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Showing posts from July, 2017

How to Wreck Your Heart

FROM THE WEBMD ARCHIVES
When it comes to the heart’s health, there are some things you can’t control -- like getting older, or having a parent with heart disease. But there are many more things you can do to lower the chances of sabotaging your ticker.

“An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure in this instance,” says Gregg Fonarow, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman and associate chief of UCLA's division of cardiology.

To help your heart keep on keeping on, here are 10 things not to do.

1. Keep smoking.

A major cause of heart disease, smoking raises blood pressure, causes blood clots, and lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels. And it’s the number one preventable cause of premature death in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association.

Even though it may be one of the most difficult habits to quit, the rewards of stopping smoking are perhaps the greatest and most immediate.

When you toss the smokes, your heart risk goes down within just a few days of…

Exercise for Heart Attack Survivors

Having a heart attack is often a wake-up call to make over your habits, and even adopt new ones. The No. 1 habit you need to put on your to-do list: Exercise.

Your doctor has probably already mentioned it. And you know that exercise is good for your whole body and will make your heart (which is a muscle, after all) stronger.

There are other benefits, like lowering inflammation and helping your body better use insulin, which controls your blood sugar.

Having had a heart attack, you're going to need some help to get started. So your doctor will typically prescribe cardiac rehab.

What Is Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehab is an exercise program supervised by cardiologists, exercise physiologists, and nurses. It is customized to your particular health and fitness status and teaches you exactly what you need to do to work out safely.

Most cardiac rehab programs last about 3 months. You typically go three times a week for an hour.

People who finish cardiac rehab are 20% to 25% less likely to…

Alcohol and Heart Disease

Can you drink if you have heart disease? Moderate drinking should be OK, if your doctor approves, but you shouldn't count on alcohol to be a major part of your heart health plan.

"If you don’t drink alcohol now, there is no reason to start,” says Mark Urman, MD, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.

It's true that there have been studies linking drinking small amounts of alcohol -- no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women -- to better heart health.

But the exact link isn't clear. Those studies don't prove that the alcohol (whether it was wine, beer, or liquor) was the only thing that mattered.

Other lifestyle habits could have been involved, the American Heart Association notes. Or the important thing could have been nutrients that are in grapes, which you can get from the grapes themselves, without drinking wine.

“One drink a day is probably healthy for people with heart disease and those without it,” says Jame…

Scientists Explain Stress and Heart Attack Link

June 24, 2014 -- Scientists say they may be able to explain how ongoing stress raises the risk of having a heart attack.

They say stress triggers our bodies to make a surplus of disease-fighting white blood cells. That in turn can boost inflammation in the arteries of people with a condition called atherosclerosis, where the artery walls are thickened by a buildup of plaque.

Stress is a normal part of life, but if left unmanaged it can contribute to health problems including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats.

Inconclusive

Medical research has so far been inconclusive about how stress raises the risk of heart disease. For instance, stress itself might be responsible, or it could be that high levels of stress contribute to other risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Studies have also linked stress to changes in the way blood clots, which raises the risk of a heart attack.

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospita…

Is There Sex After Heart Disease?

You've been treated for heart disease. You've followed your doctor's orders to a T. Now she says you're ready to get back to normal life. But does that include sex?

You know that clich├ęd yet haunting scene. Someone's having a fine time in bed. Then he clutches his heart and slumps over -- and then it's, well, over. But here's the truth: You're more likely to have a heart attack while arguing with your mate than during sex, says Richard A. Stein, MD. He's a cardiologist at New York University School of Medicine in New York.

The media helps feed the idea that having sex after heart disease is risky. "The story goes back a long time," Stein says. "The mythology is that at the time of sex, the time of orgasm, you have enormous cardiovascular effort and you put yourself at sudden risk of heart attack."

But sex is really no harder on the body than climbing a few flights of stairs or briskly walking four or five blocks.In fact, lots of…

Heart Attacks in Middle-Aged Women: Lower Your Risk

“Heart attacks only happen to old guys.”

“They say 55 is the new 40.”

“Heart problems don’t run in my family, I don’t think.”

“I have too much going on to worry about that right now.”

Ever hear or tell yourself this? The truth is, women between the ages of 40 to 60 -- give or take some years -- can and do have heart attacks. Each year, about 88,000 of these middle-aged women in the U.S. will have one.

Doctors used to think that heart disease was linked to menopause, says Pamela Ouyang, MD, director of Johns Hopkins Women's Cardiovascular Health Center. But there’s no clear tie between the loss of estrogen and increased risk, Ouyang says. A woman actually has a greater chance of getting heart disease in her 60s and 70s.This means it’s prime-time to boost your health and lower your chances of problems at a young age. You can start right now with some simple changes.

