Heart Disease

In 2012 heart disease was the biggest cause of death in the UK – killing 15.6% men (1 in 6) and 10.3% (1 in 10) women. So anything you can do to help your heart out – eating healthily is a good start – will increase your longevity.

This section will maintain key information and medical advancements relating to heart disease – how to prevent it and what treatments are available.


See also: blog posts tagged with heart disease.



NHS heart age calculator – https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/nhs-health-check/Pages/check-your-heart-age-tool.aspx

Latest News

Even low levels of air pollution can damage heart – BBC News – 3-Aug-2018
People living by loud, busy roads have larger hearts on average.
Even though exposure was to pollution levels below UK guidelines.
Exposure to higher pollution levels linked to larger ventricles .
One microgram of PM2.5 caused the heart to enlarge by about 1%.
Every 10 extra micrograms per m3 of NO2 had the same effect.
Queen Mary University studied 4,000 people in the UK.

Common infections raise risk of heart attacks and strokes – Telegraph – 12-Mar-2018
Study tracked 34,000 patients admitted to hospital with urinary or respiratory tract infections.
Three times as likely to die if they suffered heart disease than without previous infection.
Twice as likely to die they had a stroke.
Dangers could be greater than those posed by obesity.
Infections that lead to hospitalisation may present a delayed risk.

Multi-gene test predicts early heart disease risk – American Heart Association – 8-Jan-2018
Patients with familial hypercholesterolemia are at increased risk for early-onset heart disease.
Not all patients have this single genetic defect which can be measured by current tests.
Could increase five-fold the number of cases for which a genetic explanation can be found.
Genetic risk was independent of other known risk factors.

Drug ‘melts away’ fat inside arteries – University of Aberdeen – 2-Nov-2017
Drug being trialled for treating breast cancer and diabetes shows interesting side effect.
Trodusquemine reduced fatty plaques in arteries of mice.
Drug works by stopping an enzyme called PTP1B.
Also stimulated another protein (AMPK) which mimics exercise and reduces chronic inflammation.

New Drug Slows Down Heart Disease Progression – LEAF science – 14-Sep-2017
PCSK9 inhibitors are an effective therapy for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Combination of evolocumab and statins significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular events.
Evolocumab is a human monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin 9.
PCSK9 protein reduces the liver’s ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Patients with under 10 mg/dL LDL cholesterol had 40 % lower risk of CV events.

Statins cut heart deaths in men with high cholesterol – NHS– 7-Sep-2017
Original randomised trial studied men who had high cholesterol.
Analysed the effects of taking statins or a placebo for five years.
Follow up study looked at heart disease statistics 20 years later.
Men who’d originally taken pravastatin were 26% less likely to have CHD.

One in 10 men aged 50 ‘have the heart of a 60-year-old’ – NHS – 4-Sep-2017
Since 2015 Public Health England (PHE) are  encouraging people to take a simple three-minute online Heart Age Test.
It includes questions about factors known to have an effect on cardiovascular disease risk.
PHE has analysed 1.2 million test results so far.
The main finding is that 1 in 10 men aged 50 who’ve taken the test were found to have a heart age of at least 60, and around half of people didn’t know their blood pressure.

Scan finds heart’s ticking time bombs – BBC News – 13-Jul-2017
Inflammation is linked to the build-up of unstable plaques in blood vessels.
This inflammation changes the behaviour of fat around the outside of blood vessels.
CT scans can be use to analyse the fat and inflammation around arteries.
Hoping technology could predict heart attacks in people who appear healthy.

‘Heart attack risk’ for common painkillers – BBC News – 10-May-2017
May be a link between taking high doses of common anti-inflammatory painkillers – such as ibuprofen – and heart attacks.
Risk could be greatest in the first 30 days of taking the drugs.
But scientists say the findings are not clear cut – could be other factors.

‘Healthiest hearts in the world’ found – BBC – 18-Mar-2017
Tsimane people in the forests of Bolivia rarely signs of clogged up arteries – compared to 25% of 45 year old Americans.
16,000 Tsimane hunt, fish and farm on the Maniqui River in the Amazon rainforest.
They get 72% of their energy from carbohydrates.
Tsimane are far more physically active averaging over 16,000 steps a day.

Injection could permanently lower cholesterol by changing DNA – New Scientist – 6-Feb-2017
People born with natural mutations that disable a specific gene have a lower risk of heart disease, with no apparent side effects.
Mutation prevents their livers from making a protein called PCSK9 – which in most people degrades a second protein that removes LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Using the CRISPR technique, a team at AstraZeneca have disabled human versions of the PCSK9 gene in mice.
First animal study trial results are due to be announced in March.
CRISPR method improving such that off-target effects occur no more often than natural mutations in cells.

Ibuprofen-like painkillers linked to an increased risk of heart failure – NHS – 29-Sep-2016
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a group of painkilling medicines commonly taken by people with joint problems, backache and arthritis.
Ibuprofen increased the chance of heart problems by 18% on average.
Risk highest for people taking an NSAID on a daily basis and in very high doses.
Some NSAIDs did not seem to increase the risk at usual doses.
Study involved over 7 million people taking prescribed NSAIDs – not occasional over-the-counter use.

Heart disease deaths down 70% in a generation – New Scientist – 22-Aug-2016
Annual UK deaths from heart disease and stroke fallen from 341,000 in 1979 to 155,000 in 2014.
British Heart Foundation says it is due to better diagnosis and treatment.
However, number of hospital visits for these conditions is rising – up 3% in just 3 years.

What are the top causes of death by age and gender? – Office for National Statistics – 12-Dec-13
Heart disease number one for men (16%) and second for women (10%).

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