Recognizing American Heart Month

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 9, 2016

heart-stethoscope
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, but many advances are being made in the fight against heart disease. In recognition of American Heart Month, we have compiled videos from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center experts to provide you with information on many of the latest approaches in heart disease treatment and prevention.

Targeting Inflammation– A Key to Preventing Heart Disease

Research led by Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, determined that people with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation, are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future. In this video, Dr. Ridker discusses the role of inflammation in heart disease.

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Inflammation and Heart Disease: Understanding the Link

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 15, 2015

Middle-aged men with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (pictured), a measure of inflammation, are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.

You already know that high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and certain lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking, are major risk factors for heart disease. But science shows there’s another factor that could impact your heart health.

Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) over the past 20 years suggests that inflammation also may contribute to heart disease risk.

Inflammation can occur as a part of the immune response, our bodies’ attempt to fight off and attack foreign substances, such as infectious diseases. Inflammation also may occur in response to the buildup of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) inside the walls of arteries, potentially leading to the formation of harmful blood clots.

In 1997, researchers led by Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, discovered that middle-aged men with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation, were at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.

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A Hearty Dose of Cardiovascular Advice and Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 12, 2013

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and it is also one of the leading causes of disability. As part of American Heart Month, we offer insight from our clinicians and researchers about how to reduce your heart disease risks and what new things we’re learning about cardiovascular disease and treatment.

 

Heart Disease: Eliminate Excuses to Reduce Your Risks

Dr. Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH, tells his patients that they’ll dramatically reduce their risk of developing heart disease if they follow a few simple guidelines for reducing their blood pressure (hypertension). Genetics can indeed play a role in developing high blood pressure, but obesity, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, stress, and salt intake are all hypertension risk factors that you can  control.

 

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Cholesterol Drugs

If you’ve been taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering what you should do in light of new warnings about the link between statin use and diabetes. Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital may help you and your doctor weigh the benefits and risks.

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Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Cholesterol Drugs

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 27, 2012

The benefits of statin use outweigh the risks.

If you’ve been taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering what you should do in light of new warnings about the link between statin use and diabetes.  Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital may help you and your doctor weigh the benefits and risks.

Due to their ability to effectively lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, statins are one of the most widely used prescription medications in the world.  Last year, almost 21 million patients in the US were prescribed statins.

In early 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required new labeling for statins to warn doctors and patients about a small risk of developing diabetes.  By studying data from a large clinical trial, BWH researchers identified which patients might be at risk for developing diabetes while taking this type of medication.

According to Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH and the study’s lead author, the risk of developing diabetes while taking statins occurred almost entirely in people who had at least one other preexisting risk factor for diabetes.  (Diabetes risk factors include obesity and higher fasting blood sugar levels.)

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hsCRP: The Hidden Factor in Heart Disease and Stroke

Posted by Blog Administrator March 2, 2012

Dr. Paul Ridker

Dr. Paul Ridker, Director, BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Your doctor probably gives you a lot of numbers after your check up. Ever wonder which ones you really need to know? When it comes to your cardiovascular health, C-reactive protein (CRP) is one of your most important numbers.

Measured by a blood test known as a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) test, CRP is an indicator of chronic low-level inflammation in the body, which could indicate increased risk for heart attack and stroke. A landmark study by Dr. Paul M. Ridker, Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), demonstrated that people with elevated CRP levels and normal LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”) are at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, his study, known as the JUPITER trial, showed that the use of statins (cholesterol-reducing medications) among people with elevated CRP levels and normal LDL cholesterol reduced their risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events by nearly 50 percent.

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