Ditch the Guilt

Women who think they can do it all or die trying might do just that, says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO. She’…

Never Ignore These 11 Heart Symptoms

If something went wrong with your heart, would you know it?

Not all heart problems come with clear warning signs. There is not always an alarming chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor like you see in movies. Some heart symptoms don’t even happen in your chest, and it’s not always easy to tell what’s going on.

"If you're not sure, get it checked out," says Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.

That’s especially true if you are 60 or older, are overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, says Vincent Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman. "The more risk factors you have," he says, "the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related."

Especially watch out for these problems:

1. Chest Discomfort

It’s the most common sign of heart danger. If you have a blocked artery or are having a heart attack…

5 Heart Rate Myths Debunked

It's normal to wonder if your heart is ticking just right. Sometimes you may think it beats too slowly. Or you might worry it's racing too fast. The truth is, there's a lot you've heard about your pulse that's flat out wrong. It's time to set the record straight.

1. Myth: A normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute.

That's the old standard. Many doctors think it should be lower. About 50-70 beats per minute is ideal, says Suzanne Steinbaum, MD, director of women's heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Recent studies suggest a heart rate higher than 76 beats per minute when you're resting may be linked to a higher risk of heart attack.

The better shape you're in, the slower your heart rate will be when you're not moving around. "It might be OK to have a resting heart rate of 80, but it doesn't mean you're healthy," Steinbaum says.

2. Myth: An erratic heart rate means I'm having a heart attack.

When your heart beats in…

7 Tips for a Heart-Friendly Diet

At least three times a day, you do something that has the power to help protect your heart. You eat!

All those meals and snacks affect your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. And that impacts your heart.

So the next time you sit down to eat, use these seven smart tactics.

1. Make It Tasty

Surprise: Good-for-you foods can taste great! If you need to make big changes in how you eat for the sake of your heart’s health, take the time to explore your options. You might find dishes you didn’t know you would enjoy, or healthier ways to prepare your foods (like grilling instead of frying).

“When we like what we’re eating, the changes are more likely to last long-term,” says Lori Rosenthal, a dietitian at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center.

2. Serve Fruits and Vegetables First

These should be the building blocks of your diet. They should take up half your plate at each meal.

You’ll get nutrients that protect your heart.“They’re also a great source of vitamins and minerals like potassi…

Does Heart Disease Run in Your Family?

Ready to get started? Use this step-by-step plan.

1. Dig for Information

Just knowing that heart disease runs in your family isn't enough, because unfortunately, that’s pretty common.

Your doctor will want to know who in your family had heart disease, exactly what kind they had, and how old this person was at the time.Tell your doctor about any heart attacks and strokes, and about any heart-related procedures (such as getting stents or bypass surgery) that a relative might have had at a young age. Also tell your doctor if you have a family member with a heart murmur or heart rhythm problem like arrhythmia.

Your parents, brother, or sister matter most. Large studies show that if they had heart disease, that raises your own risk a lot, says Matthew Sorrentino, MD, a preventive cardiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine.

2. Tell Your Doctor

Let her know about your family’s medical background as soon as possible. She can refer you to a cardiologist for more help if needed.


Yo…

6 Symptoms of Women's Heart Attacks

When a heart attack strikes, it doesn’t always feel the same in women as it does in men.

Women don't always get the same classic heart attack symptoms as men, such as crushing chest pain that radiates down one arm. Those heart attack symptoms can certainly happen to women, but many experience vague or even “silent” symptoms that they may miss.

These six heart attack symptoms are common in women:


Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. It may feel like a squeezing or fullness, and the pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side. It's usually "truly uncomfortable" during a heart attack, says cardiologist Rita Redberg, MD, director of Women’s Cardiovascular Services at the University of California, San Francisco. "It feels like a vise being tightened."
Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. This type of pain is more common in women than in men. It m…

Top Healthy Habits for Your Heart

Jan. 8, 2015 -- You can dramatically lower or nearly wipe out your chances of a heart attack and heart disease by following healthy lifestyle habits.

Two recent studies show it’s true whether you're a man or a woman, and even if you already have risk factors like high cholesterol.

The healthy habits for guys and ladies aren’t quite the same (although they’re similar), and researchers didn't directly compare what works for men vs. women.

What Works for Women?

One of the new studies followed nearly 70,000 women for 20 years. The women reported on their habits, such as diet and exercise, and gave the researchers other health information every 2 years. At the start of the study, the women were an average age of 37 and none had diabetes or diseases of the heart or blood vessels.

