The study is the first time researchers have shown strong links between heart function and mild COPD. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers have long known that severe cases of COPD have harmful effects on the heart, decreasing its ability to pump blood effectively. The new results suggest that these changes in the heart occur much earlier than previously believed, in mild cases and even before symptoms appear. One in five Americans over the age of 45 has COPD, but as many as half of them may not even be aware of it.
"This study shows that COPD, even in its mildest form, is associated with diminished heart function," said NHLBI Acting Director Susan B. Shurin, M.D. "We now have evidence that the presence of even mild COPD may have important health implications beyond the lungs."
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is strongly associated with smoking. COPD often involves destruction of lung tissue, called emphysema, as well as narrowed airways, persistent cough, and mucus production, known as chronic obstructive bronchitis. These abnormalities impair the flow of air in the lungs and make breathing more difficult.
Although damage to the airways from COPD is not fully reversible, treatments can substantially improve a patient's daily life. "COPD is one of the big killers in the United States, yet it is unknown to many," said James P. Kiley, Ph.D., director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases. "Unfortunately, many people with COPD don't recognize common symptoms such as having shortness of breath while doing activities they used to be able to do. It's important that we continue to increase awareness of the signs of COPD and available treatments."
Using breathing tests and imaging studies of the chest, researchers measured heart and lung structure and function in 2,816 generally healthy adults (average age of 61 years). Study participants were part of the MESA Lung Study, an extension of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a large, NHLBI-supported study focused on finding early signs of heart, lung, and blood diseases before symptoms appear.
Sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans uncovered mild abnormalities in heart and lung function in many participants. They discovered that the link between lung and heart function was strongest in current smokers, who are at risk for both diseases, and especially in those with emphysema. The findings also appeared, to a lesser extent, in people with mild COPD who had never smoked.
"These results raise the intriguing possibility that treating lung disease may, in the future, improve heart function," said Graham Barr, M.D., Dr. P.H., assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, principal investigator of the MESA Lung Study, and lead author of the paper. "Further research is needed to prove whether treating mild COPD will help the heart work better."
The larger MESA project involves more than 6,000 middle-aged and older men and women from six urban communities across the United States. Participants in MESA come from diverse races and ethnic groups, including African Americans, Latinos, Asians and whites. They have been tracked since enrollment began in 2000.
Because the MESA study population is ethnically mixed and covers a broad age range of apparently healthy people, the results of this study may be widely applicable to the general U.S. population.
The NHLBI also supports a national campaign, COPD Learn More Breathe Better, to help people with COPD and those at risk to become more aware of COPD, get diagnosed early, better understand this disease and live better with it.
More information about the MESA Lung Study, Endothelial Dysfunction, Biomarkers, and Lung Function (NCT00843271), can be found at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00843271.
To schedule an interview with an NHLBI spokesperson, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at 301-496-4236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an interview with Dr. Barr, contact Elizabeth A. Streich, senior communications specialist, at 212-305-6535 or at email@example.com.
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Reference: Barr, RG, Bluemke, DA, Ahmed, F, Carr, JJ, Enright, PL, Hoffman, EA, Jiang, R, Kawut, SM, Kronmal, RA, Lima, JA, Shahar, E, Smith, J, Watson KE. Left Ventricular Filling in Emphysema and Airflow Obstruction. N Engl J Med Online Jan. 21, 2010.
COPD Learn More Breathe Better Campaign: www.learnaboutcopd.org
Diseases and Conditions Index: COPD: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Copd/Copd_WhatIs.html
NHLBI Communications Office | EurekAlert!
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences