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Young people and high school dropouts less likely to get cholesterol tests
Date: 2012-09-07 15:53:28

According to a study published in the latest edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, education and age have a significant impact on the chances that an individual will undergo cholesterol testing to check the level of potentially plaque-forming cholesterol in their blood.

"This report highlights specific populations that we could focus on, such as the younger population, those of Hispanic ethnicity, and those who have not attained a high school-level of education," said Kenneth Ong, acting chair of the department of medicine and cardiology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, quoted by HealthDay.

Only 63 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 in the study had gotten their cholesterol checked within the past five years, as opposed to almost 90 percent of people more than 45 years old, and 95 percent of individuals over 65. Meanwhile, 83 percent of study participants with a college degree got their cholesterol checked, while only 60 percent of those who didn't finish high school underwent cholesterol testing. While the percent of most races who had their cholesterol examined hovered around the 75 percent mark, about 69 percent of Hispanics took the blood test.

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Red wine has potential health benefits
Date: 2012-09-11 20:54:08

Individuals looking to lower the results of their cholesterol tests should consider drinking more red wine, especially non-alcoholic red wine, according to new studies.

The first study, from the Rhode Island and the Miriam hospitals, shows that the blood flow of pigs whose food had been mixed with red wine for seven weeks improved vastly, compared to a group of animals that consumed vodka, and another set of pigs that were not given alcohol. All three groups were fed a diet high in fat.

"There has been previous research touting the benefits of moderate consumption of wine, but we wanted to test the effects of both wine and vodka in conjunction with high cholesterol as those who would be in this at-risk patient population typically have other medical issues, such as high cholesterol" said head researcher Frank Sellke.

High scores on cholesterol tests could indicate a risk of stroke. The same can be said of high blood pressure, which could possibly also be decreased by the polyphenols present in red wine, especially non-alcoholic red wine. Another study from the journal Circulation Research consisted of almost 70 men at high risk for heart disease drinking 30 grams of certain beverages for 28 days. Alcoholic red wine was connected with an only incremental drop in blood pressure, while the benefit of non-alcoholic red wine was shown to be much greater.

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Post-episode monitoring of heart attack patients linked to increased survival rate
Date: 2012-09-13 15:26:30

Individuals who regularly take cholesterol tests may have a better idea if they're at risk for coronary artery disease, which could lead to a potentially fatal heart attack. A new study from researchers based in the U.K. and Australia says that medical professionals can apply a handful of different methods to help prevent heart attack patients from dying or being readmitted to a hospital soon after their episode.

The information, appearing in Cochrane Systematic Review, was compiled from healthcare records of 6,000 patients participating in 25 clinical trials. The researchers say that case-management intervention and a combination of hospital- and home-based care were effective at preventing patients from dying within a year of their heart attack or being rehospitalized within six months.

Unfavorable results on cholesterol tests do not necessarily mean a heart attack is foregone conclusion, Mayo Clinic states. The nonprofit medical organization says the risk of an acute heart attack can be lessened by exercise, eating less salt, and treating stress and depression. Losing weight, the clinic adds, is the most effective means by which at-risk individuals can protect themselves from heart attack.

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Expert weighs in on McDonald's calorie posting
Date: 2012-09-19 21:27:19

As consumption of too much fast food has been known to lead to individuals receiving bad news from cholesterol tests, McDonald's restaurants announced they would be attaching a calorie list to their menus. Representatives from the company have said they hope customers' ability to better understand the caloric content of menu items may improve their health.

A researcher among the many experts who have commented on the decision by McDonald's, who studies mass media's influence on health habits, applauded the company's decision. However, he noted that the restaurants will need to do more if they're really concerned about their customers' health.

"This important move will not magically solve the obesity epidemic. Calorie-only labels leave out important information about the health and safety of fast food, including the large amount of sodium found in many of McDonald's menu items," said Jeff Niederdeppe, a professor of communication at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Excess calories can be converted into fat, which contributes to unhealthy amounts of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Smoking, poor exercise habits and high blood pressure also raise the likelihood of unfavorable results from cholesterol testing, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Large thighs linked to failure of hip implants
Date: 2012-09-19 14:04:50

Individuals who display unhealthy levels on cholesterol tests may be more likely to be overweight, which can render standard hip implants useless, according to recent findings from the University of Iowa published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

"We have shown that morbidly obese patients' thighs are so large that they are actually pushing each other outward and forcing the implant out of its socket. The larger your legs are, the more force goes through the hip joint. It's a simple concept," said Jacob Elkins, a University of Iowa grad student and lead author of the study.

After studying nearly 150 survey participants - with body mass indexes ranging from a normal 20 to a morbidly obese 55 - the scientists concluded that the obese individuals were much more likely to have unstable hips. Elkins and his team recommend new surgeries and replacement implants be invented to keep heavier individuals' hips from dislocating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high scores on cholesterol tests are related to overweight and obesity, but weight problems and risk of hip fractures can be reduced by regular physical activity.

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