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Only 1 in 4 Older Cardiac Patients Get Rehab Therapy

Cardiac rehabilitation is known to help people recover after a heart attack or heart surgery, but a new study shows only one-quarter of eligible Medicare patients actually use it.

Which patients are most likely to pass on rehab? Women, those aged 85 and older, blacks, Hispanics and those who live in the Southeast and Appalachia, researchers found.

It gets worse: Of those who...

Blacks, Hispanics More Likely to Have Better Outcome After 'Bleeding' Stroke

After a hemorrhagic stroke, often called a "bleeding" stroke, young black and Hispanic people are less likely than white people to be disabled or die within the following three months, a new study finds.

Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain. This type of stroke is less common than ones caused by blood clots, but harder to treat and mor...

Don't Want a 2nd Heart Attack? Lose the Belly Fat

For heart attack survivors, a fat belly could mean another one is likely, a new study suggests.

Earlier studies have shown that abdominal obesity puts people at risk for their first heart attack. This new study shows it also ups the odds for a second one, researchers say.

"Abdominal obesity not only increases your risk for a first heart attack or stroke, but also the risk ...

Millions of Americans With Heart Disease Use Pot, Bringing Potential Harm

Over 2 million Americans with heart disease have used marijuana, despite evidence that it might be harmful to them, a new research review finds.

The report, published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, comes at a time when many states are legalizing medicinal or recreational marijuana use. And, some studies suggest, a growing number of Am...

Do You Take Warfarin?  Time of Day Might Not Matter

Patients taking the blood thinner warfarin have been told that it should be taken at night, but a new study found the time of day doesn't matter.

"Whether warfarin is taken in the morning, or the evening, its therapeutic effect is the same," said lead researcher Dr. Scott Garrison, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

...

AHA News: Baby Survived 27 Minutes Without a Heartbeat

Britt Spivey knew something was wrong when his pregnant wife showed up at his work following what was supposed to be a routine doctor visit. Autumn started to cry and told him their unborn child had a heart defect. They needed to go to Texas Children's Hospital in nearby Houston.

There, a more detailed scan showed the gravity of the situation.

Normally, a heart has two col...

Women's Blood Pressure Rises Earlier, Faster Than Men's

Popular media often portrays heart disease as a man's problem, but new research suggests that women's blood vessels actually age faster than men's do.

The new study found that blood pressure started increasing in women as early as the third decade of life, and it continued to rise higher than blood pressure in men throughout the life span.

The researchers said that this...

AHA News: Researchers Listen to Rural Kentuckians – Then Score a Win for Heart Health

Researchers who went into one of the nation's poorest regions to educate people about their health ended up getting a few lessons themselves – and together, they made some striking improvements.

The effort targeted Appalachian Kentucky, an area in the eastern part of the state that's near the bottom in economic measures but in the top 1% for cardiovascular disease. Social c...

Heart Transplants From Donors With Hepatitis C May Be Safe: Study

One-year survival rates are similar for transplant patients who receive a heart from a donor with hepatitis C or one without the infectious virus, a new study finds.

The researchers suggest that using hearts from donors with hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver, may be safe and could help reduce a U.S. organ shortage.

The study included nearly 7,900 adults with heart ...

Low Levels of Key Blood Cells Could Signal Higher Death Risk

A condition called lymphopenia -- low levels of lymphocyte blood cells -- could be an early warning for illness, a new study suggests.

Danish researchers linked the condition to a 60% increased risk of death from any cause during the study period.

A low lymphocyte count was also associated with a 1.5- to 2.8-fold increased risk of death from cancer, heart disease, respir...

Heart Disease May Up Risk of Kidney Failure

Heart disease may increase your odds for kidney failure, a new study finds.

"Individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease should be recognized as a high-risk population for kidney failure," said study leader Dr. Junichi Ishigami, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

"Physicians should be aware of cardiovascular disease as an important ris...

AHA News: After Stroke, an 'Astounding' Risk of Heart Problems

Women and men have a much higher risk of dangerous heart problems soon after their first stroke compared to people without stroke, even if they don't have obvious underlying heart disease, a study has found.

Researchers investigated data on more than 93,000 people age 66 or older in Ontario, Canada. The group included more than 12,000 women and 9,500 men who had an ischemic stroke, t...

Green Tea Drinkers May Live Longer

People who love their green tea may also enjoy longer, healthier lives, a large new study suggests.