Not only did the women who followed all six healthy habits nearly get rid of their heart attack risk -- cutting it by 92% -- they also lowered their odds of getting a risk factor, like high blood pressure,…

Why Eating Less Red Meat May Help Your Heart

Nov. 7, 2014 -- Saturated fat in red meat has long been linked to heart disease. But new research suggests it might not be the only culprit.

Bacteria in the intestines convert carnitine, a protein building block that's especially plentiful in beef, lamb, and venison, into compounds that speed up hardening and thickening of artery walls, according to a new study.

Generally, the redder the meat, the more carnitine it has. Although pork is considered a red meat, it doesn't have as much carnitine as beef, lamb and venison, and chicken and fish have even less.

Scientists behind the study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, say their work suggests new targets for drugs to prevent and treat heart disease. And, they say, it raises concerns about the safety of dietary supplements that contain carnitine and a related compound.

The name “carnitine” comes from the Latin word for “meat” or “flesh.” It’s not considered an essential nutrient in food, because “we make all the carnitin…

Can You Reverse Heart Disease?

Producing simple changes in what {you consume|you take in}, how often you exercise, how much you weigh, and how you manage stress can help put the brakes on {heart problems|cardiovascular disease}.

But can you actually reverse it, {not merely|not simply} slow it down?

{You are able to|You may} undo some, but {most likely not|not likely|not really} all, of the {harm|destruction}. {You will need to|You've got to|You need to} make big, {enduring|long lasting|sustained} becomes your lifestyle.

Certainly, You Can!

Dean Ornish, MD, founder and {chief executive|leader|director} of the Preventive {Medication|Treatments|Remedies} Research Institute, has written six best-selling books, including Dr. Dean Ornish's {System|Plan|Software} for Reversing {Heart problems|Cardiovascular disease}.

In his book The {Range|Variety|Array}, Ornish describes patients {waiting around|holding out|ready} to undergo {a center|a cardiovascular|a cardiovascular system} transplant -- those with the worst p…

Your Waistline and Heart Disease: What's the Link?

{Lose fat|Shed pounds|Shed extra pounds}. You hear this advice all the time. {Yet|Nevertheless|Although} did you know that where your body stores those extra pounds {issues|concerns|things} for your heart health, too?

"A thicker {waist|midsection|abs} increases heart attack risk, " says Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of the New York {University or college|College or university|School} Langone Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's {Wellness|Well being|Overall health}.

Stomach fat is {associated with|connected to|related to} high blood sugar, increased stress, and raised levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood. "All of these are major risk factors for heart disease, {inch|inches|very well} Goldberg says.

So what makes an expanding {waist|midsection|abs} a problem for your heart?

It's About {Area|Position|Site}

Belly fat, also called visceral fat, is {nearer|better|deeper} to internal organs, says Sonya Angelone, {an aerobic|a heart|a cardiovascular …

Spot Heart Attack, Stroke, and Angina Symptoms

{Rigidity|Firmness} in your chest, {difficulty breathing|a suffocating feeling}, feeling confused -- these could be warning {indicators|indications|symptoms} {of the|of any|of your} heart attack, {heart stroke|cva}, or angina.

"If {if you're|most likely|you aren't} experiencing symptoms that {you have|you might have|get} never had before, such as significant discomfort, then absolutely come into the emergency room and get it evaluated, " says Shikhar Saxena, MD, a cardiologist who teaches at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Sure, {no-one|no person} likes to go to the ER, says Rich A. Stein, MD, a cardiologist with New You are able to University Langone {Clinic|The hospital}. {Yet|Nevertheless|Although} he suggests you call 911 if you have chest pain that:

{Is usually|Is definitely|Can be} new
Happens repeatedly, but after you've used much less energy doing something active
Wakes you up at night
{How can you|How would you|How will you} know if your symp…

Should You Take Daily Aspirin for Your Heart?

You may know people who take a low dose of aspirin each day to lower their chance of having a heart attack. Before you try it, talk to your doctor. You'll need the go-ahead from someone who knows your medical history. You don't want the medicine to do more harm than good. “It's weighing the potential benefits against potential risk,” says Byron Cryer, MD, a spokesman for the American Gastroenterological Association. “Treatment of heart disease to prevent heart attacks, vs. the risk of having a gastrointestinal bleed, which is the greatest concern with aspirin.” Who Should Do It? You shouldn't need aspirin every day if you've never had a heart attackand your risk of having one in the next 10 years is low. Your doctor might suggest it if you've had a heart attack or if you have a 10% or higher chance of having one, Cryer says. One out of every three Americans aged 40 and older take it daily to protect their tickers. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recomm…