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Archive for the ‘Health Studies’ Category

High Blood Pressure and Stroke Risk

April 24, 2014

A new study conducted by a research team shows that even blood pressure that is slightly higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as high blood pressure, can increase the risk for stroke.

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg and the threshold for high blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg. Blood pressure numbers that reside in between the two can have a negative impact on health.


Blood Pressure Study

Nineteen studies involving more than 19,000 participants were conducted to study the effects of blood pressure and stroke. The findings of the study showed that participants who had what was classified as prehypertension were 66% more like likely to have a stroke when compared to those with a normal blood pressure. In addition, close to 20% of strokes that occurred over the course of the study were suffered by participants who had prehypertension.

The section of participants who had prehypertension were classified into two different groups, high (130/85 mmHg) and low (lower than the high but above the norm). Those in the high group were 95% more likely to suffer a stroke than those with normal blood pressure. Participants with low prehypertension were 44% more likely to have a stroke than those with blood pressure at normal levels.


Blood Pressure and Stroke Prevention

The Center for Disease Control states that 1 in 3 Americans have prehypertension, so not only preventing stroke but also prehypertension is extremely important.

The best way to prevent high blood pressure is by following a healthy diet and exercise plan. Following a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, as well as being low in saturated fats and cholesterol has the ability to lower blood pressure by as much as 14mmHg.

The same goes for preventing stroke, since high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and poor diet are all risk factors.

If you are worried about high blood pressure and stroke we offer health screenings for both. Check our stroke page and high blood pressure page  for more information on who should get a screening, how often they should be performed, and a full list of risk factors.  

New Research from the Cleveland Clinic Shows that “Good” Cholesterol May Not Live Up to Its Name

February 27, 2014

What if we told you that what you think you know about HDL “good” cholesterol is wrong? A new study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic has some shocking findings about cholesterol. HDL is known for preventing plaque buildup in arteries, but researchers are realizing that it can also turn and contribute to heart disease.

In its good form, HDL is meant to take molecules of cholesterol away from vessel walls and parts of the body to the liver to be removed. However, in the newly discovered dysfunctional or “bad” form of HDL, these molecules that are meant to be removed never make it to the liver. Due to this, it causes inflammation in vessel walls, and people who have a high level of the dysfunctional version are now at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

So, how are doctors able to differentiate between the two different forms of HDL? Researchers developed their own blood test through the Cleveland HeartLab, but may release it as soon as the end of this year. The blood test specifically tests for a protein found in HDL that when it is oxidized starts to cause problems for the heart and artery walls.


Connection Between Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol has long been linked to heart disease, and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol which carries 65% of cholesterol in the blood stream. LDL can help form plaque that builds up along artery walls that feed the heart and brain. When HDL works as it should, the “good” cholesterol carries LDL away to the liver and a high level helps to prevent heart disease.

High levels of LDL contribute to a condition called atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which raises risk for heart attack and stroke.

More than 60% of adults in the U.S. don’t know their cholesterol levels. Knowing these simple facts is an important step towards a healthy future, and at Life Line Screening we offer high cholesterol screenings with a lipid panel test. Learn more about our cholesterol screenings now.

New Blood Test May Detect Patients at Risk of Heart Attack

February 6, 2014

What if it was possible to know ahead of time if you were going to suffer a heart attack? A new “fluid biopsy” technique has been developed by researchers at Scripps Research Institute in California that can do just that. Using biomarkers in the bloodstream, the test helps to identify patients who are at a high risk for heart attack.

Published in Physical Biology, the procedure has been named High-Definition Circulation Endothelial Cell (HD-CEC) assay and tests patients for levels of endothelial cells in their blood. These cells line artery walls and are pushed into the bloodstream as plaque builds up and ruptures. Eventually these cells and others clump and block up the heart, causing a heart attack. Because endothelial cells are not found in the blood of healthy individuals, researchers believe that detecting them in the blood is an indicator of high heart attack risk.

The study was conducted on 79 patients who had recently suffered a heart attack along with 25 healthy patients. The HD-CAC test required a small blood sample and proved that only the patients who had experienced a heart attack had elevated levels of endothelial cells in their blood stream.

Due to its high success rate, researchers hope that the test will become highly predictive of heart attacks in the future, since in its original testing it correctly identified healthy patients from the heart attack patients 100% of the time.


