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More Middle-Aged, Older Women Getting  'Broken Heart' Syndrome

MONDAY, Oct. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans diagnosed with "broken heart" syndrome has steadily risen in the past 15 years — with the vast majority being women, a new study finds.

The condition, which doctors call stress cardiomyopathy, appears similar to a heart attack — with symptoms such as chest pain and breathlessness. But its cause is ent...

AHA News: Your Next Doctor's Prescription Might Be to Spend Time in Nature

Dr. Robert Zarr loves to write prescriptions that you don't have to take to the pharmacy.

Instead, he sends patients outside to soak in the healing powers of nature, combining the benefits of exercise with the therapeutic effects of fresh air and green space.

"Going back millions of years, we've evolved outdoors," said Zarr, a pediatrician who recently relocated to Ottawa, Canada, f...

Pregnancy, Delivery Safe for Women Born With Heart Defects

Women who were born with heart defects may get some reassurance from a new study that finds they face no heightened risk to health during a pregnancy and delivery.

According to the researchers, doctors may often advise these women against getting pregnant due to the potential risks for them and their babies, but until now those risks have been unclear.

"The most important finding fr...

AHA News: Cyclist Mandy Marquardt Doesn't Let Diabetes Slow Her Down

Mandy Marquardt spends her days training and racing furiously around a velodrome. She's a track sprint cyclist, and by age 16, she already was winning medals in junior events when a routine checkup revealed high blood glucose.

Follow-up tests discovered Type 1 diabetes. The diagnosis prompted her doctor to proclaim her cycling future would center on fun and exercise rather than grueling t...

AHA News: New York City Attorney Was the Picture of Good Health, Until His Doctor Detected a Heart Murmur

A lifelong athlete who rowed for Brown University and enjoyed the occasional cycling road race, New York City attorney Lowell Chase thought of himself as nearly invincible.

So when a routine physical in his late 20s revealed a heart murmur, he wasn't overly concerned. "I sort of took it in stride, but he said I should probably have it checked out, because it could be something," Chase sai...

Another Study Suggests Too Much Fish Oil Could Trigger A-Fib

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A new study confirms that fish oil supplements may raise the risk of a common heart-rhythm disorder -- particularly when doses top 1 gram per day.

At issue are medications and supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally found in fish oil.

Fish is considered a generally heart-healthy food, but some st...

FDA Reduces Recommended Salt Levels in Americans' Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it is lowering the recommended levels of sodium in processed, packaged and prepared foods.

The goal of the new, voluntary guideline is to help reduce Americans' average sodium intake from 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day — roughly a 12% reduction — over the next 2.5 years.

"It's really a pivotal day for the...

AHA News: The Differences and Similarities Between the Flu and COVID-19

The viruses that cause the flu and COVID-19 are not the same, and the diseases are different, too. But they have a lot in common, including the ways you can protect yourself.

You can imagine the viruses as different kinds of dangerous animals – but "both can bite you," said Dr. Priya Sampathkumar, head of the infection control program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Mo...

AHA News: Broken Heart Syndrome Is on the Rise, Especially Among Older Women

Broken heart syndrome, a life-threatening condition whose symptoms mimic a heart attack, is on the upswing, according to new research that shows the sharpest increases among women 50 and older.

Published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study examined 135,463 cases of broken heart syndrome in U.S. hospitals from 2006 to 2017. It found a steady annual increas...

AHA News: A Guide For What Doctors and Parents Can Do As Kawasaki Disease Kids Grow Up

A medical school lecture taught Dr. Samuel Kung a vital lesson: He needed to see a cardiologist.

As a toddler, Kung had Kawasaki disease, an illness of unknown cause that tends to strike young children. He doesn't remember being sick, just the years of follow-up that stretched into his teen years.

And the handoff from his pediatric doctors to adult experts was virtually non-existent...

AHA News: Are Monolingual Spanish Speakers More at Risk in the Pandemic?

The pandemic has highlighted societal inequities that leave historically disenfranchised communities more at risk for COVID-19 exposure. But recent studies suggest the disparities more severely impact Hispanic people who only speak Spanish, especially when it comes to unemployment and food insecurity.

"This is about structural racism and structural inequities," said Dr. Fatima Rodriguez, ...

AHA News: Fasting During Ramadan May Lower Blood Pressure -- At Least Temporarily

Every year, on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, hundreds of millions of Muslims celebrate the month of Ramadan by, in part, fasting daily from sunrise to sunset. Now, new research shows it might help lower blood pressure -- at least temporarily.

The study, published Friday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, adds to the recent body of research suggesting health benef...

