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Have Heart Failure? Flu Shot May Save Your Life

MONDAY, Dec. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you have heart failure, a flu shot can truly be a lifesaver, researchers report.

A study of patients in Denmark who were recently diagnosed with heart failure found that a flu shot cut their risk of premature death by 18 percent, compared with not getting a shot.

Annual flu shots also reduced patients' risk of dying from any cause...

AHA: A Black Filmmaker's Look at the Heart (Health) of Her Community

FRIDAY, Dec. 7, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Jasmine Johnson has become reacquainted with the South Dallas neighborhood where she grew up. Much is familiar, but she's noticed there aren't many places that sell fresh food.

The 29-year-old filmmaker is determined to bring attention to the issue for a community riddled with diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic disease...

Obesity Ups Survival in Heart Failure, but That's No Reason to Pile on Pounds

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Obese people with heart failure may live longer than those who are thinner -- especially if they are "metabolically healthy," a new study suggests.

The study, of more than 3,500 heart failure patients, is the latest to look into the so-called "obesity paradox." The term refers to a puzzling pattern that researchers have noted for years: Obese...

AHA: 12-Year-Old Heart Defect Survivor Inspires NFL Player's Foundation

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Gavin Kuykendall's life has been shaped by his fight against heart disease. Now almost 12, he recently expressed all he's been through -- by writing a letter to his heart disease.

"You made my parents very sad," he said, reading his letter in a video. "You tried to make my birthday an overwhelming and unhappy day. Even though you...

Another Plus to Cardiac Rehab: Better Sex

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Heart patients taking part in cardiac rehabilitation could receive a spicy side effect from the program -- a boost in their sex life.

Attending cardiac rehab is associated with improved sexual function and more frequent sex, according to a new evidence review.

The program likely helps by increasing the patient's physical fitness, sa...

Botox May Help Prevent Post-Op A-Fib

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Botox has other uses beyond enhancing lips and minimizing facial wrinkles. Scientists now say it may help prevent atrial fibrillation after heart surgery.

A-fib -- an abnormal heart rhythm -- is common after heart surgery, and it's linked to stroke and heart failure. But two new studies suggest that botox injections during surgery temporar...

AHA: Hearts From Unusual Donors Could Help Meet Growing Transplant Demand

TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Researchers say the ever-growing waiting list of hopeful heart transplant recipients could be trimmed down if only more patients were given the option to open their hearts to unlikely donors.

Two new Stanford University-led studies published Dec. 4 explore opportunities to expand the donor pool by using hearts that many transplan...

Few Americans Have Optimal 'Metabolic Health'

TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Only about one in eight American adults has what is known as good metabolic health, a new study finds.

This is an "alarmingly low" rate, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Good metabolic health means having ideal measures of five factors without taking medications: blood sugar; triglycerides...

Marathons Can Tax Amateurs' Hearts

MONDAY, Dec. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- While completing a full marathon is a goal for many amateur runners, new research shows a shorter endurance race might put less strain on the heart.

To gauge stress on the heart among 63 amateur runners after they had run either a full marathon, a half marathon or a 10-kilometer race, the researchers assessed levels of certain proteins that ar...

AHA: It Took Heart Attack to Reveal Young Woman's Heart Defect

THURSDAY, Nov. 29, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Growing up, Alanna Gardner learned she couldn't be too active. If she was, she would faint.

Sometimes the spells prompted an emergency room visit. Doctors, however, never diagnosed the cause.

Reluctantly, she gave up participating in sports.

But after going away to college, Alanna started to wonder if the f...

Climate Change Ups Heat Deaths, Especially Among Elderly: Report

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Risk of heat-related disease and death is rising worldwide due to climate change, a new report warns.

Hotter temperatures threaten the elderly and other vulnerable people with heat stress, and heart and kidney disease, according to an international team of experts.

Last year, more than 157 million at-risk people were exposed to ...

Want to Learn CPR? Try an Automated Kiosk

TUESDAY, Nov. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Hands-only CPR training kiosks in public places are an effective way to teach this lifesaving skill, a new study shows.

"These kiosks have the potential to lower barriers to training, increase the likelihood a bystander would perform CPR and positively impact the likelihood of survival from cardiac arrest outside of a hospital," said study au...

