Fatty fish once a week cuts down risk of heart failure

April 22nd, 2009 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 22 (IANS) Eating salmon or other fatty fish once a week has been found to help reduce men’s risk of heart failure, bolstering evidence that omega-3 fatty acids do benefit the heart.
“Previous research has demonstrated that fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids help to combat risk factors, lowering triglycerides (fats in the blood), reducing blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability,” explained Emily Levitan of Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Centre at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC), who co-authored a new study on the subject.

A life-threatening condition that develops when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, heart failure (also known as congestive heart failure) is usually caused by existing cardiac conditions, including high BP and coronary artery disease.

Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalisation among patients 65 and older, and is characterised by such symptoms as fatigue and weakness, difficulty in walking, rapid or irregular heartbeat and persistent cough or wheezing.

The researchers followed 39,367 Swedish men between the ages of 45 and 79 from 1998 to 2004. Researchers recorded details of their diet and tracked the outcome through Swedish inpatient hospital registers and cause-of-death registers.

During this period, 597 men in the study (with no previous history of heart disease or diabetes) developed heart failure. Thirty four men died.

Analysis of their numbers showed that the men who ate fatty fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, whitefish and char) once a week were 12 percent less likely to develop heart failure, compared with men who ate no fatty fish.

Although this association did not reach statistical significance, noted Levitan, the researchers also found a statistically significant association with the intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in cod liver and other fish oils, said a BIDMC release.

The men who consumed approximately 0.36 grams a day were 33 percent less likely to develop heart failure than the men who consumed little or no marine omega-3 fatty acids.

These findings were reported in Wednesday’s on-line issue of the European Heart Journal.

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