In the past decades, the FLEMENGHO study has led to new insights in the development of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, we continue to transfer the acquired knowledge to cardiologists and other care providers for implementation in daily clinical practice. As such, the study keeps contributing to advancements in the diagnosis and prevention of cardiovascular disorders. At the same time, we continue to raise awareness within the community about the importance of early detection of cardiovascular diseases and timely management of its risk factors.
In 2006, FLEMENGHO researchers highlighted the harmful effects of soil contamination and air pollution by cadmium in northeastern Belgium. In an outcome study the risk for mortality was 20 percent higher in people living near former or active factories processing non-ferrous metals. For cancer, the risk was even 40 percent higher. These findings were extensively communicated by the press (e.g. in newspapers De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws) and extensively discussed in the Flemish Parliament. Eventually, the Flemish Government decided to undertake extra preventative actions to reduce contamination with cadmium in the region.
A high blood pressure (hypertension) is mostly noticed by few blood pressure measurements performed at the GP or a hospital. Yet, a recent study suggests that blood pressure can predict cardiovascular disease better when measured for a full day. In this study, 11,135 individuals, including 1,430 FLEMENGHO participants, were medically followed during 14 years. The average blood pressure obtained from multiple measurements during 24 hours predicted the risk for cardiovascular complications better than single measurements taken by a clinician. Likely, the more precise prediction originates from the larger number of measurements and the fact that they are recorded in people's everyday environment. Most insurers in Europe - also in Belgium - do not reimburse 24h blood pressure measurements. However, they could improve the diagnosis of hypertension and reduce hypertension-related complications in a cost-effective way.
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See also VRT NWS coverage, KU Leuven press release and American news websites such as CNET and TCTMD.
In this study , 54 protein fragments measured in urine were associated with risk factors of unhealthy aging, such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes. These findings may pave the way to clinical techniques that assess a person's biological age from a urine sample. Such applications may contribute to better healthcare, shifting the focus from disease treatment to disease prevention.
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Optimal blood pressure control halves the risk for heart disease (De Morgen)
Salt is not necessarily bad for your heart (VRT NWS, Radio 1, Reuters Health, JAMA Network)