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Prescription Cholesterol-lowering Medication Use in Adults Aged 40 and Over: United States, 2003–2012

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Prescription Cholesterol-lowering Medication Use in Adults Aged 40 and Over: United States, 2003–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • During 2003–2012, the percentage of adults aged 40 and over using a cholesterol-lowering medication in the past 30 days increased from 20% to 28%.
  • The use of statins increased from 18% to 26%. By 2011–2012, 93% of adults using a cholesterol-lowering medication used a statin.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medication use increased with age, from 17% of adults aged 40–59 to 48% of adults aged 75 and over.
  • About 71% of adults with cardiovascular disease and 54% of adults with hypercholesterolemia used a cholesterol-lowering medication.
  • Adults aged 40–64 with health insurance were more likely than those without health insurance to use a cholesterol-lowering medication.

Women’s Health Issues: Special Collection on Women’s Heart Health

February 3, 2015 Comments off

Special Collection on Women’s Heart Health
Source: Women’s Health Issues

For American Heart Month 2015, the editorial team at Women’s Health Issues has assembled a special collection of research on women’s cardiovascular health published in the journal since mid-2011, following the release of updated American Heart Association guidelines on the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women. The articles address healthcare services for women at risk for cardiovascular disease; social determinants of health; and physical activity in specific populations of women.

These articles will be accessible for free during the month of February 2015 so that they are available to a wider interested audience.

The Emerging Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases

January 15, 2015 Comments off

The Emerging Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The gravest health threats facing low- and middle-income countries are not the plagues, parasites, and blights that dominate the news cycle and international relief efforts. They are the everyday diseases the international community understands and could address, but fails to take action against.

Once thought to be challenges for affluent countries alone, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have emerged as the leading cause of death and disability in developing countries. In 2013, these diseases killed eight million people before their sixtieth birthdays in these countries. The chronic nature of NCDs means patients are sick and suffer longer and require more medical care. The resulting economic costs are high and escalating. Unless urgent action is taken, this emerging crisis will worsen in low- and middle-income countries and become harder to address.

Medical Cost Offsets from Prescription Drug Utilization Among Medicare Beneficiaries

October 27, 2014 Comments off

Medical Cost Offsets from Prescription Drug Utilization Among Medicare Beneficiaries (PDF)
Source: Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy

This brief commentary extends earlier work on the value of adherence to derive medical cost offset estimates from prescription drug utilization. Among seniors with chronic vascular disease, 1% increases in condition- specific medication use were associated with significant ( P < 0.001) reductions in gross nonpharmacy medical costs in the amounts of 0.63% for dyslipidemia, 0.77% for congestive heart failure, 0.83% for diabetes, and 1.17% for hypertension.

Mild hypertension in people at low risk

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Mild hypertension in people at low risk
Source: British Medical Journal

Summary box

  • Clinical context—Up to 40% of adults worldwide have hypertension, complications of which may account for up to 9.4 million deaths annually from cardiovascular disease
  • Diagnostic change—Recommendations for drug treatment have decreased from diastolic pressure of >115 mm Hg to ≥140/90 mm Hg. A new category, prehypertension (120/80-139/89 mm Hg), has also been introduced
  • Rationale for change—Patients with even mildly raised blood pressure may have increased cardiovascular risk
  • Leap of faith—Lowering threshold blood pressures will lead to increased diagnosis and treatment, which will decrease mortality
  • Impact on prevalence—22% of adults worldwide have mild hypertension (systolic pressure 140-159 mm Hg) and 13.5% have a systolic pressure ≥160 mm Hg
  • Evidence of overdiagnosis—Use of a uniform threshold (140 mm Hg) to mark hypertension risk ignores evidence that risk varies by individual and includes many people who will not benefit from drug treatment
  • Harms from overdiagnosis—Studies suggest over half of people with mild hypertension are treated with drugs even though this approach has not been proved to decrease mortality or morbidity. Overemphasis on drug treatment risks adverse effects, such as increased risk of falls, and misses opportunities to modify individual lifestyle choices and tackle lifestyle factors at a public health level
  • Limitations of evidence — Lack of randomised trials that use hard outcomes and compare drugs with lifestyle interventions and placebo in patients with mild hypertension
  • Conclusion—Lowering definitions of hypertension has led to identification and drug treatment of larger populations of patients despite lack of evidence that drugs reduce morbidity or mortality

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Background:
A national health objective is to reduce average U.S. sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily to help prevent high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Identifying common contributors to sodium intake among children can help reduction efforts.
Methods: Average sodium intake, sodium consumed per calorie, and proportions of sodium from food categories, place obtained, and eating occasion were estimated among 2,266 school-aged (6–18 years) participants in What We Eat in America, the dietary intake component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010.

Results:
U.S. school-aged children consumed an estimated 3,279 mg of sodium daily with the highest total intake (3,672 mg/d) and intake per 1,000 kcal (1,681 mg) among high school–aged children. Forty-three percent of sodium came from 10 food categories: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups. Sixty-five percent of sodium intake came from store foods, 13% from fast food/pizza restaurants, 5% from other restaurants, and 9% from school cafeteria foods. Among children aged 14–18 years, 16% of total sodium intake came from fast food/pizza restaurants versus 11% among those aged 6–10 years or 11–13 years (p<0.05). Among children who consumed a school meal on the day assessed, 26% of sodium intake came from school cafeteria foods. Thirty-nine percent of sodium was consumed at dinner, followed by lunch (29%), snacks (16%), and breakfast (15%).

Implications for Public Health Practice:
Sodium intake among school-aged children is much higher than recommended. Multiple food categories, venues, meals, and snacks contribute to sodium intake among school-aged children supporting the importance of populationwide strategies to reduce sodium intake. New national nutrition standards are projected to reduce the sodium content of school meals by approximately 25%–50% by 2022. Based on this analysis, if there is no replacement from other sources, sodium intake among U.S. school-aged children will be reduced by an average of about 75–150 mg per day and about 220–440 mg on days children consume school meals.

Hypertension Among US Adults by Disability Status and Type, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2010

September 10, 2014 Comments off

Hypertension Among US Adults by Disability Status and Type, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2010
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

The prevalence of hypertension among people with disabilities is not well understood. We combined data from the 2001–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to obtain estimates of hypertension prevalence by disability status and type (cognitive, hearing, vision, or mobility limitation) and assess the association between disability and hypertension. Overall, 34% of adults with disabilities had hypertension compared with 27% of adults without disabilities; adults with mobility limitations were more likely to have hypertension than adults without disabilities (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.23; 95% confidence interval: 1.16–1.32). Our results suggest that adults living with disabilities are an important subpopulation to include in hypertension reporting and intervention efforts.

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