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Archive for the ‘Heart Disease’ Category

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Recent Research Calls for a Proactive Approach to Healthcare

March 5, 2013

Research released today suggests that the UK is falling behind its European and Global counterparts when it comes to promoting longer periods of good health and wellbeing, citing significantly high rates of premature death from preventable conditions such as heart disease, strokes and smoking related illness.

The study, published in the Lancet, was based on 20 years of data from 1990 – 2010 which analysed the health landscape of 19 Western countries, including the UK, Europe, Australia and Canada. Though the results showed an overall increase in life expectancy within the UK from 75.7 in 1990 to 79.9 years in 2010, the premature death rate for both men and women aged 20-54 remained worryingly high.  This was largely due to growing cases of preventable conditions such as heart disease, stroke and lung disease caused by the following key risk factors:

  • Tobacco: 11·8% of UK DALYs in 2010*
  • Increased blood pressure: 9·0 %
  • High body-mass index: 8·6%
  • Diet and physical inactivity: 14·3%

*Disability-adjusted life year

More positively, the results showed that progress has been made with conditions such as diabetes, where the UK actually appears to be ahead of its peers. Despite this, it’s clear that strategic changes need to be made within the UK health system to manage and reduce the rates of these conditions, particularly those which by and large, can be prevented.

In order to do this successfully, we believe there needs to be more focus on encouraging proactive health behaviour, and instilling a sense of personal responsibility over one’s health – something which we’re really passionate about.

Whether it’s educating and encouraging members of the public to partake in regular exercise, quit smoking or attend preventive screenings – these sorts of lifestyle changes, and shifts in behaviour will be key in making the UK a healthier place to be.

For more information on how to take a proactive approach to your health and lifestyle, check out our healthy living pages at www.lifelinescreening.co.uk, and for regular tips and news follow us @life_lineuk or on Facebook.




Life Line Screening Meets Alex

December 12, 2012

Recently we met one of our customers, Alex, at his third Life Line Screening appointment. He very kindly agreed to talk to us a bit about why he thinks screening is important, and the steps he takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hi Alex! How was your screening?

It was very, very good. The staff are friendly, they’re very, very thorough, it’s very good value considering it possibly could save your life

What about the staff?

I find it very easy, very comfortable and convenient, and the staff are so lovely and friendly, it doesn’t take long and it’s very thorough

Why do you think screening is important?

For the sake of the relatively small fee Life Line Screening charge, everyone should be monitored annually. Because it’s so important and it can save your life. It doesn’t take long to save your life possibly

What are your secrets for healthy living?

Plenty of fruit and vegetables, cutting down on animal fat, and using things like olive oil which is mono unsaturated fats which are much better for you

What’s your favourite healthy food?

I like grilled fish, oily fish, that’s tuna, salmon, sardines, and trout. I love a bit of trout

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?

I love freshly baked wholemeal bread absolutely plastered with butter. My cholesterol level’s too high, actually. But, you know, with guilty pleasures you just sneak a bit of cheese or a bit of wholemeal bread, and you know you shouldn’t but you just think ‘I’ll just have that’.

What motivates you to stay healthy?

I’ve been retired now for, what, six years? And I don’t ever find that I’m bored. There’s so much to do.

Do you have questions about the screening process? Don’t hesitate to get in touch here, or on Facebook and Twitter.

If you want more information about Life Line Screening and the screenings we provide, click here or for ideas and tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, head over here.




Stress and Heart Disease

October 4, 2012

Those of us who feel high levels of stress in our daily lives are more likely to develop heart disease, according to a review of earlier studies.  At Life Line Screening, we’ve always been wary of the impact of stress on the heart, and this recent article confirms what has  long been suspected.

As we explored on World Heart Day last week, coronary heart disease is a huge problem around the world. In the studies, people who felt stressed were 27% more likely to eventually be diagnosed, hospitalised, or worse still: to lose their life from coronary heart disease.

To put this into context – Donald Edmundson, a professor at Columbia University Medical Centre and one of the authors of the study, said the rise in heart disease risk related to stress is equivalent to smoking five cigarettes a day! Stress is also often the cause of damaging behaviours, such as smoking, unhealthy eating or a lack of motivation for exercise.

