Winter Raises Risk Of Heart Deaths Regardless of Climate

Cold winter weather was long thought to be the primary cause of seasonal increases in heart-related deaths. But, according to new research, circulatory deaths, including heart attack, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, rose up to 36 percent during the winter months regardless of climate. The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012, analyzed four years worth of death certificate data from seven locations across the country. The results found that, despite covering seven very different climate patterns, the trend in cardiac deaths was very similar. The research wasn’t designed to identify a cause for the increases but Bryan Schwartz, M.D., of the University of New Mexico, said people generally don’t live as healthy in winter as they do in the summer. Schwartz, who was lead author of the study, theorized that the spike in heart-related events may be due to the fact that people don’t eat as well or exercise as much during the winter. More here.

Popular Painkillers May Raise Risks After Heart Attack

A new study, published in the journal Circulation, found a possible link between the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs and increased risks for heart attack survivors. Among 100,000 survivors of first heart attacks, nearly half filled a prescription for a NSAID, such as Celebrex, Voltaren, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve. Among those who used the anti-inflammatory drugs, there was a 59 percent higher risk of death from any cause within one year of having the heart attack and a 30 percent higher risk of having another heart attack. After five years, the risk of death increased to 63 percent. Though researchers can’t say the use of NSAIDs were directly responsible for the elevated risk, the study highlights the need for caution when using anti-inflammatory drugs following a heart attack. More here.

Too Many Hours At Work Increases Risk Of Heart Disease

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, finds that working too many hours can raise the risk of developing coronary heart disease. People who worked long hours were found to have an approximately 40 percent higher risk of heart trouble compared to coworkers who worked fewer hours. The research, which looked at 12 studies totaling 22,000 people, notes that long working hours have been previously linked with a number of conditions and habits which contribute to heart disease, such as elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, type 2 diabetes, unhealthy diet, smoking, and lower physical activity. Longer working hours are also associated with stress and sleep deprivation, which have been shown to increase cardiovascular risk. Coronary heart disease is currently the leading cause of death and is projected to remain so for the next several decades. More here and here.