August 21, 2013
Fruit Found To Lower Risk Of Abdominal Aneuriysms
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Fruits can be a refreshing snack on a hot, late-summer afternoon, and a new study from Swedish researchers has found that they can also provide protection against abdominal aneurysms.An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakening of the vein or artery wall. Aneurysms commonly occur in the brain, heart and aorta. Aneurysms grow slowly over the course of several years, often without noticeable symptoms.
In the study, which was published in the journal Circulation, researchers categorized data more than 80,000 Swedish men and women into four groups based on their fruit and vegetable intake, from the least to the most.
Subjects were tracked for 13 years, and autopsy records showed that almost 1,100 people developed abdominal aortic aneurysms, including more than 220 whose aneurysms ruptured. Over 80 percent of the aneurysm cases were found in male participants.
The group that ate the most fruits – about two daily servings or more – were 25 percent less likely to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm and 43 percent less likely to have an aneurysm rupture compared to those who ate less than one serving of fruit per day, researchers found.
Those in the highest fruit intake group were 31 percent less likely to develop the condition and 39 percent less likely to have a rupture compared to people who reported not eating fruit at all.
"A high consumption of fruits may help to prevent many vascular diseases, and our study suggests that a lower risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm will be among the benefits," lead author Otto Stackelberg, a nutritional epidemiology researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
"Other studies have found that eating more fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and several cancers," Stackelberg added.
The nutrition expert noted that vegetables remain important to health, even though the study didn’t find any benefit in relation to reducing the risk of an aneurysm.
The study researchers speculated that high levels of antioxidants in fruits could protect against aneurysms by reducing inflammation. Some vegetables lack key antioxidants that are found in fruits, Stackelberg said.
In their conclusion, the study researchers acknowledges some shortcomings of their study, including the fact that fruit intake was self-reported and periodic scans of participants aortas were not performed.
The American Heart Association (AHA), which publishes Circulation, recommends that adults eat four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily to get important nutrients such as folate, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, and K.
The best way to spot a developing aneurysm is through ultrasound imaging. Doctors often track small ones over time to see if they become worse. While the condition can strike anyone, aneurysms are most common in men over 60 who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, emphysema, obesity, genetic factors or are smokers.
Individuals experiencing severe and sudden abdominal pain, clammy skin, dizziness, racing pulse, nausea, vomiting or shock could be experiencing a blood vessel tear or rupture. Experts recommend immediately seeing a doctor after experiencing any of these symptoms.