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Poor oral health linked to high blood pressure

Raghu Kshitiz

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People with high blood pressure taking medication for their condition are more likely to benefit from the therapy if they have good oral health, according to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

Researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy recently conducted a study to determine the link between gum health and blood pressure levels.

For the study, researchers examined the medical and dental exam records of more than 3,600 people with high blood pressure. They assessed those with periodontal disease, a gum infection that can be caused by lack of thorough brushing and flossing, and those with good oral health.

The findings reveal that those with healthier gums have lower blood pressure and responded better to blood pressure-lowering medications, compared with individuals who have gum disease, a condition known as periodontitis. People with periodontal disease were 20 percent less likely to reach healthy blood pressure ranges, compared with patients in good oral health.

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The researchers, considering the findings, say patients with periodontal disease may warrant closer blood pressure monitoring, while those diagnosed with hypertension, or persistently elevated blood pressure, might benefit from a referral to a dentist.

“Physicians should pay close attention to patients’ oral health, particularly those receiving treatment for hypertension, and urge those with signs of periodontal disease to seek dental care,” said study lead investigator Davide Pietropaoli, DDS, PhD, of the University of L’Aquila.

“Likewise, dental health professionals should be aware that oral health is indispensable to overall physiological health, including cardiovascular status,” Pietropaoli said.

Agencies

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Suicide can’t be predicted by asking about suicidal thoughts : Study

Gorkha Post

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Most people who died of suicide deny they experience suicidal thoughts when asked by doctors in the weeks and months leading up to their death, a major Australian study has found.

The findings, co-authored by clinical psychiatrist and Professor Matthew Large from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry, Sydney that published in the journal BJPsych Open The meta-analysis challenge the widely-held assumption that psychiatrists can predict who will suicide by asking if they are preoccupied with thoughts of killing themselves.

The study showed that 80% of patients who were not undergoing psychiatric treatment and who died of suicide reported not to have suicidal thoughts when asked by their psychiatrist or GP.

“If you meet someone who has suicidal ideation there is a 98 per cent chance that they are not going to suicide,” said Professor Large, an international expert on suicide risk assessment who also works in the emergency department of a major Sydney hospital.

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“But what we didn’t know was how frequently people who go on to suicide have denied having suicidal thoughts when asked directly,” he added.

“This study proves we can no longer ration psychiatric care based on the presence of suicidal thoughts alone. We need to provide high-quality, patient-centred care for everyone experiencing mental illness, whether or not they reveal they are experiencing suicidal thoughts,” Professor Large said.

About one in 10 people will have suicidal ideation in their lifetime. But the study showed suicidal ideation alone was not rational grounds for deciding who gets treatment and who does not, Professor Large said.

“We know that suicide feeling is pretty common and that suicide is actually a rare event, even among people with severe mental illness,” Professor Large added.

Suicidal ideation tells us an awful lot about how a person is feeling, their psychological distress, sometimes their diagnosis and their need for treatment but it’s not a meaningful test of future behaviour.

Suicidal feelings can fluctuate rapidly and people may suicide very impulsively after only a short period of suicidal thoughts.

But, people had good reasons not to disclose thoughts of suicide, fearing stigma, triggering over-reactions or upsetting family and friends, and being involuntarily admitted for psychiatric treatment, Professor Large said.

Professor Large emphasized that clinicians should not assume that patients experiencing mental distress without reporting suicidal ideas were not at elevated risk of suicide.

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