Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and CVD in Men.




Arch Intern Med

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Diseases of the heart and circulation are so common and the public is so well acquainted with the major symptoms that result from cardiovascular disorders that patients, and occasionally physicians, wrongly attribute many unrelated complaints to cardiovascular disease (CVD). It should not be a surprise that this occurs since most patients are aware that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. There are four principle properties of the cardiovascular system that can be evaluated to provide information to help manage cardiovascular disease. These include movement of electrical signals through the heart, heart pump function, blood flow through the heart, and anatomy.

Patients with cardiovascular disease may also be completely without symptoms. They may also have high blood pressure, a heart murmur, an abnormal chest x-ray or an abnormal electro cardiogram (ECG or EKG). In cardiovascular disease, taking a medical history, interview, and physical examination remain the most important parts of patient assessment. While there are many technologically advanced tests available, they are only effective when used with a complete medical history and physical examination. A medical history enables the examiner to establish a relationship with the patient, develop an awareness of how the patient feels about the problems and their quality of life, as well as an evaluation of the problem's severity. Particular attention should be paid to the family history.

A recent study stated that although substitution for saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats is recommended for CVD prevention, there are not many studies that support this. This study involved 1,551 men and dietary fat intake was recorded. Cardiovascular mortality was recorded after a 15-year follow up. 78 men had died from CVD and 225 from other causes. After adjusting the results for age, men who had a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and linoleic acid had a decreased risk of CVD. In addition, mortality risk from CVD was also lowered in those with higher intakes. The authors concluded that polyunsaturated fat intake may provide cardioprotective effects that may also be reflected in mortality due to these diseases.1


1. Laaksonen DE, et al. Prediction of Cardiovascular Mortality in Middle-aged Men by Dietary and Serum Linoleic and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Arch Int Med. Jan 2005;165:193-9.