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AHA News: Want Your Cat to Stay in Purrrfect Health? Watch Out for Heart Disease

As evidenced by the countless adoring posts, cute videos and laugh-out-loud memes on social media, people love their furry feline friends. But keeping cats happy and healthy isn't always easy.

Indeed, cats suffer many of the same health problems humans do, including heart disease.

"We can roughly break down cat heart diseases into birth defects and acquired heart defects t...

AHA News: High-Speed Internet Offers Key Connection to Health, But Millions Lack It

If you live in the right neighborhood and can afford it, you might think of high-speed internet as a convenient way to connect to bingeworthy TV shows or the conference calls that let you work from home. You might take for granted that everyone has internet access.

But increasingly, it's a vital way to deliver health care that millions of people are missing out on.


Study Casts Doubt on Value of Cholesterol Drugs

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide take cholesterol-lowering drugs, like statins, but now a new review suggests that many folks don't benefit from these medications.

The researchers said the review of 35 randomized controlled trials failed to show a consistent benefit in lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke, or for preventing deaths.

"Normally, when you have a...

AHA News: 12-Year-Old Is on Pacemaker No. 3

Jennifer and Patrick Tallquist were resting peacefully with their 1-day-old daughter, Abrielle, when a nurse entered their hospital room to give the newborn a test.

The nurse hooked up 6-pound "Abbi" to a monitor that checked her heartbeat. Minutes later, the lab called the nurse.

"You can see that already?" she said into the phone.

She then scooped up Abbi and ...

AHA News: This 'Actions-Speak-Louder-Than-Words' Student Puts Public Policy Studies to Work

Alana Barr had just started college at Georgia Tech in Atlanta when health advocate Cornelia King came to her class.

"After she started talking about health care disparities among minorities in Atlanta and all the adverse outcomes, like diabetes and high cholesterol, I knew I wanted to do something about it," Barr said. "I already knew about food insecurity issues and trying to get p...

AHA News: What's It Like to Get a New Heart During the Pandemic? This Texas Pastor Can Tell You

On the Friday before Mother's Day, the Rev. Eddie Woods did his best to hide his discomfort.

Short of breath and lightheaded, he didn't want his wife, Julie, to notice. He hoped she'd be distracted by getting ready to host dinner for her parents, a gathering that would mark the first time they'd had guests over since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

But Julie knows Eddie too well. ...

AHA News: Are Virtual Doctor Visits Safe for Discharged Heart Failure Patients?

Follow-up visits for heart failure patients leaving the hospital can be done just as safely via telehealth as they can in person, according to a new study that also found making virtual visits an option doesn't prevent missed appointments.

"There are still a substantial number of people who don't show up," said Dr. W.H. Wilson Tang, research director for Heart Failure and Transplant at ...

America's Progress Against Early Cardiovascular Death Is Slowing

From the 1960s to the 2010s, the United States experienced a major reduction in heart disease-related deaths among younger adults -- often called premature cardiac death.

But that decline has slowed significantly since 2010, and the risk of premature cardiovascular death may depend on where you live, according to a study published July 29 in the Journal of the American Heart Associ...

AHA News: 5 Easy Ways to Keep Tabs on Heart Health

Tracking a few simple numbers can be a big help in keeping tabs on heart health.

But you need to pay attention to those numbers long before your doctor says they're an urgent concern, said Nicole Spartano, a research assistant professor in the department of endocrinology, diabetes, nutrition and weight management at Boston University School of Medicine.

She likened it to watchin...

AHA News: New Test May Predict Who Develops Certain Type of Heart Failure

People with higher levels of a specific inflammatory marker may have a greater risk of developing a form of heart failure, according to new research that could help predict who might develop the disease.

The biomarker, called GlycA, is an indicator of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is thought to play a pivotal role in heart failure, a chronic condition when the heart mus...

AHA News: Flu Shot May Help Protect Vulnerable Hospital Patients From Heart Attack, Mini-Stroke

Hospital patients at high risk for influenza had lower rates of death, heart attack, mini-stroke and cardiac arrest if they were vaccinated against flu during their hospital stay, a new study has found.

The study focused on certain groups at high risk for flu and its complications: those 50 and older, nursing homes residents, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and people with a chronic me...

AHA News: Controlling Diabetes Takes on Greater Urgency During COVID-19 Pandemic

Uncontrolled blood sugar is dangerous at any time. But with mounting evidence showing that COVID-19 places people with diabetes at higher risk for severe illness, the need to keep diabetes well-managed has become more important than ever.

"Diabetes is itself a risk factor for a more severe case of COVID-19," said Dr. Prakash Deedwania, professor of medicine at the University of Californ...

