- -12-27-09 Can Touching Your Toes Test Your Arteries? (New York Times)
"How it is that stiff muscles in the back and legs are linked to stiff tissues near the heart is an issue that hasnít been fully elucidated, Mr. Yamamoto says, although arterial walls are composed of the same kinds of elastic tissues as muscles elsewhere in the body. So itís likely, he says, that alterations in the composition of muscle tissues in the lower back (including aging-related alterations in the amount of collagen within the muscles) could be occurring in the arterial walls at the same time."
"What is surprising are some early indications that increasing your flexibility might somehow loosen up your arteries, too. That was the accidental and, as yet unreplicated finding of a small 2008 study at the University of Texas at Austin. The study was designed to examine whether weight lifting increased arterial stiffness. (It didnít, at least on this occasion.) The control group consisted of people who stretched. They were not expected to show any change in cardiac function, but over the course of 13 weeks they in fact increased the pliability of their arteries by more than 20 percent." 12-09
- Arteriosclerosis: Hardening of the Arteries (eMedicineHealth.com)
"Hardening of the arteries (arthrosclerosis) is a disorder in which arteries (blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body) become narrowed because fat (cholesterol deposits called atherosclerosis) is first deposited on the inside walls of the arteries, then becomes hardened by fibrous tissue and calcification (arteriosclerosis). As this plaque grows, it narrows the lumen of the artery (the space in the artery tubes), thereby reducing both the oxygen and blood supply to the affected organ (like the heart, eyes, kidney, legs, gut, or the brain). The plaque may eventually severely block the artery, causing death of the tissue supplied by the artery, for example, heart attack or stroke." 12-09
- -Major Shift in Guidelines for Chloresterol (CNN News)
"In what's being called a tectonic shift in the way doctors will treat high cholesterol, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology on Tuesday released new treatment guidelines calling for a focus on risk factors rather than just cholesterol levels."
"The new guidelines could double the amount of people on medication to lower their cholesterol, experts say."
- -Major Shift in Guidelines for Chloresterol Questioned (New York Times)
"Last week, the nationís leading heart organizations released a sweeping new set of guidelines for lowering cholesterol, along with an online calculator meant to help doctors assess risks and treatment options. But, in a major embarrassment to the health groups, the calculator appears to greatly overestimate risk, so much so that it could mistakenly suggest that millions more people are candidates for statin drugs."