not supplements — was 2,611 mg/day. All participants were free of stroke history at baseline. Continue reading
Just in time for the American Heart Association’s annual meeting, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Fauber offers something of a “state of the heart” address, explaining why, after years of breakthroughs and broad progress, cardiac research has suddenly hit a plateau. The short answer seems to be that, in a crowded market with a high bar for comparative effectiveness, companies can’t just pump out any old heart-related drug and get a guaranteed blockbuster anymore.
“Cardiology is no longer low-hanging fruit,” said James Stein, a cardiologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “I don’t see anything in the next five years that is going to dramatically change how we treat, other than the new blood thinners.”
Fauber pegs drugs that target genetic variation as the sector’s next growth area, but it looks like those won’t hit the market for another decade. At present, the only thing the industry can really hang its hat on is anticoagulants.