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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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Diabetes drug might ease heart failure risk

Gorkha Post

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A new research has showed that the diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure.

According to the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo.

Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. The compound is called dapagliflozin.

The study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.

Patients were randomly assigned to take a dummy placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.

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“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.

Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team noted. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, researchers noted.

Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and kidney outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.

With Inputs from HealthDay

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