Tips to Avoid Stress and Heart Disease

In order to keep coronary heart disease at bay, why not try some of Life Line Screening’s tips to unwind?

1. Yoga and meditation

This is a wonderful way to get relaxed, toned and healthy all at once. Meditation can help quiet the mind and the body, which helps to lower stress levels. Find a local class and give it a go!

2. Hit the gym!

It might feel like the last thing you want to do, but pounding out that stress in the gym is a great way to work through feelings of tension while keeping your body fit and healthy. All those juicy endorphins will make you feel great, and exercising helps you to sleep if anxiety is keeping you awake.

3. Take a bubble bath

This is an old one but a good one. Lying back with a book, some music and some soothing oils, such as lavender, will really help you to unwind.

4. Talk to someone

While you keep your body healthy, make sure your mind is too. Talking to a friend, family member or even a councillor can help to solve problems. Social activities often help to boost our mood, so be sure to have a chat with someone because it might make all the difference.

How do you unwind? Do you find it hard to distress? Tell us about it in the comments.

Find out more about healthy living, or contact us to find out more about preventive health screenings. They can provide peace of mind if you have health concerns.




Scientists Prove that Happiness Helps Your Heart

August 9, 2012

Happiness Helps Heart Health - Life Line Screening

Julia K. Boehm of the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health recently conducted a review of existing research to expose the specific psychological and physical benefits of positive psychological well-being (PPWB), or (in layman’s terms) happiness!

Looking back at these existing studies, Boehm found that there is “evidence of a clear link between negative well-being, stress, and cardiovascular disease (CVD)”. In fact, “the strongest indicator of cardiovascular health was optimism. “The research also showed that happier people “tended to engage in healthier behaviours, such as adhering to proper diet and participating in regular exercise, than those with low well-being and were therefore at lower risk for CVD.”  So, as well as keeping an eye on food and exercise, we must also ensure that we are paying attention to our mental wellbeing.

With that in mind, why not take some inspiration from The Happiness Project, or make a list of your favourite things to do, and make a concerted effort to fit these into your day–to-day lifestyle? It could benefit you more than you think.

What makes you happy? Do you think you do enough of it? Are you feeling inspired to do more of it? Being happy goes hand-in-hand with a healthy mind and body, so set aside some time to do more of what you enjoy.

If you are worried about your heart’s health, or other health issues covered by our screening programme, explore the different ways you can maintain a healthy lifestyle or make simple changes to benefit your body and mind. To learn more about screenings designed to identify your health status, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Life Line Screening.




Taking A Preventive Approach to Heart Disease

July 18, 2012

Heart Disease Screenings - Life Line Screening

Recently, experts in cardiovascular medicine gathered in London for a two day symposium to address the national agenda on cardiovascular disease prevention. Their findings on the importance of prevention, rather than a cure are staggering, particularly the discovery that “over three-quarters of all CVD mortality could be prevented with adequate lifestyle changes.”

Three-quarters is a vast number of people whose lives could be saved with basic lifestyle changes. Giving up smoking, exercising, eating a healthy diet and minimising stress are all ways to help prevent CVD. Screening can also help detect signs of CVD before it becomes a serious or fatal problem.

According to the report, CVD “affects both men and women; of all deaths that occur before age 75 in Europe, 42% are due to CVD in women and 38% in men”. With the disease so prevalent, and the lifestyle factors involved, it’s important that you take responsibility for your own health, identifying your own possible risk and taking steps to prevent it.

For more information on healthy living and to book a screening today, visit www.lifelinescreening.co.uk.




Is Sugar As Dangerous As Smoking and Alcohol?

July 17, 2012

Heart Disease Screening - Life Line Screening

Most of us associate cigarettes with ill-health, just as we view alcohol as a destructive force to our bodies and to some extent, society. But what about sugar? A recent study by the University of California claims that sugar contributes to 35million deaths a year worldwide. The report argues that because it changes the body’s metabolism, raises blood pressure, changes the balance of hormones, and harms the liver, sugar should be regulated like tobacco and alcohol.

