Citrus fruits and heart disease

Higher intake of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons can help keep you healthy as well as prevent harmful effects of obesity-related heart disease, liver disease and diabetes, a study has found.
Citrus fruits contain large amounts of antioxidants, a class of which are called flavanones.
When humans consume a high-fat diet, they accumulate fat in their bodies. Fat cells produce excessive reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in a process called oxidative stress.
These oxidative stress coupled with inflammation in obese individuals increases the risk of developing heart disease, liver disease and diabetes, the researchers said.
“Our results indicate that in the future we can use citrus flavanones to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans,” said Paula S. Ferreira, a graduate student at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil.
However, “the study did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones,” added lead researcher Thais B. Cesar from UNESP.
Even without losing weight, citrus fruits can help become healthier with lower oxidative stress, less liver damage and reduce risks of other obesity-related diseases, the researchers noted.
“The study also suggests that consuming citrus fruits probably could have beneficial effects for people who are not obese, but have diets rich in fats, putting them at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity,” Ferreira explained.
For the study, the team conducted an experiment with 50 mice, treating them with flavanones found in oranges, limes and lemons, or a high-fat diet.
They focused on flavanones such as hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol. For a month, researchers gave groups either a standard diet, a high-fat diet, a high-fat diet plus hesperidin, a high-fat diet plus eriocitrin or a high-fat diet plus eriodictyol.
The group who consumed high-fat diet without the flavanones showed increase in the levels of cell-damage markers called thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by 80 per cent in the blood and 57 per cent in the liver compared to mice on a standard diet.
But hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol were found to decrease the TBARS levels in the liver by 50 per cent, 57 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively, compared with mice fed on a high-fat diet but not given flavanones.
Eriocitrin and eriodictyol also reduced TBARS levels in the blood by 48 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively, in these mice.
In addition, mice treated with hesperidin and eriodictyol had reduced fat accumulation and damage in the liver.
The findings were presented at the 252nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), held in Philadelphia, recently.

Every man

Every man is the builder of a Temple called his body, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. Henry David Thoreau

Gum disease, heart disease and strokes

A report from The Netherlands adds to the evidence tying chronic gum disease to heart disease and stroke.
In a study of more than 60,000 dental patients, those with gum disease were twice as likely to have had a heart attack, stroke or severe chest pain.
Previous studies have linked periodontitis and clogged arteries, but this is the first to investigate the link in a group of people this large, the researchers say.
At the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, the largest dental school in the Netherlands, investigators reviewed the medical records of 60,174 patients age 35 and older, looking for an association between periodontal gum disease and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases such as angina, heart attack and stroke.
About 4 per cent of patients with periodontitis had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, compared to 2 per cent without periodontitis, the researchers found.
Even after taking other risk factors for cardiovascular disease into account, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking, those with periodontal disease were still 59 per cent more likely to have a history of heart problems, according to a report in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
In periodontal disease, the advanced stage of the gum disease gingivitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and create pockets that can become infected. Periodontitis has also been tied to other conditions such as skin disease and dementia.
“It’s clear that periodontitis is associated with chronic inflammation, so it makes sense biologically that if you have a heavy infection in your mouth, you also have a level of inflammation that will contribute to heart conditions,” said Panos Papapanou of Columbia University in New York, who has studied the association between gum disease and heart disease but wasn’t involved in the current study.
The research team suggests that gum disease develops first and may promote heart disease through chronic infection and bacteria in the circulatory system.
Dr. Bruno Loos, the senior author of the new report, said by email that “plausible mechanisms to explain the relationship” may include a common genetic background for the way the body handles inflammation, oral bacteria and immune responses.
Still, this kind of observational study can’t prove that gum disease causes heart problems.
“The association does not provide proof (of causation), even when the results from our study corroborate findings from previous similar research,” study coauthor Geert van der Heijden said by email.
Papapanou told Reuters Health that while the new findings are from patients with a relatively high socioeconomic status, “we’re repeatedly seeing the same conclusion.”
“It seems all over the globe we have to consider this relationship,” Loos said.
In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, more than 600,000 people die from heart disease, which accounts for one in four deaths.
Dr. Frank Scannapieco, chairman of the Department of Oral Biology at the University at Buffalo in New York, who wasn’t involved with the study, commented to Reuters Health that while the association of periodontitis and coronary disease is “robust,” the strength of the link is “moderate compared to traditional risk factors such as hypertension.”
Papapanou advises: “Take care of your oral health for oral health itself. If you know there’s a positive association between oral health and other diseases, would you ignore it? I wouldn’t.”