AHA News: Pioneering Hispanic Health Study Keeps Uncovering Trove of Info

At first, there was skepticism about what would become the most extensive study of Hispanic and Latino health in the United States.

But 15 years and nearly 400 scientific papers later, the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is still producing valuable information.

It's become a trove of long-term information that's as hard to gather as it is important, said Dr. Gregory...

Air and Noise Pollution May Make You Vulnerable to Heart Failure

Years of exposure to air pollution and traffic noise could make you more vulnerable to heart failure, a new study warns.

"We found that long-term exposure to specific air pollutants and road traffic noise increased the risk of incident heart failure, especially for former smokers or people with hypertension, so preventive and educational measures are necessary," said lead study author You...

AHA News: A 3-year-old girl with Down syndrome is already a model and ambassador of the heart

Heart surgery can be tough. It can be stressful. And while it can lead families on a path they might not have chosen, sometimes that path guides them smack dab into a purpose.

That's what happened to Ariel Hernandez and her family.

When she was barely 2 years old, Ariel had a lifesaving operation. It was a groundbreaking procedure that her heart surgeons learned in Brazil, and news ...

Could Too Little Iron Boost Your Risk for Heart Disease?

Iron is vital to health, and too little in your diet might lead to heart disease, European researchers report.

They said about 1 in 10 new cases of heart disease in middle-aged people might be prevented if they had sufficient levels of iron in their diets.

"Our findings are based on an observational study and can therefore only report on associations, not on causality," said lead re...

AHA News: Another Barrier for Black and Hispanic People: Good Mental Health Care

Living with a mental health disorder isn't easy. It can carry the weight of stigma, making you feel different. For people who face racial and ethnic discrimination, experts say the added "otherness" of mental illnesses may prove one hurdle too many in reaching the help they need.

"They might not want to share that they are having a problem with members of their family or community, for fe...

Black Americans Still at Higher Risk for Heart Trouble

Black Americans have been persistently hard-hit with heart disease risk factors for the past 20 years — and social issues like unemployment and low income account for a good deal of it, a new study finds.

Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the No. 1 killer of Americans, and it's well-known that it exacts a disproportionate toll on Black Americans.

...

AHA News: Her Heart Stopped While Training for the 2011 Chicago Marathon. She's Running It This Weekend.

Marla Sewall does it for the endorphins. "It makes me feel good," said the 52-year-old whose jogs help her maintain her physical and mental health.

In addition to her regular outings near her home in the Dallas enclave of Highland Park, she's completed 13 marathons.

Training for one can be nearly as rigorous as the big day. That was the case during the final weeks before the Chicago...

AHA News: How You Feel About Your Place on the Social Ladder Can Affect Your Health

How do you feel about yourself and your place in society? The answer could affect not just your state of mind, but your actual health.

"When you ask people to make a social comparison of where they stand in society, we find a significant effect on physical health outcomes," said Jenny Cundiff, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Alabama who studies the subject. "It's no...

AHA News: More Than a Decade of Intermittent Symptoms, Then Heart Failure

As TV reporter Mike Lowe ran the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon in August, he heard shouts of, "Do it for Erin!"

Lowe was running in honor of his colleague, Erin Ivory, who used to compete in several triathlons and half Ironman events each year. Two years earlier, she guided him through his first triathlon.

These days, she's limited to 15-minute walks.

Ivory, a longtime reporter f...

AHA News: Severe Mental Health Disorders May Increase Risk of Death in Men With Heart Failure

Men with heart failure have worse long-term survival rates if they have severe depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, according to a new study that urges doctors to change the way they treat people with mental disorders.

Previous research shows people with these conditions have an earlier onset of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attack. But little was known about how heart...

Obese? Lose Lots of Weight, Watch Your Heart Risks Drop

It's no secret that excess weight is bad for the heart. But a new study suggests that obese people who lose a substantial amount of weight may reverse the related cardiovascular risks.

Researchers found the odds for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol were similar in formerly obese Americans who were now at a healthy weight and people who had always had a healthy weight.

D...

AHA News: What Heart and Stroke Patients Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

For people with heart disease and stroke, COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the life-threatening disease caused by the coronavirus, and a booster dose could bolster that protection, health experts said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which sets policy on vaccine use, recommended Pfizer booster vaccines for several groups last week. People 65 and older; residents ...

AHA News: Her Husband Died of a Heart Attack, But This Former Nurse Didn't Recognize Her Own

Last October, Katherine Romano was cleaning her house when her neck started to hurt. She kept going, trying to complete her chores, until the pain shifted to her upper back.

"It was so terrible, it took my breath away," she said.

Resting didn't help. The pain moved to her left arm. She began to feel nauseated. The day before, her stomach hurt. She thought it might be diverticulitis....