It would be hard to imagine sugar being regulated in the same way, but the data in the report makes a compelling case against our favourite sweet treats. Particularly shocking is the claim that “for the first time in human history, non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, pose a greater health burden worldwide than infectious disease”. Sugar is, of course, a culprit in the development of these diseases, but how would you feel about regulation and taxation on sugary foods? Will it encourage us to take responsibility for our health and lifestyle?

Luckily, the article emphasises that sugar is only toxic in excessive amounts, and that a moderate amount as part of a healthy diet is fine. However, with obesity now a bigger problem than malnourishment, the scientists are right when they say that ‘A little is not a problem but a lot kills – slowly.’

For more information and tips on taking control of your lifestyle, or to book a preventive screening, visit www.lifelinescreening.co.uk.




Men expected to live longer, catching up women across the UK

April 25, 2012

“Men are behaving better and women are adopting male tendencies and behaviours”

– Prof David Leon, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Findings of a recent study* into the life expectancy of 30 year olds in the UK and Wales have found the gap in life expectancy between women and men is closing. And if this trend continues men could catch up to women, with a shared life expectancy of the ripe age of 87 years by 2030.

Smoking has been identified as a key factor in the extended years among men. With nearly 80% of men smoking back in the 1920s, a statistic that has plummeted alongside the prevalence of heart disease since. Dissimilarly women picked up smoking later on, resulting in cases of lung cancer in women that continue to rise.

Life style has also been attributed to the comparative increase in men, who are now largely working in occupations that are considered ‘safe’, such as office jobs as opposed to the more hazardous like coal mining and tree felling.

The study of life expectancy looks across the current population of those that are 30 years of age, therefore the findings are not conclusive to the tenure of health between a girl and boy born today.

According to Professor David Leon, when we look beyond the UK, global gender differences can be categorised into 3 key subsets:

Those with widespread infectious disease – Such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where diseases that don’t discriminate by gender affect life expectancy ahead of the impact of lifestyle factors

Those where infectious disease is largely controlled – Such as Eastern Europe, where lifestyle factors result in a significant disparity by gender. An extreme case of this occurred in Russia during the 1990s when women were expected to live 13 years longer on average.

Those where infectious disease is largely controlled and a healthier lifestyle is being adopted – Such as the UK, where lifestyle factors are still a key determining factor, however significant improvement in cutting unhealthy habits and improved healthcare are leading to increased life expectancy population-wide. This is extending at a faster rate for men, catching up to the average age of women.

Studies such as this clearly highlight the importance of the lifestyle choices we all make and habits we adopt.

To read more on healthy living and to book a health screening with Life Line Screening UK today visit www.lifelinescreening.co.uk.

For support and advice on quitting smoking visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk,

*BBC News, “Men set to live as long as women, figures show”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17811732




New Treatment: Nasal Spray Reduces The Risk Of Heart Attacks

April 4, 2012

Over the weekend, we were very interested to see some research* come out of the Lund University in Sweden claiming a “major breakthrough in the prevention of heart attacks.” Highlighted by Professor Jan Nilsson at the “Frontiers in Cardiovascular Biology meeting”* in London this weekend, research from within the University suggests that vaccinating those at risk of cardiovascular disease  with antibodies, applied either by injection or nasal spray could be the key to preventing heart attacks by drastically reducing the level of fat in our arteries.

Expected to be licensed in five years, this approach to heart attack prevention is the first of its kind – directly targeting the cause vs. current preventive methods which focus their efforts on reducing risk factors such as high cholesterol or blood pressure.

And it seems as though the results have so far been very promising.  Working with Professor Prediman Shah from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, the Lund team were able to demonstrate a 60 – 70% reduction in plaque build up in the arteries of test mice.  However, despite these initial findings, this expensive treatment won’t be for everyone, with high risk populations being prioritised according to Professor Nilsson.

With over 2.7 million Britons suffering from heart disease, and cardiovascular disease accounting for one in three deaths, these make for positive findings.  However, as Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation notes: “A vaccination approach to the treatment of atherosclerosis is based on an attempt to interfere with the cellular mechanisms that cause life threatening build up of fatty deposits. There will be great interest in the outcome of the on-going studies to see firstly if this approach is safe and secondly, whether it can influence the progression of vascular disease in the long term.”

