Cardio Round-Up: Exercise May Ease the Severity of AFib; and More

Cataracts Tied to Higher Odds of Death From Heart Disease

Cataracts, a common eye disorder that often comes with age, may also be linked to a heightened risk of death from heart disease, new research shows. Experts stressed that the finding doesn’t mean that cataracts somehow cause heart trouble, and the study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect. “A variety of medical conditions like [high blood pressure], diabetes or smoking have been associated with increased cataracts and these diseases are also associated with vascular mortality, which may explain the relationship,” said Dr. Matthew Gorski, an ophthalmologist at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. He believes cataracts may be an important signal of underlying health, however. “Patients should use the results of this study as a reminder of the importance of having regular eye exams with your eye doctor, especially as you get older or if you have certain medical conditions,” said Gorski, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

Extended Anticoagulation Tied to Major Bleeding Risk

The long-term risks and consequences of anticoagulant-related major bleeding are considerable among patients receiving extended oral anticoagulant therapy for a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to a review published online Sept. 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Findings from this study will help inform physician-patient discussions about long-term risks and consequences of anticoagulant-related major bleeding and help balance the net benefits and harms of extended anticoagulation to guide treatment duration for unprovoked VTE,” the authors write.

Can You Exercise Your A-fib Away?

Millions of Americans live with a common abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation (a-fib), but new research suggests that exercise might ease the severity of the condition.

When folks with a-fib participated in a six-month exercise program, they were able to maintain a normal heart rhythm and had less severe symptoms than those who only received information about the benefits of exercise. The benefits lasted for at least one year.

“Participating in a structured exercise program for up to 3.5 hours per week can reduce the likelihood of ongoing episodes of arrhythmia and decrease the severity of a-fib-related symptoms, such as palpitations and shortness of breath,” said study author Adrian Elliott, a physiologist and research scientist at the University of Adelaide in Australia.