AHA News: Three Generations of Women Had Heart Attacks – Then She Became the Fourth

In Hubbard, Ohio, a truck-stop town off Interstate 80, Kendel Christoff had her pick of fast food. One day for lunch, she downed a double cheeseburger with a side of nuggets. The next, it was a roast beef and cheddar sandwich with potato cakes.

At 5 feet and 220 pounds, Christoff knew she had to lose weight, especially since a poor diet contributed to her great-grandmother, grandmother ...

AHA News: Enjoy a Nap, But Know the Pros and Cons

You could read this story now. Or you could take a nap first, and perhaps tackle it feeling more alert and refreshed.

Health-wise, is that a good idea?

Under the right conditions, for the right reasons, probably – if you're awake to the possible pitfalls.

"A power nap, between 15 and 45 minutes, can improve memory and reduce fatigue for the rest of the day," said D...

AHA News: This 'Citizen of the World' Empowers Herself, Then Her Community

As early as middle school, Noun Abdelaziz began helping other people in her San Diego community.

At 13, she signed up to volunteer at Nile Sisters Development Initiative, a nonprofit organization with the mission of empowering refugee women. Among her duties was serving as an English-Arabic translator.

It was a job Abdelaziz already had been doing at home.

A refugee from...

Lupus Drug Prevents Low Heartbeat in High-Risk Newborns: Study

A drug used to treat lupus and malaria -- hydroxychloroquine -- reduced by half the risk of a potentially fatal heart condition in newborns who were at high risk for it.

The condition -- known as congenital heart block (CHB) -- results in a dangerously low heart rate.

"Our study shows hydroxychloroquine as the first, safe, and highly effective drug for preventing pregnant wom...

Will CPR Save Your Life? Study Offers a Surprising Answer

The success of CPR is vastly overrated by patients, a new study suggests.

Not only does the general public consider CPR more effective than it really is, they tend to discount the negative effect it can have, the researchers said.

Doctors should discuss CPR's success rate, benefits and risks with patients and their loved ones, the study authors suggested. CPR is an emergen...

Under 50 and Had a Heart Attack? Quit Smoking, and You'll Live Longer

If you're a smoker under 50 and you suffer a heart attack, new research suggests kicking the habit may be the best thing you can do to still be around years later.

"These results are definitive: among young people who have had a heart attack, quitting smoking is associated with a substantial benefit," said corresponding author Dr. Ron Blankstein, from the division of cardiovascular me...

Fewer Recurrent Strokes Now in Mexican Americans

The rate of second strokes among Mexican Americans has declined steeply since the turn of the century, a new study finds.

Between 2000 and 2013, the rate of recurrent stroke fell faster in Mexican Americans than in white people. By 2013, there was no difference between the two groups.

"Throughout this long-term study, this is the first time that we have encountered an improv...

AHA News: Can a Pay Cut Hurt Your Health?

COVID-19 poses plenty of direct threats to Americans' health. But with economic hardships mounting, the coronavirus also might be posing an indirect threat – through shrinking paychecks.

Recent research has linked sharp changes in income with subsequent health problems. A 2019 study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, for example, found the risk of hav...

Obesity in Childhood Quickly Harms Heart Health

In a finding that suggests the seeds for heart disease are sown early in life, researchers report they found evidence of stiff, thickened arteries in children who had been obese as toddlers.

"Public health efforts are needed in the very early years to prevent problems with obesity and being overweight, to avoid the risk of adolescent and adult cardiovascular disease," said study auth...

AHA News: After 3 Heart Attacks, Meteorologist Hopes for Clear Skies Ahead

Meteorologist Mark Larson was preparing for his noon television show in Wichita, Kansas, when he started to feel foggy and fatigued. Out of nowhere, sharp pain stabbed the inside of his left elbow.

He knew he was in no shape to appear on air and went to tell the news director, who immediately noticed Larson's pasty skin and pained expression.

"Sit down and put your feet up," the...

AHA News: As Pandemic Disrupts Research, Scientists Look for New Ways Forward

Amid the coronavirus crisis, closed classrooms are the most visible blow universities have taken to their core mission to acquire and share knowledge. But interruptions in clinical trials and lab research also are hampering that mission, administrators say.

As authorities issued shut-down orders and "safe-at-home" guidance in the spring, universities limited their on-campus research. Ex...

AHA News: For 'This Is Us' Actor, Stroke Survivor Is More Than a Role – It's Reality

For actor Timothy Omundson, art imitates life.

After suffering a stroke that almost killed him, he was hired to play Gregory, a character on NBC's comedy-drama "This Is Us" who is recovering from a major stroke.

Just as Gregory was learning to walk again, so was Omundson.

"It was a huge milestone for me," he said. "On the way to filming, my wife pulled the car over and s...

