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COVID Raises Heart Attack Risk for People With High Cholesterol

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The central theses

  • A new study finds that people with genetically high cholesterol, heart disease, or both were more prone to heart attacks after being infected with COVID-19.
  • People with genetically high levels of cholesterol are at high risk of developing heart disease.
  • Doctors believe that the increased risk of a heart attack when infected with COVID-19 could be linked to inflammation in the body caused by the virus.

According to a new study, people with genetically high cholesterol, heart disease, or both were more prone to heart attacks after contracting COVID-19.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Cardiology, analyzed data from 55,412,462 people and divided them into six groups:

  • Those diagnosed with genetically high cholesterol – also known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)
  • The ones who probably had UAS
  • Those who have been diagnosed with a type of heart condition called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD)
  • Those diagnosed with both FH and ASCVD
  • The ones who likely had both FH and ASCVD
  • Those who had neither FH nor ASCVD

The groups were further divided into patients who had COVID-19 and those who didn’t.

The overall heart attack rates in all groups were low – only one was just over 2%. But there have been more heart attack cases in those who have had COVID-19. Specifically, the researchers found that heart attack rates were highest in people diagnosed with COVID-19 who were either diagnosed with genetically high cholesterol or who were likely diagnosed with genetically high cholesterol along with heart disease.

“We already know that people with familial hypercholesterolemia are already at very high risk of a cardiovascular event,” study co-author Katherine Wilemon, founder and CEO of the FH Foundation, told Verywell. “But the data shows that COVID infections also increase the risk. We wanted to look at the intersection and see the effects on the individual. ”

The researchers also discovered that people with undiagnosed genetically high cholesterol “are at high risk for cardiovascular events, especially if they have COVID-19,” says study co-author Kelly Myers, chief technology officer of the FH Foundation. opposite Verywell.

What is familial hypercholesterolemia?

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a condition that is passed on through the family. The condition results in high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is known as the “bad” form of cholesterol in the body. It starts at birth and can cause heart attacks in patients at a young age.

About 1 in 250 people has familial hypercholesterolemia. If the disease is left untreated, people with the disease are up to 22 times more likely to have heart disease than those who do not have FH.

People with genetically high cholesterol may not have symptoms when they are younger. However, if symptoms develop, they can include:

  • Oily deposits of skin called xanthomas on parts of the hands, elbows, knees, ankles and around the cornea of ​​the eye
  • Cholesterol build-up in the eyelids is known as xanthelasma
  • Chest pain or other signs of coronary artery disease, even at a young age
  • Cramps in one or both calves when walking
  • Sores on the toes that don’t heal
  • Stroke-like symptoms such as difficulty speaking, getting caught on one side of the face, weakness in an arm or leg, and loss of balance

The COVID-19 Heart Attack Connection

It’s not entirely clear why people with familial hypercholesterolemia are at higher risk of having a heart attack after COVID-19, but doctors suggest that this may be related to inflammation.

The increased risk “could be related to the inflammation of the blood vessels that occurs with COVID-19”. Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, says Verywell.

“COVID-19 is an infection, and any infection causes inflammation in the body – this is how our immune system works,” says Robert Greenfield, MD, cardiologist and lipidologist at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in California Very Well. People with FH already have inflammation around plaques and blockages that form in their blood vessels, and adding COVID-19 to the equation can make things worse, he says.

“COVID-19 is coming and this new insult sets off an inflammatory response that causes these plaques to burst or rupture like a volcano,” explains Greenfield. This creates a blockage that can lead to a heart attack.

“People with familial hypercholesterolemia sit on a powder keg,” he says.

Treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia

Treatment for genetically high cholesterol should reduce the risk of heart disease. It can include diet changes such as:

  • Eat less beef, chicken, pork, and lamb
  • Replace full-fat dairy products with low-fat products
  • Elimination of trans fats

Medications like statins can also help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

People with a severe form of FH may need to undergo a treatment called apheresis, which involves removing blood or plasma from the body, filtering it to remove LDL cholesterol, and then returning it to the body.

