Study finds role of iron in chronic heart failure in 50% of heart attack survivors - Times of India

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01/7​The study has recently been published in the journal Nature Communications ​

A research study has shed light on the occurrence of chronic heart failure in the majority of heart attack survivors. The study which has recently been published in the journal Nature Communications talks about how iron drives formation of fatty tissue in the heart and leads to chronic heart failure.

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This is a multi-institution study led by Rohan Dharmakumar, of Indiana University School of Medicine.

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02/7​What did the study find?​

The researchers followed animal models for over six months and found that reduction of iron consequently reduced the amount of fat in the heart muscle and concluded that iron is the driving force behind the formation of fatty tissue in the heart.

“Using noninvasive imaging, histology and molecular biology techniques, and various other technologies, we have shown that iron from red blood cells is what drives this process,” explained Dr Dharmakumar. “When we removed the iron, we reduced the amount of fat in the heart muscle,” he added.

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03/7“For the first time, we have identified a root cause"

“For the first time, we have identified a root cause of chronic heart failure following a heart attack,” says Dharmakumar and adds that the finding establishes a pathway for clinical investigations to remedy or mitigate the effects associated with iron in hemorrhagic myocardial infarction patients.

Dharmakumar’s team is currently testing iron chelation therapy to do just that in a just-launched clinical trial.

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04/7​18 million lives are lost every year due to heart complications​

Cardiovascular diseases account for close to 18 million deaths every year worldwide.

Lack of awareness around the disease, sudden onset of the complication and unhealthy lifestyle are few of the major risk factors that trigger heart complications in young adults these days.

In view of this, research studies on various causes of fatal heart complications are crucial. On Dr Dharmakumar's research, the Indiana University School of Medicine says, "the discovery paves the way for treatments that have the potential to prevent heart failure in nearly half a million people a year in the United States, and many millions more worldwide."

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05/7​What causes heart failure?​

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle stops pumping the amount of blood it should.

The study says around 50% of the people suffering from myocardial infarction or heart attacks develop chronic heart failure. These people, who have survived the heart attack after reperfusion or reopening of arteries, succumb to chronic heart failure within a 5 year period.

It highlights that the incidence of heart failure following a heart attack has increased in recent decades with more than 300,000 deaths every year in the US.

"While advances across populations have made survival after a heart attack possible for most, too many survivors suffer long-term complications like heart failure," said Subha Raman, MD, who is physician director of the Cardiovascular Institute. "Dr. Dharmakumar's breakthrough science illuminates who is at risk and why and points to an effective way to prevent these complications."

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06/7​What needs to be done?​

Apart from the medical factors, there are lifestyle related factors which can remedy the heart complication situation. Factors like healthy eating habits, proper sleep pattern, reduction of tobacco and alcohol consumption and inclusion of more physical activity are certain modifiable factors that promote good health for the heart.

A good heart is the key to a healthy body and mind, undoubtedly. In view of the pandemic and other infections the onus is on us to lead a lifestyle that can ensure a good ambience for the heart.

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07/7​Healthy eating habits for heart

For a healthy heart, here are some diet basics to keep in mind:

-Control your portion size

-Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains

-Limit unhealthy fats

-Choose low-fat protein sources

-Limit or reduce salt intake

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