physical body

Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense. Henry Miller

Obesity and heart failure

Morbidly obese people are more than two times as likely to have heart failure than those with a healthy body weight, though they are not more likely to have other cardiovascular problems like stroke or heart disease, according to John Hopkins researchers.
The researchers could not explain the link, even after accounting for other risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes that are known to be connected to extra weight. It may be the weight puts higher demand on the heart and fat may release toxic molecules.
The study, published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association, suggests that while there are treatments for other heart related maladies, weight loss may be the only sure-fire approach to stave off heart failure. 
“Obesity in our study has emerged as one of the least explained and likely most challenging risk factors for heart failure because there is no magic pill to treat it, no drugs that can easily address the problem like there are for high cholesterol and high blood pressure,” says Dr. Chiadi Ndumele, assistant professor of medicine and member of theCiccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Hopkins' School of Medicine. “Even with diet and exercise, people struggle to lose weight and keep it off, and for the morbidly obese, the struggle is often insurmountable.”
About a third of Americans are obese and more than five percent morbidly obese. And almost six million people have heart failure, where an enlarged or weakened heart muscle diminishes the heart’s efficiency, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those suffering from heart failure often are short of breath and fatigued and have swollen ankles.
In the pool of records reviewed for the study, which was funded by grants from theNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the higher the body mass index, the higher the risk for heart failure.
“Even if my patients have normal blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, I believe I still have to worry that they may develop heart failure if they are severely obese,” Ndumele said in a statement. “If our data are confirmed, we need to improve our strategies for heart failure prevention in this population.”

Take care of your body

Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live. Jim Rohn

People are ending up in hospital because we're living longer

The number of people going to hospital in the UK with heart disease and stroke is rising, new figures have revealed. 
There were 1.69 million hospital visits for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2013 to 2014 across the UK, which is up from 1.64 million in 2010 to 2011.
However, deaths from CVD - which includes heart disease, strokes and peripheral artery disease - are decreasing, figures from the British Heart Foundation show.
The charity warned up to seven million people in the UK are currently living with cardiovascular disease - but the death rate has fallen from around 341,000 deaths in 1979 to 155,000 deaths in 2014. 

It said better diagnosis and treatments have helped to dramatically cut the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke while an increasing and ageing population may be prompting the higher numbers of hospital visits.
It is also calling for more research to help prevent, diagnose and treat heart disease as the increasing hospital visits for CVD is placing a massive burden on the healthcare system.

The Oxford University researchers, commissioned by the BHF, looked at a range of materials including trends in hospital admissions, prevalence, and treatment data along with mortality and population data from the UK's national statistics agencies.
They also looked at a range of surveys including Health Surveys of England and Scotland General Lifestyle Survey (GLS) along with data on hospital admissions and diagnosis from National Health Service records.
The researchers suggested potentially higher levels of deprivation might help to explain why Scotland had the highest death rates and prevalence of CVD in the UK

They found that 4.3 per cent of Scotland's population was living with coronary heart disease, compared with 3.9 per cent of those living in both Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3.3 per cent in England.
Coronary heart disease death rates decreased by 72 per cent in England, 70 per cent in Wales, 71 per cent in Scotland and 76 per cent in Northern Ireland between 1979 and 2013.
Researcher Dr Nick Townsend, of the University of Oxford, said: 'Despite large reductions in mortality from CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke, these conditions have remained a substantial burden to the UK, with rises in treatment and hospital admissions for all CVD.'

Immediate hospital treatment is the best option for someone who is suffering a heart attack or stroke, according to Professor Peter Weissberg of the BHF.
He called for more research to try and find a way to eradicate atherosclerosis, a potentially serious condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances.
The study is to be published in the journal Heart.