Lowering BP reduces health risks at all weight levels
Data from the Perindopril Protection Against Recurrent Stroke Study showed lowering blood pressure reduced the risk of vascular disease and stroke among patients of all body weights. Overweight and obese patients, however, have a greater baseline cardiovascular risk, so they saw the biggest benefit of all study participants, researchers said. Medscape (free registration)/Heartwire (3/12)
Psoriasis is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke
Psoriasis may raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems, likely through a shared inflammatory response, Danish researchers told a cardiology conference. Study data showed severe psoriasis raised the risk of a heart attack by 24%, and having moderate or severe disease increased the odds of a stroke by 45%. HealthDay News
Variable blood pressure raises risk of stroke
Patients with variable blood pressure readings may be six times more likely to have a stroke compared with people who have regularly high blood pressure, study data showed. European researchers said that blood pressure treatment guidelines may need to be revised and that the number of people treated for hypertension could double. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/12)
Editor’s note: a terrific piece by John Goodman with comments by some of the greatest minds in health care policy – debating some of the most salient points.
Writing in Health Affairs, Ken Thorpe and his colleagues offer a description of the current phase of the problem:
Medicare beneficiaries’ medical needs, and where beneficiaries undergo treatment, have changed dramatically over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, most spending growth was linked to intensive inpatient (hospital) services, chiefly for heart disease. Recently, much of the growth has been attributable to chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and kidney disease. These conditions are chiefly treated not in hospitals but in outpatient settings and by patients at home with prescription drugs.
So how are we dealing with this challenge? Poorly.
Now read more and the various rebuttals…at:
Employees who used them lost weight, lowered heart disease risk, study finds
TUESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) — Workplace wellness programs help employees lose weight and reduce their risk of heart disease, a new study shows. U.S. researchers followed 757 hospital workers who took part in a voluntary 12-week, team-based wellness program that focused on diet and exercise. Data on the participants’ weight, lifestyle behavior and heart disease risk factors were collected at the start of the study, at the end of the wellness program and a year after the program ended.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers tips on how to prevent and control heart disease.
By Serena Gordon
|Editor’s note: While the story does not deal with the root causes, is it perhaps a result of increasing rates of obesity?
TUESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) — Asthma rates are increasing across the United States, a new government study shows, but certain states have significantly lower rates of the respiratory disease.
The overall rate of asthma is currently estimated to be 7.85 percent of the population, an increase of about 0.5 percent every three years. But, the report also found that some states have dramatically lower rates of asthma. For example, the study found that while almost 11 percent of people in Rhode Island had asthma, just 5 percent of those living in Louisiana had the illness.
Maybe so, maybe not.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Only 68 percent of corporate executives took their cholesterol lowering medication as prescribed by a doctor, a new study shows.
Overall, the executives who took their medication even sporadically were twice as likely to meet their cholesterol goals. The study finding also questions the prevailing wisdom that income is a primary factor in medication adherence.
Researchers in this study did not look at reasons why the executives did or didn’t follow their doctor’s orders, but past research on the topic suggests cost is a factor. However, this study population was predominately white male and more highly educated and compensated than more than the average person.
“Many people think cost is the main reason for medication non-adherence but this doesn’t appear true since these people have relatively high salaries,” said Schultz.
Using statins could actually save money. Previous research on the effectiveness of statin use in a population at high risk for cardiovascular disease found that a health plan with 210,000 covered lives and 9,336 at-risk employees could yield a $1,735 reduction in costs per treated patient.
So what can employers do? Make sure statins are a covered benefit, said Schultz. Do screening to identify at-risk employees. Partner with health care and pharmacy providers to address reasons for poor medication adherence.
Editor’s note: Real care coordination at the doctor’s office that focuses on the chronically ill and engages the patient in a meaningful way has potential.
Minnesota is working to implement a 2008 state law to improve patient care and reduce costs using a practice model that focuses on care coordination. The first phase is to begin July 1, with a focus on rolling out a medical model across the state. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (2/27)
Strokes are becoming more common among younger patients
The incidence of strokes among patients ages 20 to 45 increased to 7.3% in 2005 from 4.5% in 1993 to 1994, study data showed. Obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes may be the reasons for the increase, researchers said. The average age of stroke patients decreased from 71.3 years old to 68.4 during the same time period. HealthDay News (2/24)
February 22, 2010
A critical new report declares high blood pressure in the U.S. to be a neglected disease – a term that usually describes mysterious tropical illnesses, not a well-known plague of rich countries.
The prestigious Institute of Medicine said Monday that even though nearly one in three adults has hypertension, and it’s on the rise, fighting it apparently has fallen out of fashion: Doctors too often don’t treat it aggressively, and the government hasn’t made it enough of a priority, either.
Yet high blood pressure, the nation’s second-leading cause of death, is relatively simple to prevent and treat, the institute said.
“There’s that incredible disconnect,” said Dr. David Fleming, Seattle-King County’s public health director and chairman of the IOM committee that examined how to trim the toll.
“In our country, if you live long enough, you’re almost guaranteed to get hypertension, so this is something we should all be concerned about,” added report co-author Dr. Corinne Husten of the nonprofit Partnership for Prevention.
This is not rocket science, the report makes clear: Cut the salt. Eat more potassium. Get some exercise. Drop 10 pounds. Those steps could make a big difference in how many people suffer high blood pressure – 73 million at last count. Another 59 million are on the brink, with blood pressure hovering at levels officially deemed pre-hypertension.
So the institute urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to push doctors to better treat hypertension, and to work with communities to make it easier for people to live the healthy lifestyles that can prevent it.
Hypertension competed with other disorders for the $54 million that CDC spent on heart disease and stroke prevention last year, while it cost the health care system at least $73 billion, the institute noted.
High blood pressure is sinister because it’s silent. People seldom notice symptoms until their organs already have been damaged. Hypertension triggers more than one-third of heart attacks, is a leading cause of strokes and kidney failure, and plays a role in blindness and even dementia.