Just a Little Weightlifting Can Help Your Heart

TUESDAY, Nov. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- An hour or less of weightlifting each week might significantly cut your risk of heart attack or stroke, new research suggests.

Evaluating nearly 12,600 adults over more than a decade, scientists found that small amounts of resistance exercise weekly were linked to between 40 percent and 70 percent fewer cardiovascular events.

But do...

After a Spouse's Death, Sleep Woes Up Health Risks

MONDAY, Nov. 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The death of a spouse can understandably bring sleepless nights. Now, research suggests those sleep troubles raise the odds of immune system dysfunction -- which in turn can trigger chronic inflammation.

For the surviving spouse, that could mean an increased risk for heart disease and cancer, though the study did not prove a cause-and-effect l...

AHA: Autoimmune Response in Type 1 Diabetes May Lead to Heart Disease

MONDAY, Nov. 26, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Keeping type 1 diabetes under tight control through medication may help prevent people with the disease from developing an immune reaction to their own bodies, one that specifically attacks the heart, according to new research.

Type 1 diabetes is the less common form of the disease that affects the way the body regulates blood sug...

Obesity All on Its Own Can Raise Your Health Risks

TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity itself raises odds for diabetes and heart disease, even in the absence of conditions like high blood pressure, a new study finds.

"This study is important because we can conclude that it is not solely factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or lack of exercise that tend to come with obesity that are harmful. The excess fat ...

AHA: Startling These Twins Could Put  Their Hearts at Risk

TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Katie and Lance Cox were watching TV one evening, their infant twins Carter and John asleep nearby, when Katie dropped the remote control. As it clattered across the floor, the couple froze, staring terrified at one another.

They weren't worried about the remote. They were concerned that the noise would startle their babies to ...

Workplace Bullies Can Threaten the Heart

MONDAY, Nov. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you're bullied by a bad boss or co-worker, your heart may pay the price, new research shows.

Victims of on-the-job bullying or violence faced a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, the researchers found.

The new study of more than 79,000 European workers couldn't prove cause and effect. But if there is a causal link, ...

AHA: Achilles Tendon May Be Window Into Heart Disease Severity

THURSDAY, Nov. 15, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- For people with coronary artery disease, the thickness of the Achilles tendon may be an indicator of the severity of their disease and how likely they are to have a heart attack, new research suggests.

The Achilles tendon -- the longest and strongest tendon in the body -- connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The study, pr...

AHA: Two Heart Surgeries Before His 1st Birthday. Now He's 12 and Healthy.

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Born weighing almost 10 pounds, Caden Konecny arrived pink and loud. His mom, Ashlea, loved everything about her first-born child, except his struggles to breastfeed.

Perhaps she was doing something wrong?

At Caden's six-week checkup, he was down to 7.5 pounds. A few weeks later, a bad cough landed him in the hospi...

AHA: PTSD Common Among Those Who Suffer Tear in the Aorta's Wall

TUESDAY, Nov. 13, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- The sharp and sudden pain from an aortic dissection, along with the emergency treatment that follows, can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder years later, a new study finds.

An aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition in which a tear in the wall of the aorta -- the major artery carrying blood out of the heart -- allo...

Exercise Makes Even the 'Still Overweight' Healthier: Study

TUESDAY, Nov. 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Heavyset folks who exercise regularly shouldn't get discouraged if they can't seem to shed more weight, no matter how hard they try.

A new study suggests that their regular workouts are still contributing to better overall heart health, making them "fat but fit" and helping them live longer.

People who are obese-but-fit have lower r...

Heart Failure Patients Shouldn't Stop Meds Even if Condition Improves: Study

TUESDAY, Nov. 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- There's bad news for heart failure patients with dilated cardiomyopathy who'd like to stop taking their meds.

Any progress they've seen on medication is likely to fade once they stop taking their heart drugs, new clinical trial results show.

About 40 percent of a small group of patients wound up back on their medications after their...

Bypass Beats Stents for Diabetics With Heart Trouble: Study

TUESDAY, Nov. 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- People with both diabetes and multiple clogged heart arteries live longer if they undergo bypass surgery rather than have their blood vessels reopened with stents, according to follow-up results from a landmark clinical trial.

Patients treated with coronary-artery bypass surgery survive about three years longer than those who have their bloo...