For more information on the symptoms, risk factors and preventive health screening services available for those with cardiovascular conditions – please visit our Life Line Screening UK Health Screening Services page.

* http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9173043/Vaccine-to-stop-heart-attacks-could-be-developed.html

**http://www.escardio.org/congresses/cardiovascular-biology-2012/Pages/welcome.aspx




Are You Aware Of The Significant Threat Heart Disease Poses For Women?

March 30, 2012

Last week an important TEDx Talk by Noel Bailey Merz, Director of the Women’s Heart Centre and the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, featured on The Huffington Post highlighting the major threat that heart disease poses to women. She poignantly opened her talk with the statement that “One out of two of you women will be impacted by cardiovascular disease in your lifetime.”

A surprising statistic and one which Merz notes has so far gone largely unrecognised, due in part to the processes and research developed to diagnose and treat heart disease as well as its coverage. Where diseases such as breast cancer are readily discussed within the health industry and the media at large, heart disease is still often primarily associated with the male population. Whatever the reason for this lack of publicity, Merz is very clear that we should look to develop a similar level of advocacy and understanding around the impact of heart disease prevention for women as we do for breast cancer – “It’s not happening, and it’s time.”

Research such as this really serves to demonstrate how important it is to understand the risk factors and symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease and act accordingly through basic lifestyle changes and proactive management of your own health, for example by attending preventive screenings. Developments in national healthcare delivery, such as the dialogue around the ‘Health lives, health people’ NHS whitepaper are also beginning to reflect this call for personal health management.

For more information on the symptoms, risk factors and preventive health screening services available for those with cardiovascular conditions – please visit our Life Line Screening UK Health Screening Services page.




Experts call for stroke screening programme

March 8, 2012

There are 53,000 deaths in the UK each year due to stroke* and many more who are affected and have to live with a significantly reduced quality of life.

A key cause of a stroke is atrial fibrillation (AF) a condition that is associated with a fast and irregular heart beat. Many will develop AF during the course of their life and those over 65 years are more prone**.  In a bid to tackle the significant number of people affected by a stroke, doctors and experts alike are calling for an urgent screening programme to be put in place. Those with atrial fibrillation do not always display obvious symptoms and therefore goes untreated despite the fact that it can often be tackled effectively with blood thinning medication***.

Multiple screenings are fundamental to the proposed strategy, though even simple screenings such as routinely checking heart beat patterns and heading to the Doctors if an irregular heart beat is suspected, could saves many lives. It is important for each of us to be aware and recognise the warning signs of stroke in order to take action accordingly. F.A.S.T. is an easy-to-remember acronym from the NHS on what to look out for and what to do if you suspect that someone is having a stroke.

Act F.A.S.T.

Face.                     Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

Arms.                    Can they raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech.                Is their speech slurred?

Time.                     Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

Know the signs of stroke [VIDEO]

Strokes affect people from all walks of life, both men and women from varied cultures and now increasingly, a younger population of people need to consider their lifestyle.

Recently former England footballer Jimmy Greaves suffered a mini-stroke and we’re really pleased to hear that Jimmy is making a swift recovery, commenting that he was “fit as a butcher’s dog”, just weeks after the stroke and resulting operation****.

To read personal stories about some of those that Life Line Screening has helped in the past, please visit our testimonials page.  Or, find out more about healthy living by visiting the Life Line Screening UK blog and meeting our team.

*The Stroke Association: Facts and figures about stroke http://www.stroke.org.uk/media_centre/facts_and_figures/index.html

**Herald Scotland: Simple screening that could save many lives

http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/herald-view/simple-screening-that-could-save-many-lives.16923330

***Mail Online: Doctors call for urgent stroke screening programme in bid to prevent 2,000 deaths a year

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2110360/Doctors-urgent-stroke-screening-programme-bid-prevent-2-000-deaths-year.html#ixzz1oL1LXrdA

****The Daily Mail: Jimmy Greaves in health scare after suffering a stroke and undergoing neck operation

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106645/Jimmy-Greaves-health-scare-suffering-stroke-undergoing-neck-operation.html




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