What that means for you

Getting vaccinated against the virus is critical to protecting your heart health if you have familial hypercholesterolemia or if you are at risk for heart disease. You can find a vaccination appointment near you at Vaccines.gov.

How To Lower Your Risk Of COVID-19 Complications With FH

Myers recommends individuals who have either been diagnosed with FH or have a family history of the disease “get a COVID-19 vaccination or evaluate it seriously”.

Watkins agrees. “More research is needed to prove causality, but I encourage them to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” he says.

It is important to exercise and follow a good diet. “Anti-inflammatory diets are good for the body,” says Greenfield, noting that it is best to use whole grain bread for white bread and eat berries, which tend to be anti-inflammatory. “Diets that we believe are the healthiest tend to be anti-inflammatory, and those that are full of saturated fat are prone to inflammation.”

If you have FH, Myers recommends that you continue to take your medication as directed. And if you have symptoms of FH, see a doctor. “These results underscore the importance of the diagnosis,” says Myers.

The information in this article is current as of the date indicated, which means more recent information may be available by the time you read this. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.

Whole Grains Health

Tips on how to raise a healthy child on a vegan diet

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Parents often wonder if children are getting enough protein on a plant-based diet. This is understandable given the importance of protein to a growing child. If you have decided to start a vegan diet for a child, here are some things you should know.

How Much Protein is Enough?

The recommended intake for a healthy adult is 46 grams of protein per day for women and 56 grams for men. But the average adult in developed countries eats far more protein than they actually need. In fact, they are eating roughly double the recommended amount! It is therefore easy to get enough protein simply by consuming a variety of plant-based foods, including beans, legumes, nuts, broccoli, and whole grains.

Vegetable proteins

Did you know that plant-based foods contain more vitamins and minerals, contain fiber, and contain far less sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol than their meat and milk-based counterparts? They also don’t contain antibiotics and other scary medicines commonly found in meat and dairy products. Here are a few other herbal facts:

  • Soy protein provides the same protein quality as meat and contains all of the essential amino acids.
  • Non-heme iron is found in a wide variety of plant foods, including leafy vegetables, beans and grains, nuts, and seeds.
  • Omega-3, which is also a common problem, can be easily replicated in a plant-based diet of flaxseed, hempseed, and chia seeds, to name a few.

The benefits of the plant-based diet

With increasing awareness of the benefits of the plant-based diet, there is now a wider variety of kid-friendly plant-based meals on the market. It’s so much easier these days to replicate foods that kids eat and enjoy in plant-based versions these days.

The challenges of vegan parenting

Being a parent has its challenges. But raising vegan kids in a non-vegan world is really tough.

Here are a few ideas to help you out.

  • Remember, your child is not you. It is up to you to teach them the values ​​that you have as a family unit. You are there to guide and inspire them. If, as you get older, they make different decisions than you do, don’t take it personally or as a sign that you have failed.
  • Keep meals exciting. Get creative in the kitchen with your kids. Try to make food art with the vegetables. Think Rainbow Wraps, Noughts and Crosses (winner eats everything) and become a master of disguise (hide the vegetables they don’t normally eat).
  • Talk about the food you prepared. Educate your children about the health benefits. Raising yourself and your children will benefit you all greatly. Discuss how you prepared the food and where it came from (e.g. if it is grown by yourself, from a nearby farm). Talking about where animal products came from can also help the rest of the family understand your point of view. Keep emotions out of these discussions – be open, honest, and logical.
  • Realize that everyone is on their own path. You cannot impose your own feelings on others. Listen to their point of view, be kind, and give your own thoughts in a non-confrontational way. Plant seeds. Do not judge. Be compassionate.
  • Be prepared for events. School events, fundraisers, get-togethers, and children’s parties usually involve animal products. Pack some options for your kids.
  • Connect with animals. Go to a farm together and spend time with the rescued animals. Make sure your kids have a real connection with animals.
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4 Ways to Support Heart Health After COVID

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Returning to an exercise program (or starting an exercise) is an important way to support your heart health.

Credit: StefaNikolic / E + / GettyImages

As we continue to live with COVID-19, researchers are learning more and more about the havoc it can wreak on the human body. Although COVID-19 was initially thought of only as a respiratory disease, it has turned out to affect far more than just the lungs.

