Studies Address Impacts of Salt Intake, Poor Sleep, Chocolate, and Marriage on CV Risk

New research highlighting the impacts of salt intake, poor sleep, marriage and olive-oil infused dark chocolate on cardiovascular risks was the topic of a special ESC Congress 2017 session focused on “tips and tricks” to living longer.

In one 12-year study of 4,000 people out of Finland, high salt intake was associated with a marked increase in the risk of heart failure. While researchers noted that larger pooled population cohorts are needed, results found that people who consumed more than 13.7 grams of salt daily had a two-fold higher risk of heart failure compared with those consuming less than 6.8 grams.

Another study of nearly 13,000 residents of Hiroshima, Japan, investigated the association between sleep disturbances and cardiovascular disease. Researchers found “poor sleep” was significantly associated with ischemic heart disease and stroke. Broken down by components, subjective poor sleep quality, long sleep latency, low sleep efficiency and use of sleeping pills were significantly associated with both ischemic heart disease and stroke, while difficulty maintaining sleep, short sleep duration and daytime dysfunction were only associated with ischemic heart disease.

Dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile based on research out of Italy. Twenty-six volunteers with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension or family history of cardiovascular disease) received 40 grams of dark chocolate each day for 28 days. Participants received dark chocolate infused with extra virgin olive oil for 14 days and dark chocolate containing 2.5 percent Panaia red apple for another 14 days. At the end of the trial period, researchers found that chocolate enriched with olive oils was associated with significantly increased endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and decreased carnitine and hippurate levels. Additionally, olive-oil enriched chocolate was associated with increased high-density lipoprotein and decreased blood pressure.

A study of 929,552 patients hospitalized in England between 2000 and 2013 found that marital status was a key factor in the survival of patients with cardiovascular risk factors or a previous heart attack. Of those who had a heart attack, married patients were 14 percent more likely than single patients to survive after the event. Similarly, married patients with major cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes were 10 percent, 16 percent and 14 percent, respectively, more likely to be alive at the end of the study. “Our findings suggest that marriage is one way that patients can receive support to successfully control their risk factors for heart disease, and ultimately survive with them,” said Paul Carter, MD, lead author of the study. 

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Dyslipidemia, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Prevention, Lipid Metabolism, Nonstatins, Acute Heart Failure, Hypertension, Smoking

Keywords: ESC Congress, ESC2017, Malus, Cardiovascular Diseases, Carnitine, Marriage, Smoking, Cacao, Blood Pressure, Japan, Finland, Myocardial Infarction, Hypertension, Stroke, Heart Failure, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemias, Lipoproteins, HDL, Hippurates, Cholesterol, England, Italy

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