News in brief: Air pollution causing dyslipidaemia; Screening for primary aldosteronism; Heart of Australia expands

Even low level, chronic air pollution doing us harm  

Long term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated, in a dose-response manner, with elevated serum triglycerides and decreased HDL cholesterol.

Cross-sectional data from more than 4,000 men in the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing Health in Men Study showed that air pollution can impact cardiovascular disease, even in a relatively low pollution environment.

The study compared annual concentrations of four air pollutants measured at the participants’ Perth residences with eight cardiovascular risk factors.

“Smoothed associations were observed to be increasing for PM25 and triglycerides and decreasing for PM25 and HDL cholesterol with no indication of a threshold apparent in either outcome,” the study said.

“The findings presented here adds further weight to the role that lipids may have in explaining the effect of long-term exposure to PM on CVD and warrants further research into what the underlying mechanisms might be.”


Screening after sleep studies will reveal primary aldosteronism

People with both hypertension and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) should be routinely screened for primary aldosteronism (PA).

A prospective study of 85 patients referred for sleep studies found the proportion of the total cohort with likely PA was 2.4% and possible PA was 11.8%.

However among the hypertensive cohort, the prevalence of likely PA was 4.6% and possible PA was 23.2%. In participants with both OSA and hypertension, the prevalence of likely PA and possible PA was a similar 5% and 25%, respectively.

“There was a significant relationship between increasing aldosterone:renin ratio (ARR), even within the normal range, and the awake diastolic BP load. However, no relationship between aldosterone, rennin, or the ARR and OSA severity was identified,” the study said.

The researchers from Monash University said PA screening tests are substantially under-utilised in clinical practice however it should be considered at every opportunity, such as following a diagnostic sleep study.


Expansion of mobile heart services 

The Heart of Australia program has launched its fourth mobile medical clinic which will provide specialist services into north Queensland and Cape York from June.

The new HEART 4 vehicle will provide access to cardiology, sonography, cardiac monitoring, sleep diagnostics and respiratory services in towns such as Sarina, Proserpine, Ayr, and Cooktown.

Heart of Australia was started by cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes in 2014 to improve access to health services for people living in regional, rural and remote Queensland.

The mobile clinics have since travelled 500,000 kilometres, seen more than 11,000 patients, and saved more than 400 lives.


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