AHA: Could Your Race Determine Your Wait for a Donor Heart?

TUESDAY, Nov. 13, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- The wait for a heart transplant varies widely based on factors such as availability of donor hearts and blood type, but little is known about differences in wait times based on race and ethnicity.

Now, preliminary research suggests African-American patients may experience longer wait times than other racial and ethnic groups.

...

Cancer May Soon Replace Heart Disease as Leading Killer of Affluent Americans

MONDAY, Nov. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer is expected to overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death for well-off Americans by 2020.

The expected shift owes to advances in technology and drugs that are making big headway against heart disease, according to a new report.

But lack of access to quality care is likely to keep heart disease the leading killer of...

AHA: Traumatic Childhood Could Increase Heart Disease Risk in Adulthood

THURSDAY, Nov. 8, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Children who grow up in distressing or traumatic environments are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke by the time they reach middle age, according to a new study.

While previous research has found links between adverse childhood experiences and cardiovascular disease risk factors in adulthood, the new study explored whe...

High Blood Pressure in Young Adults Tied to Earlier Strokes

TUESDAY, Nov. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies suggest that when people under 40 develop high blood pressure, their risk of early heart disease and stroke go up significantly.

The first study found that in a group of about 5,000 young American adults, having high blood pressure was linked to as much as a 3.5 times higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

The seco...

AHA: Postpartum Depression May Raise Heart Risks

MONDAY, Nov. 5, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Otherwise healthy women diagnosed with postpartum depression may be at higher risk of a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, a new study suggests.

Acting on mounting evidence linking clinical depression to cardiovascular disease, researchers sought to explore whether other forms of depression might also increase the risk for condi...

Noisy Neighborhood? Your Heart May Pay a Price

MONDAY, Nov. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Living in noise-saturated neighborhoods might be more than simply annoying, with new research suggesting it seems to raise the risk for serious heart problems.

Chronic noise from traffic and airports appears to trigger the amygdala, a brain region critically involved in stress regulation, brain scans have revealed.

Noise is also assoc...

Why Bystanders Are Less Likely to Give CPR to Women

MONDAY, Nov. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Some bystanders may avoid performing CPR on women because they fear hurting them, or even being accused of sexual assault, preliminary research suggests.

In two new studies, researchers tried to dig deeper into a puzzling pattern that has been seen in past research: Women are less likely than men to receive bystander CPR if they go into cardiac...

Daylight Saving Time Tied to Rise in A-Fib Hospitalizations

MONDAY, Nov. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- When Americans set clocks an hour ahead in the spring for Daylight Saving Time, hospitalizations rise for people with a common type of irregular heartbeat, a new study finds.

Atrial fibrillation affects at least 3 million Americans and possibly twice that many. Its main danger is an increased risk for stroke or heart failure, the study authors...

Opioid Use May Sometimes Trigger A-Fib

MONDAY, Nov. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Opioid users may be putting themselves at increased risk for atrial fibrillation ("A-fib"), an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to a stroke, a new study suggests.

The preliminary finding stems from an analysis of medical records of more than 850,000 military veterans. It found that opioid use increases the likelihood of A-fib by 34 percent.<...

AHA: She Refuses to Let A Heart-Stopping Moment Slow Her

FRIDAY, Nov. 2, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Creating art and tackling do-it-yourself projects are soothing pastimes for many people, and 37-year-old Amy Cavaliere is one of them.

The mother of three from Royersford, Pennsylvania -- about a half hour from Philadelphia -- enjoys making pallet wall art that combines hand-stenciled words and imagery on stained wood. In fact, she ...

One Man's Journey Back From Stroke at 52

THURSDAY, Nov. 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Price Woodward was the picture of health at age 52. He lived an active lifestyle and ran marathons. He was definitely not the type of person you'd expect to have a stroke.

But one night, his wife, Tammy, heard a strange noise coming from the other side of the bed. She turned on the light and Price started talking to her, but she couldn't und...

AHA: Can Daylight Saving Time Hurt the Heart? Prepare Now for Spring

FRIDAY, Oct. 26, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Autumn temperatures may have just arrived, but it's already time to "fall back" an hour.

For people who have heart-related problems, they may want to apply that extra 60 minutes in their day toward making healthier lifestyle changes. That's because researchers say when daylight saving time returns, it brings with it a higher chanc...