AHA News: What Doctors Say About Pregnancy, Vaccines and COVID-19

COVID-19 can be bad for anyone. For pregnant women, scientific research shows it can be worse: The disease significantly raises their odds of needing ICU care, giving birth prematurely and of dying.

Vaccines offer protection. But despite reassurances and encouragement from a wide array of health groups, vaccination rates for pregnant women remain stubbornly low. According to the Centers f...

AHA News: How Black Women Can Take Control of Their Blood Pressure

Black women with high blood pressure may benefit from classes where they learn and practice skills to manage the condition, a small study finds.

In the United States, nearly 58% of Black women have high blood pressure compared to about 41% of white and Hispanic women, according to American Heart Association statistics. For Black women, death rates from high blood pressure-related causes a...

AHA News: Exercise May Reduce Sleep Apnea and Improve Brain Health

Exercise may help reduce symptoms of a common sleep disorder and improve brain function, a small study finds.

Exercise training could be a useful supplemental treatment for people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, the research showed. The condition is characterized by loud snoring and disrupted breathing and can raise the risk for heart disease, stroke and cognitive decline...

Better Diet, More Exercise Equals Better Blood Pressure

People with high blood pressure that doesn't respond to treatment may have more success by following the DASH diet and joining a supervised diet and exercise program, a new study suggests.

DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — a regimen rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and limited salt.

Duke University researchers found it can help people w...

Smartphone Apps May Aid in Heart Attack Recovery

After a heart attack, a smartwatch app may help keep patients from being hospitalized again, researchers say.

The app helps patients keep track of medications and make lifestyle changes. It may also reduce rehospitalization in the month after discharge by half, according to a new report.

The American Heart Association says one in six heart attack patients returns to the hospital w...

AHA News: Women May Be More Willing Than Men to Donate Organs

Men and women have similar reasons for becoming -- or not becoming -- an organ donor, according to a new study. Yet women appear more willing to donate their organs to family members or strangers.

The results, published Sept. 24 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, suggest improving communication among family members about organ donation wishes could help increase ...

AHA News: High School Football Player Tackles Stroke, Heart Condition

On a morning this past February, 16-year-old Carson Cathey got up, went downstairs and scarfed down a donut and glass of milk. His father, Patrick, also was awake, and they had a conversation before Carson decided to return to bed.

About two hours later, Patrick heard a thud. He found Carson -- a 6-foot-4, 282-pound defensive lineman at Oswego High School in Illinois -- lying on his bed...

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer May Have Long-Term Risk for the Heart

Younger women who undergo radiation for cancer in the left breast have a heightened risk of heart disease years later, a new study finds.

Among women who received radiation therapy for left-sided breast cancer, 10.5% developed coronary artery disease over the next 27 years, researchers found. That was close to double the rate among women who had radiation for tumors in the right breast.

AHA News: Food Insecurity's Long-Term Health Consequences

For some people, the subject of hunger conjures up tragic images of starving people with swollen bellies in blighted, desolate parts of the world.

In this country, the picture is different. Food insecurity affects millions of people in the United States whose suffering may not appear so grim on the outside, but whose mental and physical health are still threatened by hunger and poor nutri...

Migraines and More Severe Hot Flashes Could Be Linked

Women with a history of migraine headaches may suffer severe hot flashes during menopause, and this combo may boost their risk for heart disease, researchers say.

Migraine doesn't cause more or worse hot flashes — or vice versa. But both are believed to be related to changes in blood vessels known as neurovascular dysregulation, according to Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of th...

4 Out of 10 Adults With No Known Heart Disease Have Fatty Hearts: Study

Many middle-aged adults with apparently healthy hearts have a "silent" buildup of fatty deposits in their arteries, a large, new study shows.

Researchers found that of more than 25,000 50- to 64-year-olds, about 42% had signs of atherosclerosis — a buildup of "plaques" in the arteries that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

That was despite the fact that none had any history of...

AHA News: A Day Before His Cardiologist Appointment, 41-Year-Old Had a Stroke

Patrick Wright was back home after ringing in the new year with family and friends at his grandmother's house.

Around 2:30 a.m., he woke up to go to the bathroom. He noticed he had no feeling in his left hand but figured it was numb because he'd been sleeping on it.

He headed to the kitchen for a glass of water but was so thirsty that he bent down to drink directly out of the faucet...

AHA News: A Year of Committed Exercise in Middle Age Reversed Worrisome Heart Stiffness

A year of exercise training helped to preserve or increase the youthful elasticity of the heart muscle among people showing early signs of heart failure, a small study shows.

The new research, published Sept. 20 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, bolsters the idea that "exercise is medicine," an important shift in approach, the researchers wrote.

