Cardiovascular Disease News & Research Updates
As we step into the second month of 2017, we present you with our second issue of CVD updates!
In this issue, you will find a study suggesting a revised mnemonic for FAST, to more accurately capture the signs of acute stroke. Other interesting papers include the possible mechanisms linking emotional stress to CV risk and the impact of irregular eating on CVD risk profile.
Happy reading!

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa Science Team

Emotional Stress and CVD Risk

This longitudinal and cohort study investigates the relation between amygdala (brain region involved in stress) activity and cardiovascular events. Its findings provide insights into the mechanisms linking emotional stress to CVD. The association is partly mediated by increased bone-marrow activity and arterial inflammation. Read more
Scientific Statement: Meal timing & frequency for CVD prevention

Irregular eating patterns appear less favourable for achieving a healthy cardiometabolic profile according to data in this statement by the America Heart Association. It reviews the cardiometabolic health effects of specific eating patterns: skipping breakfast, intermittent fasting, meal frequency, and timing of eating occasions. Read more
Vitamin D Deficiency Effect on Statins in People with HIV

Vitamin D deficiency is common in HIV-infected persons, as are raised levels of LDL cholesterol. This 96-week RCT aimed to investigate the impact of vitamin D status on the effect of statins on CVD in adults living with HIV. While vitamin D status did not improve with statins, baseline vitamin D deficiency decreased statins’ effectiveness. Read more
Beta-Blockers Not Successful In Treating Hypertension

A Cochrane Review of 13 studies into beta-blockers, mostly atenolol, found that they were not as effective at preventing the number of deaths, strokes, and heart attacks as other classes of medicines such as diuretics, calcium-channel blockers, and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors. Read more
Risk of Heart Failure after Breast Cancer Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy for breast cancer results in variable cardiac radiation exposure and may increase the risk of heart failure (HF). A population-based case-control study of incident HF in 170 females undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer was conducted. The findings suggest the risk of HF increases with increasing cardiac radiation exposure. Read more
BE-FAST (Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech, Time)
In this study which looked at 736 records of patients admitted to the University of Kentucky Stroke Center, the FAST algorithm (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) failed to capture 14% of persons having an acute stroke. A revised mnemonic is suggested with the inclusion of gait/leg and visual symptoms. Read more

Long-term Lifestyle Intervention on CVD Risk in Diabetes

This 5-year cohort study evaluated the long-term impact of sustained weight loss vs. weight regain on CVD risk factors. It followed 129 diabetic and obese patients enrolled in the Weight Achievement and Intensive Treatment (Why WAIT) programme. Among other findings, sustained weight loss was associated with significantly lower A1C. Read more

Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality

A large prospective study in the US found that consumption of hot red chili pepper was associated with a 13% reduction in total mortality, primarily in deaths due to heart disease or stroke. A possible explanation includes the role capsaicin is believed to play in mechanisms that prevent obesity and modulate coronary blood flow. Read more
CVD Risk Very High in Gout

This cross-sectional study assessed the CVD risk profile of 237 new gout patients. Two out of every three (67.9%) patients with gout were classified as very high CVD risk. The findings support optimising preventive strategies in this patient population, such as intensive statin therapy or stricter lipid level targets. Read more
Prevalence of Masked Hypertension in US Adults

This study provides the first estimate of masked hypertension (MHT) prevalence in the United States (US), which is associated with increased risk of target organ damage, CVD, and mortality. It estimates that 12.3% of the adult population have MHT, suggesting that millions of US adults may be misclassified. Read more
About us
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa plays a leading role in the fight against preventable heart disease and stroke, with the aim of seeing fewer South Africans suffer premature deaths and disabilities. The HSFSA, established in 1980 is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation and has NPO and section 21 status.

The views contained in this newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa and are for information sharing purposes only. 

In collaboration with
Southern African Hypertension Society,  African Heart Network,  South African Heart Association.