AHA: This Halloween, Pumpkin Seeds Pack a Healthy Punch

THURSDAY, Oct. 25, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- You can get your hands on pumpkin seeds on about any store's snack aisle, but your healthiest option may be the old-fashioned way: scooping them out of the stringy guts of that jack-o'-lantern you're carving.

That's because store-bought pumpkin seeds -- ever more popular because they're easy to eat and loaded with nutrients -- m...

Does Stroke Run in Your Family? Healthy Living Lowers the Risk

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Has stroke hit your family particularly hard? A healthy lifestyle may be your best defense, new research shows.

The study of more than 306,000 white British people found that exercising, eating right and not smoking lowered stroke risk -- even for those whose DNA predisposed them to the attacks.

The findings "highlight the pote...

Cold, Windy Days Can Strain the Heart

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Brisk autumn winds and chilly winter temperatures may make you more vulnerable to heart trouble, a new study suggests.

Researchers found "an increase in heart attacks in low temperature, strong wind, low sunshine duration and low atmospheric pressure," said senior author Dr. David Erlinge, head of cardiology at Lund University in Sweden.

AHA: Heart Health's Impact on Brain May Begin in Childhood

TUESDAY, Oct. 23, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- A child's blood pressure could indicate cognition problems into adulthood, according to a new study suggesting the cardiovascular connection to cognitive decline could begin much earlier in life than previously believed.

The findings may provide a window into the roots of dementia, for which high blood pressure is considered a ...

AHA: The Heart Problem This Stroke, Bypass Surgery Survivor Wasn't Expecting

MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- When Tom Broussard came out of quadruple heart bypass surgery, the then-59-year-old was just glad to have avoided a heart attack. So he didn't give much thought to the heart valve that surgeons replaced at the same time.

"I figured everything was fixed and didn't need to worry about it," Broussard said of the 2011 procedures.

...

Stroke After Heart Attack: Danger May Persist for Months

MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- After a heart attack, your risk for a stroke is elevated longer than previously believed, preliminary results of a new study suggest.

"A heart attack is a risk factor for stroke for at least three months," said researcher Dr. Alexander Merkler, an assistant professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

"...

N. Carolina Sees Alarming Spike in Heart Infections Among Opioid Users

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to growing alarm about America's opioid crisis, cases of a potentially deadly heart infection have jumped 10-fold among North Carolina's injection drug users, new research shows.

The infection is endocarditis, which strikes one or more of the heart's four valves. Usually a byproduct of aging, it can also develop when bacteria is intr...

Obesity Surgery May Cut Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics

TUESDAY, Oct. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity surgery may help prevent heart attacks and strokes in people who are severely overweight and have diabetes, a new large study suggests.

It's already known that obesity surgery can help people shed pounds and better control health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

But it has not been clear whether that transl...

AHA: A Child's Eyes May Be a Window Into Later Heart Disease Risk

FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Having optimal cardiovascular health as a child could predict the health of tiny blood vessels in the eye in adulthood -- a finding that could serve as an early marker of heart disease, according to new research.

The study, published Friday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, investigated the association betwe...

Discharge Day Won't Affect Heart Surgery Outcome: Study

FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to popular belief, heart surgery patients who leave the hospital on a weekend or holiday do not have a higher risk for readmission, a new study finds.

Some studies have reported the readmission rate after major heart surgery is as high as 22 percent.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles looked at approx...

Diabetes Drug Might Help Shield the Heart From Smog's Ill Effects

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The diabetes drug metformin may offer protection from heart attacks caused by smog, preliminary research suggests.

Working with human lung tissue and mice, Northwestern University researchers found that metformin reduces pollution-triggered inflammation linked to heart attack and stroke.

"These findings suggest metformin as a poten...

AHA: Boy With Heart Defects Thrives After 'Time Bomb' Delivery

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- During the last few months of her pregnancy, Lisa Livesay closed the door to the nursery she and her husband, Chris, had created for their third child. She couldn't bear to look inside, not knowing if the cozy space would ever be home to their baby.

The couple had anticipated their usual complications -- Lisa's first two pregnan...

