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Risk Factors

November 6, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Black men and women are twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as white men and women, according to a study led by University of Alabama doctors. Death rates from heart attacks and coronary heart disease have fallen since the 1970s, but that statement rings far truer for whites than for blacks. Studies have shown a widening gap between whites and blacks in heart disease deaths and in heart-attack hospitalizations, and new research pins down just how deadly that difference is. A paper published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Assn.
The easiest way to assess your heart disease risk may be to measure your waist. A study of more than 9,000 white men and women found that the thickness of a person's midsection is more closely associated with other risk factors, such as cholesterol and glucose levels and blood pressure, than body mass index, or BMI. BMI, which is based on height and weight, has been used since the 1980s to estimate the risk of obesity-related diseases.
February 3, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Heart disease, heart health, cardiovascular risk factors ... the terms will appear in infinite variety this month, as will the color red. If you don't know why (Valentine's Day is only part of the reason), you haven't been paying attention: February is American Heart Month and the American Heart Assn. has ramped up its Go Red for Women campaign. If you have been paying attention, good -- we can move on to more specific information. The point of the dual observances, of course, is to underscore the fact that cardiovascular disease claims about 2,200 lives a day in the United States.
January 19, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Statin drugs are used by millions of Americans to lower cholesterol, but should they be so widespread? A new study suggests maybe not. British researchers say there's little evidence that statin drugs prevent heart disease in people who are at low risk for the disease. The study involved a review of data on 34,272 patients at low risk for heart attack and stroke between 1994 and 2006. It was conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that reviews medical research.
September 13, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Living in a poorer neighborhood might put people at greater risk for having a sudden cardiac arrest, a study finds. Researchers analyzed data on sudden cardiac arrests over one year among 9,235 people in four U.S. cities and three in Canada. They also looked at median household incomes from census tracts to determine the relationship between the arrests and socioeconomic status. In six of the seven cities, the frequency of sudden cardiac arrests was substantially greater in the lowest socioeconomic areas compared with the highest.
April 5, 2010 | Los Angeles Times Health staff
Cancer, diabetes, accidents — heart disease trumps them all, killing more people in the United States than any other condition. The term is actually a fairly broad one, encompassing an array of conditions, but it's most often used as shorthand for coronary artery disease. The latter is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, which in turn can lead to chest pain, arrythmias, heart attacks and heart failure. The risk factors: High blood cholesterol High blood pressure Smoking Diabetes, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome Being overweight Growing older Family history of heart disease What you can do: Get that high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control.
April 4, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
If you find yourself spending extra hours at work, take note: They may take a physical toll. A study released today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that those who put in more than 11 hours a day at their jobs had a greater relative risk of coronary heart disease than those who worked fewer hours. Researchers looked at data on 7,095 male and female full-time British civil servants ages 39 to 62 who had no evidence of coronary heart disease at the beginning of the study.
August 9, 2010 | By Jessie Schiewe, Los Angeles Times
Signs of heart disease -- generally thought to be a disease of middle age -- can be seen even in children, cardiologists now know. But risk factors in children and young adults run the risk of being undetected and untreated, largely because of confusion as to who among the young should get screened, and when. One of the most efficient ways to screen for heart-disease risk is via tests for levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol. And yet often that screen doesn't get done.
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