Archive for August, 2011

Calcium Buildup Test May Spot Heart Attack & Stroke Risk

Posted by on August 23rd, 2011

For those of you with a family history of heart disease a major new health study has shown the benefit of a calcium test performed with the assistance of a CT scanner that can provide doctors with information on the likelihood that certain patients have an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.

The procedure, called coronary artery calcium scoring — or CAC — checks for calcium buildup in the arteries. It rates heart attack risk and gauges the benefit of certain heart treatments, such as statins.

Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels and help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They are some of the most prescribed drugs on the market, and include such well known brands as Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), and Crestor (rosuvastatin).

The study, published in The Lancet, suggests that screening for calcium buildup in coronary arteries, called atherosclerosis, may be a better method than a C-reactive protein test, which measures the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood, for not only predicting heart attack risk but whether a patient might benefit from statin therapy.

Researchers looked at 950 patients with no symptoms of heart disease and found that patients with the presence of calcium -– even those with low cholesterol levels — had twice the risk for heart attack or stroke and four times the risk for heart disease than those with a calcium score of zero.

This suggests that too many people are taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs who show no evidence of coronary artery calcium, thus paying a great deal of out-of-pocket prescription drugs costs to afford the lifetime treatments of statin medication. While statins can help those with a risk of heart attack or stroke live a longer, better life, they also have side effects, so the study suggests that this calcium test could be part of a strategy to lower the amount of people taking statins unnecessarily.

A more in depth news article on this study can be read at the Telegraph newspaper website

Want to Live Past 100? Have Good Genes

Posted by on August 4th, 2011

People who live to be older than 95 don’t necessarily eat any better, exercise any more or booze any less than the rest of us. According to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a long life is in the genes.

The researchers of the study interviewed 447 people between the ages of 95 and 112 who were living independently. The participants answered a series of questions about their lifestyles at the age of 70. The questionnaire is considered representative of the lifestyle they’d followed throughout most of their adult lives. They answered questions about their weight, height, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, exercise routines and diet. Researchers compared their responses to those from 3,164 people, all born around the same time as the centenarians, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1971 and 1975. Once the data was crunched, the results didn’t show any major factor lead to long life and it’s becoming more and more evident that some kind of “longevity gene” may be the biggest factor in living past 100.

This isn’t an excuse to stop exercising, eat whatever you want, smoke, and let your genes take care of you though! The researchers caution that while those with these genes may be able to live longer, that those without it are still best served by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular activities as that can overcome your less than stellar genetic luck and help you having a longer life span as well.

MSNBC goes more in depth and has some interesting links to other sites with information on the research going on into long life spans. At Canada Drugs we wish all our customers a long life span, we’ve been around for 10 years, and we hope to be still be providing low cost prescriptions to everyone when they’re 145 years old and still going strong!