'Culturally Tailored' Program Helps Hispanics Cut Stroke Risk

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A program to teach Hispanic stroke patients skills to lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of another stroke was a big success, according to a new study.

The study included 552 white, black and Hispanic stroke patients from four New York City hospitals. All were randomly assigned either to a control group that received usual disc...

A-Fib Tied to Higher Odds for Dementia

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A common heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation, may speed up mental decline in older adults, new research suggests.

If you have atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, your heart beats irregularly. This means blood can pool and form clots that go to the brain, causing a stroke.

The good news from this study: Blood thinners can reduce...

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Wellness Library Results - 66

Like most everybody else, people with heart disease spend a lot of time thinking about sex. But if your heart's in trouble, those thoughts can turn dark. You may worry that sex can kill you. You may also wonder what happened to your desire. If heart trouble has cast a shadow over your sex life, talk to your doctor. With a little help and reassurance, many people with heart disease can lead full, s...

Remember those high school chemistry experiments in which you mixed two harmless chemicals and got a bizarre reaction? You may be performing a similar experiment on yourself every time you take two medications at the same time. Certain drugs react strongly when taken with others, often causing serious side effects. In rare cases, drug interactions can even be deadly. Drugs can affect each other i...

Her scrunched-up shoulders and urge to weep when she got to work told Christine Zook all she needed to know about her future as a bus driver. Zook used to drive a bus for an urban transit district in Northern California. There was much about the job that she loved, especially the economic rewards -- decent pay, good family medical benefits, and a great pension. But after 10 years behind the wheel...

It was more than a decade ago when Shawna Lee stepped into the sun room of her parents' house in Champaign, Illinois, and found her 60-year-old mother, Hsiu Lee, looking disoriented. "She told me, 'Your grandfather treated me badly his whole life.' Then she started crying and told me she couldn't button her blouse." "I thought this was weird and called the doctor, who said to come in right away," ...

Editor's note: The story of Donald Drake's heart attack at age 45 begins here in an article he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1980. Drake, now 76, periodically chronicled his battle with heart disease for years afterward. The pioneering former science and medical reporter at The Inquirer took a buyout after 35 years at the newspaper and went on to become a successful playwright. Here we re...

Editor's note: The story of Donald Drake's heart attack at age 45 begins here in an article he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1980. Drake, now 76, periodically chronicled his battle with heart disease for years afterward. The pioneering former science and medical reporter at The Inquirer took a buyout after 35 years at the newspaper and went on to become a successful playwright. Here we re...

Editor's note: Donald C. Drake, a former medical writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer, has been writing about his battle with heart disease since having a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 45. Since that time, he has undergone an angioplasty, which improved his steadily worsening angina, but did not cure his disease. In this installment, Drake devotes himself to a program of lifestyle changes who...

Want to know your vulnerability to heart disease? Like it or not, one of the best ways to know is to get on the scale. If you're unhappy with what the scale tells you, you're not alone. Despite our national obsession with thinness, Americans are heavier and less active than ever before. Over half of us are overweight, and self-esteem isn't the only thing at stake. Even a few extra pounds can be ha...

What's the link between depression and heart disease? Depression and loneliness put a terrible strain on the heart, and not just in the emotional sense: Psychological distress can turn a survivor of heart disease into a victim. Consider the words of physician Dean Ornish in his book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy. "Among heart patients, depression is as g...

Most cigarette smokers know the dangers of tobacco. After all, the Surgeon General stamps a warning right on the pack. But what about the people sitting next to the smoker? What about his friends and coworkers? His children? Secondhand smoke doesn't come with a warning label. If it did, more smokers might try harder to kick their addiction. According to the best current estimates, secondhand smoke...

In the Jazz Age, flappers wielded foot-long cigarette holders as emblems of panache and independence. During World War II, monthly ads with Chesterfield cigarette girls featured such stars as Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth. Twenty years later, the U.S. Surgeon General linked smoking and death, but images of cigarettes as symbols of feminine freedom, mystery, and sex appeal were by no means extingu...

What is athletic heart syndrome? Athletic heart syndrome is a heart condition that may occur in people who exercise or train for more than an hour a day, most days of the week. Athletic heart syndrome isn't necessarily bad for you -- if you're an athlete. And it's not what makes young athletes expire in mid-court. While it does lead to structural changes in the heart, a person with the conditio...

