Cataracts Tied to Higher Odds of Death From Heart Disease

Robert Preidt and Ernie Mundell wrote . . . . . . . . .

Cataracts, a common eye disorder that often comes with age, may also be linked to a heightened risk of death from heart disease, new research shows.

Experts stressed that the finding doesn’t mean that cataracts somehow cause heart trouble, and the study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect.

“A variety of medical conditions like [high blood pressure], diabetes or smoking have been associated with increased cataracts and these diseases are also associated with vascular mortality, which may explain the relationship,” said Dr. Matthew Gorski, an ophthalmologist at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. He believes cataracts may be an important signal of underlying health, however.

“Patients should use the results of this study as a reminder of the importance of having regular eye exams with your eye doctor, especially as you get older or if you have certain medical conditions,” said Gorski, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

The research was conducted in Australia, and was led by Dr. Mingguang He of the Centre for Eye Research Australia at the University of Melbourne. His team analyzed data obtained between 1999 and 2008 on nearly 15,000 American patients, aged 40 and older. More than 2,000 (9.6%) of them said they’d undergone a cataract surgery.

Over a median follow-up of nearly 11 years, close to 4,000 (19%) of the participants died.

After accounting for a number of health and socioeconomic factors, the researchers found that the risk of death from any cause was 13% higher and the risk of death from heart disease was 36% higher in people who’d had a cataract surgery.

Oxidative stress (an imbalance in natural oxidation processes affecting cells) and depression may be common factors that could impact the formation of cataracts and also raise a person’s risk of death from heart disease, He’s team said in their study.

The study authors pointed to prior research, which has shown that DNA damage caused by oxidative stress contributes to cataract formation while also spurring an unhealthy narrowing of the arteries.

According to the Australian team, people with cataracts are also more likely to develop depression than those without the eye condition, even after they’ve had cataract surgery, and people with depression have an increased risk of heart disease.

Overall, the study “found significant associations of self-reported cataract surgery” with a raised risk of death from any cause, and from heart-related causes in particular, the authors said.

Dr. Mark Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reading over the findings, he said that “it is certainly not a surprise to expect cataract patients to have other underlying illnesses as most cataract patients are elderly.”

Fromer noted that people are typically having cataracts surgically removed at an earlier age than they might have a few decades ago. “This has led to patients living for a longer time after their surgery than was reported just decades ago,” he said. “Seeing better following surgery also leads to a better quality of life and may prevent accidents which can lead to death and injury due to poor sight.”

The study was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Source : HealthDay

In Pictures: Food of Yat Tung Heen 逸東軒 in Jordon, Hong Kong

Cantonese Dim Sum and Cuisine

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant

Never Heard of Sepsis? It’s Common, Dangerous and a Threat to Your Heart

Michael Merschel wrote . . . . . . . . .

When former President Bill Clinton was treated for sepsis earlier this month, it put a spotlight on a common illness not often discussed. But it’s one that can endanger the heart.

It is technically not a specific condition, but a syndrome that has defied easy categorization in the past. The official definition according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “the body’s extreme response to an infection.” Unofficially, it’s “a common process by which infections kill you,” said Dr. Henry Wang, professor and vice chair for research in the department of emergency medicine at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

Most cases can be blamed on bacteria. But viruses, including the flu and the virus that causes COVID-19, also can spark it, as can fungal infections. All infections, Wang said, “can make the body overreact and can make the body very irritable and inflamed. And those toxins end up in your bloodstream and start to poison all the organs of the body.”

That means sepsis is entwined with the cardiovascular system and can endanger the heart, sometimes years after a person has been ill.

“For example, a common thing that happens when you get an infection is that the blood vessels dilate,” Wang said. “That’s an overreaction to the invasion of the infection in the bloodstream. And because of that, your blood pressure drops.” The body then struggles to deliver adequate blood and oxygen to vital organs.

Sepsis also damages the lining of the blood vessels, Wang said, making the person susceptible to blood clots and causing other problems that are “big players in heart disease,” such as inflammation.

Wang’s research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases suggests people hospitalized for sepsis were twice as likely to have or die from a future coronary heart disease event such as a heart attack as people without a history of sepsis. That risk remained elevated for at least four years.

Other research in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine shows 10% to 40% of people with sepsis end up developing a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.

According to the CDC, at least 1.7 million U.S. adults develop sepsis yearly, and nearly 270,000 die as a result. Clinton – who has had multiple heart procedures, including bypass surgery – spent several days at a California hospital for sepsis that developed after a urinary tract infection, according to news reports.

His is not the only famous case. Sepsis was the cause of death for Muppet creator Jim Henson, Pope John Paul II and actress Tanya Roberts. Actress Whoopi Goldberg said it nearly killed her in 2019.

Sepsis may be especially dangerous for people with heart failure, where the heart does not pump properly. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found sepsis may account for almost a quarter of deaths in people with heart failure who have reduced heart pumping function.

It carries long-term effects, Wang said. “We’re realizing that there’s a whole sepsis survivor syndrome that’s been completely underrecognized in our field.”

Impaired brain function can be one serious after-effect, said Wang, whose sepsis work has drawn on data from a large study called REGARDS that was originally designed to study the occurrence of stroke. He led a study published in Critical Care Medicine that found the rate of cognitive decline accelerates about sevenfold after experiencing sepsis.

Doctors continue to struggle in spotting the signs of sepsis, which can include a high heart rate or low blood pressure; confusion or disorientation; extreme pain; fever; and shortness of breath. But recent experiments using artificial intelligence have helped to spot the problem earlier.

Better understanding who’s at risk also could help, Wang said.

People 65 and older, people with weakened immune systems, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer are at higher risk for sepsis, the CDC says.

Wang said people with kidney problems and vascular disease also have a higher risk, as do people with conditions that make them prone to blood clots. His work has linked obesity to sepsis risk, too.

For something so common, it doesn’t get a lot of attention, Wang said. “We could probably save thousands of lives a year and really improve the lives and quality of life for all the survivors if we dedicate a lot more attention to this condition.”

Source: American Heart Association



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Stir-fried Beef with Egg and Tomato

Ingredients

4 oz beef
2 eggs
2 stalks spring onion (chopped)
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 lb tomato

Beef Marinade

1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tbsp water

Seasoning

1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce or light soy

Thickening Solution

1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Wash tomatoes. Remove seeds and cut into pieces.
  2. Beat eggs.
  3. Cut beef into thin slices. Add marinade and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir fry beef in a wok with 2 tbsp oil until done. Remove and set aside.
  5. Stir fry tomato with 1 tbsp oil. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Then boil over low heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and seasoning ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Add egg. Leave in wok without stirring or covering with lid. Mix well when egg is cooked.
  7. Return beef to wok and add spring onion. Stir-fry briefly.
  8. Add thickening solution and cook until sauce thickens. Remove to serving platter and serve hot.

Source: Cantonese-style Stir-fries


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