In fact, more and more studies are finding that long-distance COVID drivers or people who continue to have symptoms long after being infected with the virus experience an increase in heart failure.

A July 2020 study at JAMA Cardiology performed cardiac MRIs on 100 patients who had recently recovered from the virus and found abnormalities in 78 percent and persistent myocarditis in 60 percent.

Another study in Circulation in December 2020 (conducted during the first wave of the pandemic) found that nearly 20 percent of people hospitalized for the virus had some type of heart injury.

More research needs to be done on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the heart, especially since we already have a heart health crisis in the US

Even before COVID, heart disease was the number one killer of adults in the United States and is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“When the pandemic peaked, COVID temporarily became the leading cause of death every day in the US, but heart disease is still the second leading cause of death,” said Steven Schiff, MD, cardiologist and medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory for MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at the Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “It will almost certainly be the main culprit again as the pandemic subsides in the months ahead.”

How COVID-19 affects the heart

Although there are certain cases where the COVID-19 virus can attack the heart muscle directly and cause damage, Dr. Schiff found that the heart is more likely to be involved as a side effect when the virus attacks other organs.

“When a patient with COVID develops severe and overwhelming pneumonia, their oxygen levels drop and their heart has to work harder with less oxygen,” he explains, adding that we still have a lot to learn about the longer-term effects.

According to Dr. Schiff, the biggest impact of COVID on heart health is not what the virus physically does in the body, but that the pandemic itself has led to increased fear of going to the doctor or hospital, which has caused people to avoid or need long-term care to delay.

“People with symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, including chest pain, palpitations, or shortness of breath, have stayed home for fear of exposure to the virus, which increases the likelihood of bad complications from heart disease,” he says. “The risk of staying home for fear of COVID-19 exposure is far more dangerous than seeking help.”

Richard E. Collins, Dr canceled or withheld. “All of this equates to a potential payback period for the occurrence of heart disease,” he says.

What To Do To Rebuild Heart Health After COVID

Grilled salmon, fried potatoes and vegetables on a wooden background

Fish like salmon are full of healthy fats that are good for the heart. Try to eat fish or seafood two to three times a week.

Credit: gbh007 / iStock / GettyImages

If you’ve had COVID-19 or are still recovering, heart health should be a top priority. However, it is entirely possible that your path to recovery will not be straight and narrow and that you will feel tired as you gradually return to your routine.

“Recovery times vary in different people,” notes Saurabh Rajpal, MD, cardiologist and assistant professor in the Cardiovascular Medicine Department at Ohio State University College of Medicine. “While some people can recover in days, others can feel tired for weeks after being infected with the virus.”

Here are some of the ways you can restore your heart health while your body recovers from COVID.

1. Move as much as you can

While you may be sluggish, it’s important not to remain sedentary while your body recovers from the virus, notes Dr. Rajpal.

“Total immobility is a risk factor for blood clots and should be avoided,” he warns.

After a few days of rest, he recommends gradually returning to your exercise routine, with the goal of starting with 50 to 60 percent of your best capacity and gradually increasing it over the next few days.

“If you have symptoms like chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or fast or irregular heartbeat when you return to activity, see your doctor,” he says.

2. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet

You know the importance of a healthy diet, but you may not understand the critical role it plays in your heart health. In fact, a 2015 study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, poultry, healthy fats, and moderate dairy products can reduce risk for heart disease by about a third.

When it comes to the list of foods to avoid, avoid anything that is overprocessed (think fast food or packaged foods with long ingredient lists), fried foods, or those high in saturated fats, which will lower your LDL levels can increase (“bad”) cholesterol, notes Michael Blaha, MD, director of clinical research at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

3. Keep up to date with all of your medical appointments

While it may seem an inconvenient time for you to see your doctor, avoiding preventive measures is never a good idea.

“This could lead to disease progression to a level that would not occur if people had regular medical checkups,” said Alexandra Lajoie, MD, a non-invasive cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California .