Years ago, a rare heart problem nearly killed Kristy Michael while she was on a bike ride. Today she's walking to help the American Heart Association raise money to research her disease. On her 31st birthday, Kristy Michael, an avid cyclist, swimmer and runner, found herself lying on the side of the road, her heart racing out of control, convinced she'd met her end. "I was riding my bike to the ...

We all owe our lives to the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood from our lungs to our heart. If one of those arteries becomes blocked, part of the heart will begin to die. Doctors call this sudden blockage an "acute myocardial infarction," but it's also known as a heart attack. The pain of the attack itself may last for minutes or hours, but the roots of the problem often stretch back several d...

What is angina pectoris? Angina is temporary pain or discomfort in the chest that occurs when not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches your heart muscle. (The term "angina" means "pain," while "pectoris" refers to the chest.) Sometimes angina feels like heartburn, the similar sensations you may get after eating a heavy meal. But if you feel this pain regularly, it may be a symptom of heart diseas...

By all accounts, Lew Pringle was a ham when he taught his mathematics classes at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Striding around the room, waving his arms, and indulging in occasional theatrics, he kept his students entertained. But in the middle of one colorful lecture, he collapsed suddenly, in mid-sentence. "A pain deep in the middle of my chest had hit me like a truck,"recalls the 59-year-ol...

No medical checkup is complete without getting your blood pressure measured. Pressure that stays too high for too long can damage blood vessels and greatly increase your risk of a heart attack, a stroke, or kidney damage. On the bright side, this simple test can give you the information you need to help prevent and control high blood pressure. What do the numbers mean? When you check your pressur...

Can exercise help lower my blood pressure? Researchers have spent decades developing new treatments for high blood pressure, but exercise is still one of the best remedies around. A single workout can reduce blood pressure for an entire day, and regular exercise can keep the pressure down for the long run. What's more, low to moderate intensity training appears to be as beneficial -- if not more ...

Is your blood pressure discriminating against you? Like so many other things, blood pressure is a mixture of luck and lifestyle. While some people seem to have low pressure by nature, others are predisposed to dangerously high numbers. But no matter what hand you're dealt, it's likely that you have the power to lower your blood pressure. About 73 million Americans have high blood pressure (defin...

If you're a heart patient, how do you know which treatment you need? Donald Drake, the Philadelphia Inquirer's former medical writer, found himself researching this question -- not for the newspaper, but for himself. The result was Drake's series of stories for the Inquirer on his search for the right treatment. In 1999, when he was 65 years old, Drake underwent angioplasty, a procedure in which a...

What is coronary heart disease? If the human body were a machine, it would have been recalled by now. A case in point is the heart. The muscle itself is a marvel of engineering, a tireless pump that moves 75 gallons of blood every hour. But there's a glaring flaw in the system. The arteries that carry blood to the heart often become clogged, a condition called coronary heart disease or coronary a...

What are statins? If you have high cholesterol that you can't lower through diet and exercise, doctors will likely recommend statins as a treatment option. Some of these medications which include atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and fluvastatin (Lescol) can lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol by as much ...

At this very moment, your blood vessels are pulsing with the raw material that can cause a heart attack. Every drop of human blood contains cholesterol, a compound popularly referred to as a fat, which your body needs to form healthy cells and tissues. From birth on, your liver manufactures cholesterol, which is pushed out to the gut and reabsorbed back as part of a system for fat absorption. In a...

"Driving that train/high on cocaine
Casey Jones, you better watch your speed ...
Come 'round the bend, you know it's the end
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams ..." -- The Grateful Dead Nearly four decades after the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia wrote the lyrics to "Casey Jones," the drug that inspired the song is enjoying a resurgence. More than 35 million Americans 12 y...

C-reactive protein, once obscure, may play an important role in predicting the risk of heart disease. Rethinking heart disease Studies suggest that a key component of heart disease is inflammation, and researchers believe chronically inflamed blood vessels set the stage for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Inflamed patches become "sticky" and start collecting plaque. In an article en...

After years of dodging bullets and taking on bad guys, the fictitious NYPD Blue character Detective Bobby Simone finally died -- after a visit to his dentist. He caught a bacterial infection from an oral treatment in the dentist's chair, and the germ went straight to his heart. Within a few episodes, Andy Sipowicz had a new partner. The story may seem incredible, but similar dramas unfold in real ...