Researchers found that of more than 100,000 Chinese adults they tracked, those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke over the next seven years.

Tea lovers also had a slightly longer life expectancy. At age 50, they ...

New Heart Attack Treatment Shows Promise in Pig Study

A new compound might help stem the damage of a heart attack, research in animals suggests.

Giving recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-AB (rhPDGF-AB) to pigs lessened the effect of heart scarring, helped form new blood vessels and reduced the rates of heart arrhythmias, heart failure and sudden cardiac death, researchers found.

"This is an entirely new approach,...

AHA News: She Turns Dirt Bikers Into Science Stars

For Brittany Young, dirt bike culture was simply a way of life when she was a young girl growing up in West Baltimore.

"Most everyone I knew rode," Young said.

Dozens of riders, mostly black, would zoom through the city streets to Druid Hill Park, popping wheelies and performing other tricks to the delight of their audience. (Dirt bikes are motorcycles designed for rough t...

Want to Turn Back the Aging Clock? Train for a Marathon

Your New Year's resolution to run a marathon for the first time could be your ticket to a younger and healthier heart, a new study suggests.

First-time marathon runners experience health benefits that essentially turn back time on their circulatory system, researchers report.

"Training for a marathon -- even as a novice runner -- has significant benefits on the cardiovascula...

AHA News: Statins May Do Double Duty on Heart Disease and Cancer

About 40 million adults in the U.S. take a statin to lower their cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart disease. They might also be getting an added anti-cancer benefit, a growing body of evidence suggests.

Scientists first began investigating a connection between statins and cancer while looking at the drug's potential long-term side effects. Early animal studies that showed stat...

One Way to Help Ease A-Fib: Give Up Drinking

If you have atrial fibrillation (a-fib) -- a potentially dangerous irregular heart rhythm -- giving up alcohol could ease your symptoms.

That's what happened when researchers asked people with a-fib who normally have roughly two drinks a day to stop drinking. When they compared the teetotalers to a similar group of people with a-fib who continued drinking, the investigators found that...

AHA News: Bystander CPR Less Common in Hispanic Neighborhoods

Receiving CPR from a bystander can double the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. But you're less likely to get this help – and less likely to survive – if your heart stops in a Hispanic neighborhood, a new study shows.

The study published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found the greater the percentage of Hispanic residents in a nei...

Insecticides Tied to Heart Disease Deaths

People with high levels of a common insecticide in their system are far more vulnerable to heart disease, a new study suggests.

According to Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, and colleagues, people who have been exposed to pyrethroid insecticides are three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those wit...

Do Your Heart a Favor: Bike, Walk to Work

Leave your car in the garage if you can: A new study suggests that walking or biking to work could cut your risk of a heart attack.

The researchers analyzed 2011 data from 43 million working adults in England and found that 11.4% were active commuters, with 8.6% walking to work and 2.8% cycling to work.

In areas where walking or cyclin...

How You Can Be Overfat Without Being Overweight

You know that you need to watch your weight to lower your risk for heart disease, but that is far from the whole story.

It is possible to be overfat without being overweight, meaning that you're storing fat within your body even though the scale says you're at a normal weight. And that distinction is key when it comes to heart health.

For decades, doctors have measured a pa...

Heart Tissue May Be Harmed by Heavy Drinking: Study

Heavy drinking may damage heart tissue, researchers warn.

Previous studies have shown that heavy drinking increases the risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and heart rhythm disorders, but there has been little study into why it poses such a risk to heart health.

In this study, researchers analyzed three blood indicators of heart damage in more th...

Prepared Bystanders Save Lives When Cardiac Arrest Strikes

Few Americans survive cardiac arrest when it happens outside a hospital, but if more people knew how to recognize it and do CPR the odds might be better, a new study finds.

Only about 8% of those who suffer a cardiac arrest -- a sudden stoppage of the heart -- survive. Simply knowing what to do and doing it can increase the chance of survival, researchers say.

Three st...

Pot Use Appears to Change Structure of Your Heart: Study

Regular pot use might potentially cause changes in the heart's structure, a new study suggests.

People who regularly use marijuana tend to have a larger left ventricle, which is the main pumping chamber of the heart, according to the findings.

Routine stoners also appeared to have early signs of impaired heart function, measured by how the fibers of the heart muscle deform d...

AHA News: Own a Nutcracker? Turn Pecans Into a Festive Treat

Want a holiday snack that's packed with nutrition? Pick up some pecans.