Aside from only showing up for these doctor visits, it is important to speak to your doctor about any symptoms you may have. Dr. Schiff recommends making sure that your laboratory tests are regularly monitored, especially for blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and that you see your doctor if you notice any symptoms of heart disease, including chest discomfort, shortness of breath, rapid, or irregular heartbeat.

The list of health effects related to smoking is one pretty compelling reason to quit smoking if you haven’t already – and heart health is one of them. In fact, Dr. Lajoie that the most important thing anyone can do to improve their heart health is to completely avoid smoking.

“Smoking is almost a guarantee that you will develop some form of cardiovascular disease during your lifetime,” she says.

If you’re looking for help quitting, consider these seven research-backed strategies and visit the SAMHSA website which has a hotline as well as multiple resources.

Read more stories to help you cope with the pandemic:

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Starch snacks can increase the risk of CVD.Fruits and vegetables in certain diets reduce risk

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Photo credit: Unsplash / CC0 public domain

Can Starchy Snacks Harm My Heart Health? New research announced today in Journal of the American Heart Association, the American Heart Association’s open access journal, states that consuming starchy snacks high in white potatoes and other starches after a meal increases the risk of death by at least 50% and the risk of cardiovascular death by 44-57%. I’ve found it to be increasing. Conversely, eating fruits, vegetables, or dairy products in a particular diet is associated with a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or other causes.

Ying Li, Ph.D., lead researcher at the Faculty of Public Health, Harbin Medical University in Harbin, and professor at the Faculty of Nutrition and Food Hygiene. Said: China. “Our team tried to better understand the effects of different foods on a particular diet.”

Liet al. Analyzed the results of 21,503 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted in the United States from 2003 to 2014, and assessed the nutritional patterns of all diets. Of the surveyed population, 51% of the participants were women and all participants were over 30 years old at the start of the survey. To determine patient outcomes, researchers used the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Death Index to record participants who died of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or other causes by December 31, 2015. did.

The researchers categorized the participants’ eating patterns by analyzing what types of foods they ate in different diets. For the main diet, three main diet patterns were identified for the morning diet: western, starchy and fruity breakfast. Western lunch, vegetable and fruit eating were identified as the main eating patterns for lunch. Western dinner, vegetable and fruit meals were identified as main meals. For dinner.

For snacks, grain snacks, starchy snacks, fruit snacks and milk snacks were identified as the main snack patterns between meals. In addition, participants who did not conform to any particular nutritional pattern were analyzed as a reference group. The researchers pointed out that the Western diet is high in fat and protein, similar to many North American diets.

The participants in the western lunch group consumed the most refined grains, solid fats, cheese, sugar and hardened meats. The participants in the fruit lunch group consumed most of the whole grain products, fruit, yogurt and nuts. The participants in the vegetable-based dinner group consumed the most commonly served dark vegetables, red and orange vegetables, tomatoes and other vegetables and legumes. Participants who consumed starchy snacks ate the most white potatoes.

According to their findings:

  • Eating a western lunch (usually with refined grains, cheese, and hardened meat) increased the risk of CVD death by 44%.
  • Fruit-Based Diet Lunch It was associated with a 34% reduction in the risk of dying from CVD.
  • Eating a plant-based dinner was associated with a 23% and 31% reduction in cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, respectively. And
  • Eating snacks with high postprandial strength increased the risk of death from all causes by 50-52% and the risk of CVD-related death by 44-57%.

“Our results show that the amount and timing of different types of food are equally important to maintaining optimal health,” says Li. “Future dietary guidelines and intervention strategies can incorporate optimal times for consuming foods throughout the day. “

Limitations of this study include the participants’ self-reported nutritional data, which can lead to memory bias. And while researchers have been controlling potential confounders, they cannot rule out other unmeasured confounders.

People who eat a plant-based dinner can reduce their risk of heart disease by 10 percent

For more informations:
American Heart Association Journal (2021). www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.020254

Provided by
American Heart Association

Quote: Starch snacks can increase the risk of CVD. Fruits and vegetables in certain diets reduce the risk (June 23, 2021) June 23, 2021 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-starchy-snacks-cvd-fruits- Obtaining Vegetables.html

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Starch snacks can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Fruits and vegetables in certain diets reduce the risk

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