What is hypertension? Every time you get your blood pressure checked, you get two numbers, perhaps something like 130/85. These numbers tell you how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it flows through your body. The higher figure, called systolic pressure, indicates the force pushing on blood vessels as the heart contracts. The lower figure, called diastolic pressure, sh...

What do Inuits in Greenland have in common with residents of downtown Tokyo? More than you might think: Both groups rarely suffer heart attacks, and both groups eat a lot of fish. Nutritionists now believe it may not be a coincidence that such dramatically different populations have a similar low incidence of heart disease. Whether you live in an igloo or a skyscraper, fish is good for your heart....

Heart attacks aren't as deadly as they used to be. Thanks to advances in emergency treatment, hundreds of thousands of Americans who have had heart attacks survive the experience, some after more than one attack. If you're one of those survivors, protecting your heart should be your top priority. One out of four men and one out of three women who live through an attack will die within the followin...

What are the warning signs of a heart attack? According to the American Heart Association, the classic warning signs are:

"God in His goodness sent the grape to cheer both great and small. Little fools drink too much and great fools none at all." -- Anonymous Ask a doctor about preventing heart disease, and you'll hear a lot of clear-cut advice. Saturated fat: bad. Smoking: very bad. Exercise: excellent. Ask a doctor about alcohol and the heart, however, and the easy answers disappear. Depending on how it's used, al...

Everyone knows cigarettes can kill. By the time you reach middle age, you've probably known a smoker who has died or is dying of lung cancer. But the biggest threat from cigarettes isn't lung cancer or emphysema -- it's heart disease. Each year, in the United States alone, cigarettes are responsible for up to a third of all deaths from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. O...

Poets aren't the only ones who see a connection between the mind and the heart. Many scientists now believe that anger, depression, and other forms of mental distress can help ignite heart disease. If you want to avoid heart trouble, exercising and watching your diet are a good start. But for ultimate protection, you may also need to ease your mind. How can emotions affect the heart? Negative fee...

Why do some people fully recover from heart attacks while others struggle to stay alive? The answer isn't always found in hospital charts or EKG readings. Most successful survivors often have something in common: A strong network of friends and family. If you've recently had a heart attack, you should know that healing isn't just a one-person job. Whether they're offering a ride to the doctor's of...

If you have a heart problem, chances are you also have a prescription -- or several. Medications are the cornerstone of treatment for almost every kind of heart disease. The right drugs can ease your symptoms and may prolong your life. But how much do you know about those pills in your medicine cabinet? With hundreds of heart drugs on the market, it can be hard to keep everything straight. Here's ...

What is heart failure? If you have heart failure, your heart doesn't pump as strongly as it should. The word "failure" may be frightening, but it doesn't mean that your heart has stopped working or is about to break down. With treatment and careful attention, many people can manage their condition and still be active and energetic. Heart failure is common, and the number of patients continues to ...

What is a pacemaker? An artificial pacemaker is a small device that helps your heart beat in a regular pattern at a normal rate, if it doesn't do so naturally. A battery in the pacemaker sends pulses of electricity through wires to your heart to stimulate a consistent heartbeat. Pacemakers can be temporary or permanent, depending on your individual condition. A doctor must implant a permanent pa...

What is a stress test? There's nothing like a good workout to find out how fit you really are. You may feel like a champion in your armchair fantasies, but playing a set of tennis can tell a different story. Likewise, you don't know how well your heart is working until you put it to the test. Almost everybody's heart beats in the same monotonous rhythm when they're resting. But during exercise, s...

How fast should my heart be beating? If you're an adult, your heart should beat somewhere between 50 and 90 times per minute when you're resting, regardless of your age or sex. If you're a super-fit athlete, your heartbeat may be as low as 40 or 50 beats per minute. If you're overweight, if you're a smoker, or if you have high blood pressure, your heart rate may be a little on the fast side. How...

It was eye-catching news in 2002 when researchers called a halt to a major government-run study of a hormone therapy used by millions of older women. Researchers stopped the study, one of a series of clinical trials under the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), after they found that long-term use of estrogen and progestin raised the risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and invasive breast canc...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

February 28 Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a mara...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner ...

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