Entries in Heart Attack Risk (2)


Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taking calcium supplements to build stronger bones may be bad for the heart, according to a new study that suggests getting similar doses from calcium-rich foods is a safer alternative.

The study, which followed nearly 24,000 German men and women between the ages of 35 and 64, found those who regularly took calcium supplements were 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not.  Study subjects who relied completely on supplements for their daily calcium intake were 139 percent more likely to have a heart attack.

"Calcium supplements, which might raise [heart attack] risk, should be taken with caution," the authors wrote in their report, published Thursday in the journal Heart.

Calcium is critical for strong bones and teeth.  But the new study suggests supplements, many of which are sold as tasty gummy candies and chocolates, are no replacement for healthy foods.

"Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures," Ian Reid and Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland in New Zealand wrote in an editorial accompanying the study.  "It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food."

Adult men and women should consume between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily, according to the National Institutes of Health.  For most Americans, that's a cup of yogurt, a glass of milk and a slice of cheese.  For nondairy dieters, a bowl of enriched cereal, a glass of fortified orange juice, half a cup of tofu and a slice of salmon will do the trick.

But some people, such as post-menopausal women, struggle to get enough calcium from food alone and turn to supplements for a boost.  More than 60 percent of women over 60 take calcium supplements, up from 28 percent two decades ago, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

"We should return to seeing calcium as an important component of a balanced diet, and not as a low cost panacea to the universal problem of postmenopausal bone loss," wrote Reid and Bolland, who in 2011 linked calcium supplements to an increased risk of heart attack in post-menopausal women.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Greater Heart Attack Risk Among Insomniacs 

Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Those who suffer from insomnia may be at greater risk for a heart attack, according to new research from Norwegian scientists.

The findings, published in the Oct. 24 online edition of Circulation, found that there’s a connection between lack of sleep and heart attacks.

Researchers found that those who had trouble getting some shut-eye every night were at a 45 percent increased risk for a heart attack, when compared to those who had no trouble sleeping. Those who had trouble staying asleep were at a 30 percent higher risk of a heart attack, compared with those who had no trouble staying asleep.

Circadian rhythms that govern the body’s metabolic processes and vary the body’s sleep-awake cycles may be a possible explanation of the study’s findings, according to medical experts.

The study surveyed nearly 53,000 men and women who participated in a national health survey in 1995-97 and answered questions about their sleep habits.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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