The stu...

AHA News: Clot-Removing Procedure Appears Safe for Pregnant Stroke Patients

Physically removing a blood clot in the brain is a safe and effective treatment for pregnant women having a stroke, a new study suggests.

Stroke during pregnancy remains rare, but the risk increases during pregnancy and for up to 12 weeks after giving birth, or postpartum.

The most common type is ischemic stroke, where a clot blocks blood flow in the brain. Mechanical thrombectomy ...

AHA News: Fitness Didn't Keep Him From Heart Problems or COVID-19, But It Did Help Him Recover

About a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, LeCount Holmes saw on television that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was within a mile of his house for a big announcement.

Because Prince George's County was one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, a former regional hospital was being reopened earlier than planned to provide treatment to another 135 patients.

Holmes hopped on his bike, ...

Drug Might Stop Heart Trouble Linked to Sickle Cell Anemia

Treating sickle cell anemia with the drug hydroxyurea may also reverse related heart abnormalities, a new study suggests.

Heart issues are common among people with sickle cell disease. Among them are enlargement of the heart and an impaired ability to relax heart muscles, a condition called diastolic dysfunction that can lead to heart disease and heart failure and death. Long-term treatme...

Common Eye Conditions Tied to Higher Risk for Dementia

Diseases that can rob you of vision as you age also appear to be tied to an increased risk for dementia, a new study finds.

Specifically, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes-related eye disease were linked with a higher likelihood of dementia, researchers in China said. However, one other common eye ailment, glaucoma, was not linked to dementia risk.

The new st...

AHA News: Physical Activity Is Helpful After a Stroke, But How Much Is Healthy?

Jeff Vallance jump-started every day with a 4-mile run. It woke him up and kept him feeling fit. As an expert in chronic disease management, he knew the importance of staying active.

He also knew the signs of a stroke. When his right foot started to go numb, scuffing the sidewalk and making him stumble on his daily jog, he grew concerned. Then his right arm started to tingle, followed by ...

AHA News: For Many Hispanic People, Vaccination Worries Are a Matter of Trust

From the start, Norma Cavazos was surrounded by friends and family who were vaccine skeptics: "No one was going to take it, including myself. That was something that we were all adamant about."

As a public health worker for the state of Texas, she was aware of the coronavirus long before people around her in Harlingen, a city about 14 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grand...

Stories Get Listeners' Hearts in Sync

The heart rates of people sync up when listening to a story, a new study finds.

"There's a lot of literature demonstrating that people synchronize their physiology with each other. But the premise is that somehow you're interacting and physically present [in] the same place," said co-author Lucas Parra, a professor of biomedical engineering at City College of New York.

"What we hav...

AHA News: Thanks to CPR and AEDs, Air Travelers Have Higher-Than-Average Survival Rates From Cardiac Arrest

It is estimated that thousands of air travelers around the world have a cardiac arrest each year, with nearly a quarter of those occurring on a plane, according to new research that points to the success of CPR and AEDs in keeping survival rates higher than the national average.

The new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, comes at the end of a summer...

AHA News: Since Her Stroke, Her Southern Drawl Turned Into a Foreign Accent

Most people Pamela Anderson Bowen meets wonder about her accent. Sometimes they try to guess the origin. Maybe Russia? What about Sweden?

"I'm from here," the North Carolina resident will answer. Then she waits for the inevitable follow-up question about where she grew up and developed the unusual lilt in her voice.

Pam has lived in North Carolina most of her life, except for a few ...

More Evidence That Stress Gets Blood Pressure Rising

MONDAY, Sept. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- If you often feel stressed out, your blood pressure may rise over time alongside higher odds for other heart concerns, a new study indicates.

Researchers found adults with normal blood pressure but high levels of stress hormones were more likely to develop high blood pressure in six to seven years than those with lower stress hormone levels.

...

AHA News: 12-Year-Old Calls 911 During Dad's Heart Attack

On a frigid morning this February, 44-year-old Renick Blosser set out on his typical Saturday routine. He grabbed a cup of coffee and took his dogs for a walk in the snow near his home in suburban Akron, Ohio.

By the time he returned, he knew something was wrong.

Suddenly, his chest tightened. He texted his wife, Megan, who was at work, that he didn't feel well. Maybe it's gas or an...

Time Is Brain: Mobile Stroke Units Reduce Disability, Study Finds

Every second counts after having a stroke, and rapid-response mobile stroke units can start clot-busting drugs quickly, potentially staving off lasting damage, new research finds.

Mobile stroke units are special ambulances equipped with imaging equipment and staffed by experts who can diagnose and treat strokes in the moments before arriving at the hospital. Typically, people who may have...

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