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New Diabetes drugs Confer cardiovascular benefits

Two drug classes known as SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists, developed for use in patients with type 2 diabetes to lower blood glucose levels, have been shown in trials to have unexpected positive outcomes on the cardiovascular system. After 12 months of treatment with an SGLT2 inhibitor such as canagliflozin, dapagliflozin or empagliflozin, patients

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New technology for predicting heart attacks

Almost two thirds of heart attacks occur in people who do not have significant narrowings identified on a CT coronary angiogram. The process behind build-up of atheroma in the arteries is in part driven by inflammation within the vessels, and inflammation also provokes rupture of plaques within the arteries, which causes heart attacks. A new

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Liquorice and the heart

After a bad day – or indeed even a good one! – it is very easy to sit down in front of the television with a bag of sweets and suddenly find the packet empty. If that packet contains liquorice then particular caution is advised. Liquorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin and this increases sodium

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Useful tool for identifying pills

For patients taking multiple medications a day, dosette boxes and pill organisers can be extremely useful. However, if you have carefully separated out all your pills for the month and the doctor then recommends a change in dose, it can be difficult to distinguish one tablet from another. Medscape, a US medical information website, has

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Exercise after covid-19

For many people exercise is not just important for their physical health but also their mental wellbeing. People who have been hospitalised with Covid-19 or who have been unwell at home for a long period of time will naturally find it hard to return to their normal activity levels, and this is understandably a source

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Living with Long Covid

Over the last year we have heard a lot about the numbers of deaths from Covid-19, and also about the number of patients requiring ITU treatment to help them to survive the infection. What we have not heard so much about is what happens after hospital, when patients are discharged home and how some of

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ACEIs and ARBs in Covid-19

Membrane-bound angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) upregulate ACE2, raising concerns about their safety in patients with COVID-19. The BRACE-CORONA trial is the first randomised trial to address the question of whether patients

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smartphone magnets can inhibit ICDs and pacemakers

Who doesn’t love a shiny new smartphone? They wake us up in the morning, keep us connected to colleagues during the workday and friends and family at weekends, help us get from A to B, and indeed almost live our lives for us. These days there seems to be an app for everything and nothing

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The Covid-19 vaccine and heart disease

With the first patients across the UK now being vaccinated against Covid-19, many people with pre-existing heart conditions are quite understandably concerned about the vaccine and whether or not it might pose a risk to them. The British Foundation has a very useful Q&A page about the Covid-19 vaccine and cardiovascular disorders, which you can

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Back to the new normal

At the time of writing, London is just emerging from the second lockdown of the year and it is fairly safe to say that we are all hoping for a Covid-free Christmas and a 2021 that promises better times than we have seen in 2020. Whether life will ever go back to quite how it

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Cardiac care and covid-19

2020 has certainly not been the year that any of us expected, and we have all seen monumental changes in the way we live our lives day to day. Delivery of healthcare has seen a complete sea-change, with priorities inevitably evolving to cope with the overwhelming threat of Covid and the risks this poses to

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Grapefruit – the forbidden fruit?

Many people think that a fresh grapefruit for breakfast is a healthy way to kick-start the day, but in fact a single grapefruit or glass of grapefruit juice could have serious consequences for those who take daily medication for a number of causes. The reason for this is that grapefruit contains chemicals which affect the

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