The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmia’s. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Another factor of heart disease coming to light is sexually transmitted diseases.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus spread through body fluids that affects CD4 cells or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body that it is no longer able to fight infections and disease. About 50,000 new infections occur each year, with an estimated 1.2 million people already living with HIV.
Patients infected with HIV have an increased risk of developing heart disease. Past studies have looked at this association but had inconclusive results until now. John Hopkins researchers have made the association between HIV and coronary artery disease.
Dr. Wendy S. Post, MD, MS, cardiologist, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of study in which John Hopkins researchers revealed men with long-term HIV infections are at higher risk than uninfected men of developing plaque in their coronary arteries, regardless of their other risk factors for coronary artery disease. The study appeared this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study included 618 HIV-infected men and 383 uninfected men who were 40 to 70 years old and had had no prior surgery to restore blood flow to the coronary arteries. The researchers found that noncalcified coronary artery plaque was more prevalent and extensive in HIV-infected men, suggesting increased risk for heart attacks. HIV-infected men had a greater prevalence of any plaque, especially noncalcified plaque, than uninfected men. Among HIV-infected men, coronary artery stenosis greater than 50% was associated with more advanced HIV and longer treatment with highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), a commonly prescribed HIV drug cocktail.
Some HIV medications may cause conditions such as dyslipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood), diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, which are risk factors for heart disease.
HIV patients may be up to three times more likely to suffer a stroke than people uninfected by the virus that causes AIDS. Over the last decade in the United States, there has been a substantial and significant rise in patients hospitalized for stroke with coexisting HIV infection, according to a paper published in the online issue of Neurology, authored by Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Dr. Avindra Nath, MD, Dr. Ovbiagele noted that the time period studied (between 1997 and 2006) coincides with the emergence and widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV patients. HAART has been highly successful for extending lives of HV patients, but Ovbiagele said emerging data suggest that these drugs can be associated with metabolic complications linked to higher risk of stroke.
A report released by the CDC (January 8) showed 334,826 cases of gonorrhea in 2012, a 4.1% increase form 2011. There were 15,667 cases of primary and secondary syphilis (the first two stages of syphilis) in 2012.
Cardiovascular syphilis is the most frequent basic cause of death from acquired syphilis. Cardiac syphilis is an infection of the heart and related blood vessels by the syphilis bacteria. Destruction caused by cardiovascular syphilis can be life-threatening. Complications include narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart which can cause angina, heart attack and even death. Damage to heart valves can result in heart failure.
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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. Almost every sexually active person will acquire HPV at some point in their lives. HPV is also linked to heart disease.
According to a study by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, women who had tested positive for HPV were two to three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke
The research team examined data from 2,450 women (age 20 to 59 years) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003 to 2006. Infection with HPV was determined by DNA testing of vaginal swabs. Heart disease was any self-reported heart attack or stroke.
The results showed 1,114 tested positive for HPV, 60 women reported heart disease in which 39 of those women had tested positive for HPV. After adjusting for confounding factors including smoking, weight and blood pressure, women with HPV were 2.3 times as likely as those without the virus to have heart disease. The risk was even higher, 2.9 times that of uninfected women, in those who had HPV strains known to cause cancer.
The researchers concluded HPV infection, especially cancer-associated oncogenic types, is associated with CVD among women.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Besides causing damage to the liver, Hepatitis c is a risk factor for heart disease.
In large scale study researchers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, examined the association n between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and coronary artery disease (CAD). The study involved over 170,000 individuals receiving care at Veterans Affairs health facilities with 82,083 being infected with Hepatitis C.
The researchers found individuals infected with hepatitis C had fewer traditional risk factors for heart disease and stroke than the uninfected patients. They were less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia and total cholesterol. However, they were more likely to have liver problems, kidney disease, anaemia and abuse drugs or alcohol.
The researchers concluded “HCV infection is associated with a higher risk of CAD after adjustment for traditional risk factors.”
Information on heart disease and related conditions can be found at the American Heart Association website.
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