Nuts are considered heart-healthy. They're part of the blood pressure-lowering DASH diet and full of "good" fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, said Ginny Ives, a registered dietitian and director of nutrition at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas.

Pecans are a standout nut, though.

"They ...

AHA News: Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

Remembering to drink enough water is easy during the summer, when higher temperatures and outdoor activities drive the point home. But staying adequately hydrated is just as important during the winter.

Environmental humidity plays a role, said Stavros Kavouras, who directs the Hydration Science Lab at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Central heating causes drier interior environ...

Unhealthy Eating Habits Cost U.S. $50 Billion a Year: Study

Healthier eating could save the United States more than $50 billion a year in health care costs associated with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and related illnesses, according to a new study.

An unhealthy diet is one of the leading risk factors for poor health and accounts for up to 45% of all deaths from these cardiometabolic diseases, the researchers noted.

Bu...

Winter Baby? Summer Baby? Birth Season Might Affect Heart Health

Birthdays are a time of celebration. But, according to a new study, a spring or summer birth date could mean a higher risk of dying from heart disease.

The reasons aren't clear, but might include factors such as seasonal fluctuations in diet, air pollution levels, and the availability of sunlight before birth and in early life, the study authors said.

For the study, the rese...

Do You Know the 5 Symptoms of a Heart Attack? Many Don't

Time is of the essence when you're having a heart attack.

But one in five Americans can't name the three most common symptoms of a heart attack, making it more likely they won't promptly respond to the life-threatening health crisis, a new study reports.

"More than 20% were unaware of the common symptoms of a heart attack," said senior researcher Dr. Khurram Nasir, a pre...

AHA News: Sisters Bound By Deadly Family Legacy – and By Lifesaving Transplants

Jane Herndon and her family share an unusually close bond, forged through tragedy and triumphs. Their difficult journey began when Jane and her three sisters were in their teens and early 20s.

Their mother, Nancy, collapsed in 1981 at her daughters' school. Her heart had stopped, and she died a few hours later. She was only 41.

The pain of losing her endured for decades fo...

AHA News: How to Enjoy the Flavors of the Season Without Derailing Health

Staying healthy during the holidays doesn't mean you can't enjoy the parties and celebrations. Indulging a little won't hurt – if you plan ahead for meals that are healthy, too.

The key is to be prepared for the three-month period that begins with Halloween treats and winds up with New Year's festivities.

"We go from work, to the parties after work, to home, from Oct...

AHA News: How to Keep Year-End Deadlines From Ruining Your Health

The end of the year is supposed to be a time to celebrate and relax. But for many, the traditional sounds of the season include a giant, ticking clock – and not the fun kind from your favorite rockin' New Year's Eve show.

Many workers know the pressure of year-end deadlines. These are often increased by the family pressures that come with holiday preparations.

It's n...

Most Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors Die From Other Causes

Many U.S. women with breast cancer ultimately die of other causes, a new study finds, highlighting the need for survivors and their doctors to pay attention to overall health.

In recent decades, advances in breast cancer treatment have meant that more women are becoming long-term survivors, which also means that other health issues will become important in their lives.

In th...

Secondhand Smoke Starts Kids on Path to Heart Disease: Study

Secondhand smoke can harm children's arteries, a new study warns.

Researchers used ultrasound to examine the carotid artery in the neck, brachial artery in the upper arm, and abdominal aorta right above the belly button in 298 kids aged 8 to 18 who were not smokers.

Some had been exposed to secondhand smoke and others had not, the study authors said.

The investiga...

Special Handling Needed for Seniors in Cardiac ICU

Seniors in cardiac intensive care units may suffer delirium and other problems if doctors only focus on their heart, a new American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement says.

Older adults in the cardiac ICU require different care from younger patients, according to the statement. They're likely to be frail, have other medical conditions and use multiple medications.

AHA News: Cold Heart Facts: Why You Need to Watch Out in Winter

When Arctic weather is on the way, forecasters often alert you to protect your pets or watch out on the roads. Perhaps they also should warn you about your heart.

Winter cold and other seasonal factors raise the risk of heart attacks and more. It's an issue whether you're in frigid Alaska or sunny California.

Dr. Robert A. Kloner has worked on studies showing cardiac death...

AHA News: Public Enemy's Keith Shocklee Turns Heart Attack Into Call to Action

Don't take Keith Shocklee's word for it when he says he didn't look like someone about to have a heart attack.