Early Heart Attack Detection

Tests such as this are extremely helpful when it comes to early detection of heart attack risks. We believe that the power of prevention is essential to a long and healthy life. While we do not currently use this blood test as a part of our heart disease screening, here is a list of what our screening entails:

  • Complete Lipid Panel Screening (High Cholesterol)
  • C-reactive Protein Screening
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
  • Glucose Screening
  • High Blood Pressure Screening

If you have any warning signs or if you know that you have some of the risk factors associated with an increased risk of heart problems, you may want to consider heart disease screening.  If you are unaware of potential risk factors please read the list here.

Life Line Screening provides preventive health screenings for heart disease to help those at risk detect problems before they lead to life-threatening consequences. Learning where you stand with your heart health is the best way to work towards a healthier life.

Type 2 Diabetes May Increase Liver Cancer Risk, Study Finds

January 29, 2014

When we think of a global epidemic, we often think of diseases like influenza or smallpox. Did you know, however, that type 2 diabetes is an emerging global epidemic that affects more than 347 million people worldwide? By the year 2030, diabetes is expected to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world.

A new study has found that those suffering from type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing liver cancer. The study was based on a large amount of data and brings added importance to diabetes prevention and methods of early detection.

According to, the study was conducted by researchers around the world and looked at individuals from different backgrounds, including white adults, Latino, Japanese-American, Native Hawaiian, and African American. The individuals were followed for a period of 16 years. Over the course of the 16-year period, 500 of the roughly 170,000 individuals analyzed developed liver cancer.


Critical linkage between type 2 diabetes and liver cancer

Researchers analyzed the data and found that having type 2 diabetes did increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Among the African American and Japanese American population, roughly 13 percent of liver cancer cases were attributed to their type 2 diabetes. This number was 6 percent among whites, and 26 percent for the Latino population. These results allowed researchers to confirm that in general, if someone is a type 2 diabetic, they were more likely to develop liver cancer.

Even with these findings, researchers noted that risk of liver cancer remained low even in type 2 diabetes patients. While the exact reason for the increased risk of liver cancer is unknown, one of the possibilities could be the medication people use to control their blood sugar levels. Overall, the researchers stated there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship found between the two diseases.

“Some of the drugs already have [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-ordered] black box warnings for bladder cancer,” said Dr. James D’Olimpio, an oncologist at Monter Cancer Center in New York, in the HealthDay article. “It’s not a stretch to think there might be other relationships between diabetes drugs and pancreatic or liver cancer. Diabetes is already associated with a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.”


Miscellaneous study notes

Some of the other notes from the study mentioned how alcohol consumption had no impact on the relationship between diabetes and liver cancer. The same can be said for whether people smoked cigarettes. Other risk factors, including age, weight, and so on, were taken into effect within the data analysis.

Diabetes is often detected through a blood glucose screening, diabetes screening or other blood test such as those conducted by Life Line Screening. These screenings help to better gauge risk factors and promote early detection and improved treatment of the disease. Catching diabetes early can limit the dangerous health consequences that untreated diabetes can induce.

Study: Antidepressants May Increase Diabetes Risk

January 13, 2014

See if you can answer this question: what is the leading cause of disability among Americans ages 15 to 44? If you guessed heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer, you guessed wrong.

The correct answer is depression.

Depression affects about 14.8 million American adults over age 18 every year – or 6.7 percent of the population. There is a higher usage of antidepressants (medications prescribed to treat depression) now than ever before. Approximately 11 percent of Americans are taking some form of antidepressant and this number continues to increase.

One new study found, however, that taking antidepressants could increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes screening and glucose screening are recommended for those taking such medication whether it is for a short or long period of time.

The studies indicate that not everyone who takes antidepressants will end up with diabetes. Antidepressants do not share a causal relationship with diabetes. However, there are specific drugs that are linked to increased risk, including Tricyclic Antidepressant (TCA) and Selective Serotorium Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). Some doctors may feel it necessary to take these two drugs together which tends to increase the chances of developing diabetes.

Because antidepressant can cause weight gain, and weight gain is a major risk factor for diabetes, the link between the two arises. In most cases, a person suffering from depression may need help from their doctor. This typically leads to taking antidepressants on a daily basis to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Adults and children who face depression are in most cases taking antidepressants to avoid further health issues. This type of medication helps balance levels of neurotransmitters that are natural chemicals in the brain.

Individuals with depression who do not seek help or take the proper medication may face problems such as continuous health issues, personal and professional problems, and in severe cases, death. About two thirds of those struggling with depression are not getting help for it. The recent conclusion that antidepressants are linked to increased diabetes risk should not prevent individuals from discussing their situation with their doctor and getting help.

If you’re worried about your risk for type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor or consider a diabetes screening.  Life Line Screening is here to help give you the tools you need to be proactive with your health.


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