Antiviral Drugs Tied to Heart Issue in COVID-19 Patients

Older, critically ill COVID-19 patients who are given a combination of two common antiretroviral drugs can experience a drastic slowing of their heart rate, French researchers report.

In their study of 41 patients treated with lopinavir and ritonavir twice daily for 10 days, 22% developed a slow heart rate condition called bradycardia. When the drugs were stopped or doses lowered,...

'Broken Heart Syndrome' Has Risen During Pandemic: Study

Doctors at one Ohio hospital system have discovered yet another possible consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic: More cases of "broken heart syndrome."

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 different: Experts believe it reflects a temporary weakness in the hear...

AHA News: Why Stay in Touch While Keeping Distant? It's Only Human

If you've been keeping a healthy distance from other people because of COVID-19, you probably feel smart. But if you're also feeling lonely and stressed, it doesn't mean anything is wrong. It could simply mean you're human.

The need to be around people is hard-wired into our brains, researchers say. We crave company in the same way we hunger for food or thirst for water. When that cravi...

75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart

Older adults with healthy hearts probably would benefit from taking a cholesterol-lowering statin, a new study contends.

People 75 and older who were free of heart disease and prescribed a statin wound up with a 25% lower risk of death from any cause and a 20% lower risk of heart-related death, researchers reported July 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association...

AHA News: Nurse Misreads Symptoms of Her Own Heart Attack

At her new job as a nurse at a college in St. Louis, Roslyn Harvey spent most of her day sitting at a desk. So, when she felt breathless walking across campus or climbing stairs, she figured she was out of shape.

To get fit, she started walking 15-20 minutes on a treadmill before work. Then one evening, Roslyn came home from work so exhausted she dozed off while sitting at her kitchen t...

As REM Sleep Declines, Life Span Suffers

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Deep sleep is essential for good health, and too little of it may shorten your life, a new study suggests.

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is when dreams occur and the body repairs itself from the ravages of the day. For every 5% reduction in REM sleep, mortality rates increase 13% to 17% among older and middle-aged adults, resear...

Black Patients Fare Worse After Angioplasty

Even after undergoing the artery-clearing procedure angioplasty, Black patients with heart disease are more likely than whites to suffer a heart attack or die within the next several years.

That's the conclusion of a new analysis of 10 clinical trials: On balance, both Black and Hispanic patients fared worse after angioplasty, versus white patients. And that was particularly true for ...

Numbers of Non-COVID-19 Deaths Up During Pandemic

Nearly one-third of excess deaths in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States were linked to causes other than COVID-19, but that doesn't mean that the virus didn't play a role in those deaths, a new study claims.

The researchers found there were just over 87,000 excess deaths in the United States between March 1 and April 25. Excess deaths are those above the...

Excess Sugar Is No Sweet Deal for Your Heart

Too much added sugar can pile on dangerous fat around your heart and in your abdomen, a new study finds.

"When we consume too much sugar, the excess is converted to fat and stored," said researcher So Yun Yi, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health.

"This fat tissue located around the heart and in the abdomen releases chemicals into the bod...

Wildfire Smoke Causes Rapid Damage to Your Health: Study

Wildfire smoke has an almost immediate harmful effect on the heart and lungs, researchers say.

Using data from wildfire seasons between 2010 and 2015 in British Columbia, Canada, the researchers linked exposure to elevated levels of fine particles in smoke with ambulance dispatches for heart and lung conditions. Dispatches rose within an hour of exposure to wildfire smoke, the investi...

Even Small Reductions in Air Pollution Help The Heart

Long-term exposure to fine particle air pollution is a major risk factor for heart disease and death, but even small reductions in pollution levels can reduce the threat, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 157,000 adults, aged 35 to 70, in 21 countries.

Between 2003 and 2018, more than 9,100 people had heart disease events, including more than 4,000 ...

Preterm Birth Ups Mom's Long-Term Heart Disease Risk: Study

Over a lifetime, women who've had a preterm delivery have a higher risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

The findings point to the fact that doctors should include a woman's reproductive history in assessments of heart disease risk, according to the researchers.

"Preterm delivery should now be recognized as an independent risk factor for IHD [ischemic heart disease] ...

There's No Healthy Alternative to Smoking Except Quitting: Study

Smoking is terrible for your heart and lungs, and simply switching to e-cigarettes won't do much good, a major new analysis finds.

That's especially true now amid the COVID-19 pandemic, experts added.

The only truly healthy way out for nicotine addicts is quitting, said a team led by Thomas Münzel, a cardiologist at University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany. His team...

AHA News: Appalachia Volunteers Make Homes Safe, Affordable – and Healthy

Replacing air filters, installing smoke detectors, weatherizing windows, repairing rotting floors. It's maintenance that can make a house healthier and safer and reduce utility costs.