Check his photos from last year and you'll find a producer who looks lean, strong and maybe a decade younger than his actual age. Or watch the Facebook video selfie of him joyfully skating at a roller disco party in mid-December.

And of course, in 2013 you could see him...

Good Workouts Might Extend a Woman's Life

If you can tackle a tough workout, that may bode well for your longevity, new research suggests.

A woman's risk of dying from heart disease, cancer or other causes is much lower if she can engage in vigorous exercise, scientists report.

The new study included more than 4,700 middle-aged and older women, average age 64, who were referred for treadmill exercise echocardiograph...

AHA News: Here's How Black Barbershops Could Save Lives and Millions in Health Costs

A national program to fight high blood pressure by sending pharmacists to black barbershops could prevent thousands of strokes, heart attacks and deaths, and save the health care system $870 million a year, a new analysis shows.

The research, led by Dr. Dhruv S. Kazi of the Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, built on th...

Cleaner Air Quickly Brings Big Health Benefits, Study Finds

When people are breathing cleaner air, their health generally improves -- rapidly, in some cases, a new review shows.

The report, from the Environmental Committee of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), details some of the evidence on air quality and human health. Overall, it concludes, people can reap a range of benefits when air pollution is cut -- from fewer as...

'Mobile Stroke Units' Help Rush Treatment to Patients

If you're in the throes of a stroke, being stuck in an ambulance in big-city traffic is the last place you want to be -- unless you're riding in a specially equipped ambulance called a mobile stroke unit (MSU).

A new study reports that suspected stroke patients in New York City who were taken to a nearby hospital via MSU began receiving critical, lifesaving treatment about 30 minutes ...

AHA News: NFL Coaches' Drive for Success Can Be Hard on Their Hearts

You're not likely to find any studies linking heart disease and NFL coaches – just a long list of familiar names.

Among them: Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears, who had heart attacks in 1988 and 2018. Bill Parcells of the New York Giants and other teams, who needed bypass surgery in 1992. Dennis Green of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, who died of complications of ca...

Mom-to-Be's Diabetes May Up Odds of Heart Disease in Her Kids

Children whose mothers had diabetes before or during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing heart disease by age 40, according to a new study.

The findings "highlight the importance of effective strategies for screening and preventing diabetes in women of childbearing age," said study author Dr. Yongfu Yu and colleagues. Yu is in the clinical epidemiology department at Aarhus ...

AHA News: He Got a New Heart, Then Cancer, Then Another Heart

When Trenton Cary was 11 months old, mom Valerie could tell he didn't feel well, so she scheduled a doctor's appointment.

But she quickly realized it couldn't wait. She and her husband, David, rushed their son to an emergency room – in the nick of time.

"He just stopped breathing in the ER," David said.

Over the next few days, Trenton needed help breathing...

Especially in the Young, Cholesterol Is No Friend to the Heart

Rising levels of cholesterol among young adults is strongly tied to long-term odds for the number one killer, heart disease, a new study finds.

The new global study involved data on more than 400,000 people from 38 different trials. Their health was tracked for an average of more than 13 years, but some were followed for up to 43 years.

The resear...

AHA News: Vegan Diet May Decrease Heart Disease, Stroke Risk in African Americans

Following a vegan diet for five weeks may decrease risk factors for heart disease, new research shows.

The study included 50 African Americans who were asked to eat only prepared meals delivered to their homes. A cardiovascular risk calculator was used to assess their risk of heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years. For 36 participants who had pre- and post-diet risk scores, th...

Some Cities' Smog Can Ruin Your Vacation

Got travel plans abroad? Spending just a short time in a highly polluted city can harm your health, researchers warn.

"It's widely known that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with increased cardiovascular disease. But it was unknown whether a short-term visit to a location with severe air pollution could have any significant impact," study lead author Dr. Jesus Araujo...

AHA News: Could Mammograms Screen for Heart Disease?

By screening for breast cancer, mammography has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives. Using the test to also screen for heart disease might someday help save many thousands more.

Though expert guidelines vary, generally women are advised to have a mammogram every year or two starting at age 40 or 50. Nearly 40 million mammograms have been performed in the U.S. during the past y...

Cleaner Teeth, Healthier Heart?

Brushing your teeth may be good for your heart, a new study suggests.

It included more than 161,000 South Korean adults, ages 40 to 79, with no history of heart failure or the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation.

Between 2003 and 2004, participants had a routine medical exam and were asked about a wide range of lifestyle habits, including ho...

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