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Eating fatty fish once a week reduces men's risk of heart failure
Date:4/21/2009

BOSTON Eating salmon or other fatty fish just once a week helped reduce men's risk of heart failure, adding to growing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are of benefit to cardiac health. Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and reported in today's on-line issue of the European Heart Journal, the findings represent one of the largest studies to investigate the association.

"Previous research has demonstrated that fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids help to combat risk factors for a range of heart-related conditions, such as lowering triglycerides [fats in the blood] reducing blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability," explains first author Emily Levitan, PhD, a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Center at BIDMC. "Collectively, this may explain the association with the reduced risk of heart failure found in our study."

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 blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among patients 65 and older, and is characterized by such symptoms as fatigue and weakness, difficulty 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. The researchers recorded details of the men's diet and tracked the men's 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 likel
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Contact: Bonnie Prescott
bprescot@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7306
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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