Even With Heart Disease Awareness on the Rise, Prevention Remains Critically Important for American Women

In recognition of American Heart Month, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and its heart disease awareness campaign — The Heart Truth — is reminding all American women that heart disease prevention remains critically important, despite that fact that awareness is at an all time high. More women than ever know that heart disease is their leading killer, yet millions of women are at risk, at increasingly younger ages.

Even with increased awareness, 80 percent of midlife women (ages 40 to 60) still have one or more of the modifiable risk factors “” high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, and smoking. Sixty percent of younger women, ages 20-39, have one or more of these risk factors. Recent data show high rates of overweight/obesity in younger women, which may lead to higher rates of heart disease in later years.

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COPD, Even When Mild, Limits Heart Function

A common lung condition, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diminishes the heart’s ability to pump effectively even when the disease has no or mild symptoms, according to research published in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is the first time researchers have shown strong links between heart function and mild COPD. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Drug for Multiple Myeloma Demonstrated to Significantly Extend Disease-Free Survival

Initial results from a large, randomized clinical trial for patients with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, showed that patients who received the oral drug lenalidomide (Revlimid, also known as CC-5013) following a blood stem cell transplant had their cancer kept in check longer than patients who received a placebo. The clinical trial, for patients ages 18 to 70, was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and conducted by a network of researchers led by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) in collaboration with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN). The BMT CTN is co-sponsored by NCI and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, both parts of the National Institutes of Health.

Blood Stem-Cell Transplant Regimen Reverses Sickle Cell Disease in Adults

A modified blood adult stem-cell transplant regimen has effectively reversed sickle cell disease in 9 of 10 adults who had been severely affected by the disease, according to results of a National Institutes of Health study in the Dec. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial was conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., by NIH researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.