Volunteers with the Hinton Rural Life Center in North Carolina are tackling these household tasks to help fellow residents in rural Appalachia who don't have the financial means or physical ability to keep...

AHA News: COVID-19 Highlights Long-Term Inequities in Some Communities

Just as the coronavirus pandemic strains states and the nation, it also has stressed the resources of neighborhoods and individuals.

And those with fewer resources to spare are clearly faring worse.

An analysis from the newspaper USA Today found that among the nation's poorest neighborhoods, where median household income is less than $35,000, COVID-19 infection was twice as comm...

AHA News: How to Stay Safe, Healthy and Cool This Summer Despite COVID-19 Threat

With the arrival of warm weather, and as states begin to loosen months of lockdown restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic, it's only natural that people are itching to get outside.

But what summer activities are safe during a pandemic? And with many air-conditioned movie theaters, libraries, restaurants and malls closed or limiting the number of visitors, where can people go to cool...

More Young Americans Developing Unhealthy Predictors of Heart Disease

A new study finds that 1 in 5 people under age 40 now have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that together increase the odds for many serious conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The rate of metabolic syndrome is rising in all age groups -- as many as half of adults over 60 have it. But among 20- to 39-year-olds, the rate rose 5 percentage points over f...

AHA News: Heart Condition Made Her Feel 'Like a Ticking Time Bomb'

Heather Lister was 28 when her cardiologist said, "If you're planning to have children, you shouldn't wait long."

The problem was her heart. Instead of being born with three leaflets on her aortic valve, she only had two. The older you are during pregnancy and childbirth, the greater the strain on the heart, he told her.

This was the first time she'd heard that diagnosis. But sh...

Heart Surgery Leads to Long-Term Opioid Use for Some

About one in 10 heart surgery patients who is prescribed an opioid painkiller after the procedure still uses the drugs more than 90 days later, a new study finds.

And those prescribed the highest doses are most likely to be long-term users of opioids, researchers say.

"Our findings support a much-needed shift toward decreasing opioid dosages at discharge and using alternativ...

Researchers Latch Onto the Leech's Genome

A mainstay of 18th-century medicine -- the lowly leech -- has made something of a comeback in the 21st century. That's largely due to powerful blood thinners the parasitic worm secretes naturally.

Now, genetic research could give a major boost to the medical use of leeches, scientists say.

An international team sequenced the genome of a European leech called Hirudo medici...

Woman With COVID-19 Develops Serious Heart Ailment After Taking Chloroquine

One of the drugs championed by President Donald Trump as a potential "game changer" in the coronavirus pandemic led to a potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder in a 84-year-old woman treated for COVID-19, according to a new report.

Doctors said her condition improved once they discontinued the drug, chloroquine.

Chloroquine and the related drug hydroxychloroquine are comm...

Cancer Patients Less Likely to Be Prescribed Heart Meds: Study

Heart disease is on the rise among cancer patients and survivors, but they're less likely than people without cancer to be prescribed medicines to protect their heart, a new study finds.

Heart disease has become a leading cause of long-term preventable death in cancer survivors, according to the study published June 16 as a research letter in the journal JACC: CardioOncology.<...

AHA News: Blood Test That Measures Alcohol Use May Predict Risk for Bleeding Strokes

People who drink large amounts of alcohol have nearly fivefold odds of experiencing a potentially deadly type of stroke compared with those who drink very little or not at all, a new study finds.

But researchers didn't rely on people to self-report how much alcohol they consumed. Rather, they looked at blood concentrations of phosphatidylethanol (PEth), a biomarker reflecting alcohol co...

1 in 5 Worldwide Has Health Issue That Could Mean Worse COVID-19

About 1 in 5 people worldwide has a least one underlying health condition that puts them at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness, researchers say.

While the analysis of data from 188 countries suggests that 22% of the world's population, or 1.7 billion people, might need additional protective measures, not all people with underlying conditions will develop severe COVID-19 ill...

Healthier Meals Could Mean Fewer Strokes, Heart Attacks

Sticking with a healthy diet can lower your risk for stroke and heart attack, a new study suggests.

"Although each healthy eating pattern represents a different combination of dietary constituents, our study indicates that greater adherence to any of the four healthy eating patterns we looked at is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and the health benefits persist...

AHA News: Brother's Death From Heart Failure Inspires His Own Fight for Health

Yonas Michael didn't know what to think when his younger brother, Daniel, kept saying he felt "funny."

"It's like I can really feel my heartbeat," Daniel told him.

The brothers didn't think much of it at first. Yonas was studying for a master's degree in education at Iowa State University and Daniel had joined him from their childhood home in Maryland.

"He was t...

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