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High rates of unrecognized heart problems in apparently healthy older people

UNS HEARTISLAMABAD -UNS- Researchers from the UK have just reported in the Postgraduate Medical Journal that unrecognized heart problems are surprisingly common in apparently healthy older people.The study used standard heart scans by echocardiography to look at heart valves and heart muscle in 362 men and women in England aged 50 – 74 years without known heart disease. 178 – almost half – had abnormalities of a valve or muscle or irregular heart beat. Many had more than one cardiac abnormality.

Premature cardiovascular disease in a leading cause of death in the western world. Despite the decline in the rates of mortality, largely due to reduction of deaths from ischaemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease remains an important cause of death. This is at least partly related to the fact that a number of patients with cardiac conditions remain largely undiagnosed and present late in the natural history, missing the window where maximum benefit could be offered with timely intervention.

Study author Cardiologist Constantinos Missouris said:

“Patterns of heart disease are changing, with rheumatic heart disease becoming less common but an increase in rates of degenerative valve disorders, heart failure and serious arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. Our study shows that unrecognised cardiac abnormalities are very common in middle-aged men and women with no overt symptoms. Echo offers a simple way to identify the need for early medical intervention.”

Clinical Pharmacologist Donald Singer and co-author of the study added:

“Finding effective ways to identify and treat people with unrecognized heart problems is vital to reduce the risk and severity of preventable heart disease. Our results point to the need for doctors and patients to be more aware of the risk of heart problems and how to detect and treat them.

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