How PCPs can help patients control their heart health

Contributing to more than 17.9 million deaths each year and potentially climbing to more than 23.6 million by 2030, CVD, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death globally, according to the American Heart Association.

In the United States, 2,300 people die from CVD every day, according to the AHA.

The AHA emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices, noting that modest changes to diet and lifestyle can reduce CVD risk by as much as 80%.

“An overwhelming number of Americans are living with uncontrolled high BP — putting them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” David O. Barbe, MD, president of AMA, said in a press release. “By empowering more patients to monitor and control their BP, we will continue to not only help improve health outcomes for patients, but also reduce health care costs.”

The AMA offered tips that physicians can share with their patients to help them improve their heart health and prevent MI and stroke, such as encouraging patients to know their BP numbers, engage in regular physical activity, eat a healthy diet, maintain or achieve a healthy weight and consume alcohol in moderation. Additionally, physicians should create an individualized treatment plan with their patients to help manage hypertension, according to the AMA.

To mark American Heart Month, Healio Internal Medicine compiled a list of the top stories that highlight the strategies for prevention and management of CVD, heart disease and stroke. – by Alaina Tedesco

Primary care physicians can help prevent, reverse cardiovascular disease

The most recent USPSTF guidelines recommend statin use for the primary prevention of CVD in adults. However, many experts have argued that addressing upstream causes of CVD might be a better option, especially since in some patients, statins cause side effects ranging from muscle achiness to gastrointestinal distress, liver toxicity and even rhabdomyolysis, a potentially life threatening breakdown of muscle tissue. Read more.

Statin use does not alter CVD event rates in older adults

The rate of primary CVD events did not differ among older adults taking statins vs. those not taking statins at baseline, according to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

Healthy Heart Score performs ‘moderately well’ estimating risk for early CVD events

In mostly healthy younger adults, the Healthy Heart Score predicted premature atherosclerotic CVD events moderately well, making it a viable tool for risk assessment and counseling for primary prevention of the disease, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

BP lowering reduces mortality, CVD at certain baseline BP levels

Primary preventive treatment to decrease BP lowered the risk for death and CVD in patients with baseline systolic BP of 140 mm Hg or higher, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

USPSTF: Individualize behavioral counseling for CVD prevention

The decision to offer or refer adults without cardiovascular risk factors to behavioral counseling to promote a healthful diet and physical activity should be individualized, the USPSTF recommended. Read more.

Artificial sweeteners may increase risk for weight gain, heart disease

Individuals who routinely consume nonnutritive sweeteners may have an increased risk for long-term weight gain, obesity, diabetes, high BP and heart disease, according to new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Read more.

Oral anticoagulants prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation

In patients with atrial fibrillation, direct-acting oral anticoagulants lowered the risk for stroke, systemic embolism and all-cause mortality while also reducing the risk for major and intracranial bleeding, compared with warfarin, according to research published in BMJ. Read more.

No early complications after stroke may increase long-term risk for recurrence, death

Survivors of stroke or transient ischemic attack who did not experience early complications still had an elevated risk for recurrent stroke, death or myocardial infarction for at least 5 years following the initial stroke, suggesting that these patients require medical support to reduce their risk in the subsequent years, according to findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Read more.

Stroke risk factors are sex-specific

Individualized stroke risk assessments that consider female- and male- specific characteristics can improve accuracy of risk scores, according to findings published in JAMA Neurology. Read more.

Contributing to more than 17.9 million deaths each year and potentially climbing to more than 23.6 million by 2030, CVD, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death globally, according to the American Heart Association.

In the United States, 2,300 people die from CVD every day, according to the AHA.

The AHA emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices, noting that modest changes to diet and lifestyle can reduce CVD risk by as much as 80%.

“An overwhelming number of Americans are living with uncontrolled high BP — putting them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” David O. Barbe, MD, president of AMA, said in a press release. “By empowering more patients to monitor and control their BP, we will continue to not only help improve health outcomes for patients, but also reduce health care costs.”

The AMA offered tips that physicians can share with their patients to help them improve their heart health and prevent MI and stroke, such as encouraging patients to know their BP numbers, engage in regular physical activity, eat a healthy diet, maintain or achieve a healthy weight and consume alcohol in moderation. Additionally, physicians should create an individualized treatment plan with their patients to help manage hypertension, according to the AMA.

To mark American Heart Month, Healio Internal Medicine compiled a list of the top stories that highlight the strategies for prevention and management of CVD, heart disease and stroke. – by Alaina Tedesco

Primary care physicians can help prevent, reverse cardiovascular disease

The most recent USPSTF guidelines recommend statin use for the primary prevention of CVD in adults. However, many experts have argued that addressing upstream causes of CVD might be a better option, especially since in some patients, statins cause side effects ranging from muscle achiness to gastrointestinal distress, liver toxicity and even rhabdomyolysis, a potentially life threatening breakdown of muscle tissue. Read more.

Statin use does not alter CVD event rates in older adults

The rate of primary CVD events did not differ among older adults taking statins vs. those not taking statins at baseline, according to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

Healthy Heart Score performs ‘moderately well’ estimating risk for early CVD events

In mostly healthy younger adults, the Healthy Heart Score predicted premature atherosclerotic CVD events moderately well, making it a viable tool for risk assessment and counseling for primary prevention of the disease, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

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BP lowering reduces mortality, CVD at certain baseline BP levels

Primary preventive treatment to decrease BP lowered the risk for death and CVD in patients with baseline systolic BP of 140 mm Hg or higher, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

USPSTF: Individualize behavioral counseling for CVD prevention

The decision to offer or refer adults without cardiovascular risk factors to behavioral counseling to promote a healthful diet and physical activity should be individualized, the USPSTF recommended. Read more.

Artificial sweeteners may increase risk for weight gain, heart disease

Individuals who routinely consume nonnutritive sweeteners may have an increased risk for long-term weight gain, obesity, diabetes, high BP and heart disease, according to new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Read more.

Oral anticoagulants prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation

In patients with atrial fibrillation, direct-acting oral anticoagulants lowered the risk for stroke, systemic embolism and all-cause mortality while also reducing the risk for major and intracranial bleeding, compared with warfarin, according to research published in BMJ. Read more.

No early complications after stroke may increase long-term risk for recurrence, death

Survivors of stroke or transient ischemic attack who did not experience early complications still had an elevated risk for recurrent stroke, death or myocardial infarction for at least 5 years following the initial stroke, suggesting that these patients require medical support to reduce their risk in the subsequent years, according to findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Read more.

Stroke risk factors are sex-specific

Individualized stroke risk assessments that consider female- and male- specific characteristics can improve accuracy of risk scores, according to findings published in JAMA Neurology. Read more.