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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...

AHA: The Study and Town That Changed the Health of a Generation

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- It's been 70 years since a small, middle-class community 23 miles west of Boston became the linchpin in helping to solve the mysteries of heart disease.

Smoking. Cholesterol. Blood pressure. Obesity. It's common knowledge today that these all can lead to heart trouble. But in the 1940s, with one in two deaths caused by cardiova...

As Hurricane Michael Nears, Expert Warns of Gas-Powered Generator Dangers

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Hurricane Michael, now a powerful category 4 storm, is expected to make landfall in northern Florida Wednesday.

And as with every such storm, power outages will occur, along with the risk of deadly carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from gas-powered generators.

"Unfortunately, poison control centers continue to see surges in generato...

Don't Overlook Heart Care After Cancer Diagnosis

TUESDAY, Oct. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation are less likely to see a cardiologist or fill prescriptions for blood-thinning drugs if they've had cancer, a new study finds.

A-fib is an irregular, often rapid heart rate. Failure to take anti-clotting drugs can put these patients at increased risk of stroke, the researchers said. <...

'Broken Heart Syndrome' Warrants Careful Monitoring

FRIDAY, Oct. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It's not a heart attack, but so-called "broken heart syndrome" still puts patients at high risk for hospital readmission and in-hospital death, a new study suggests.

Broken heart syndrome -- also called Takotsubo syndrome -- causes symptoms similar to a heart attack, including chest pain and difficulty breathing.

But while a heart att...

How Much He Sleeps May Affect His Stroke Risk

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Getting too little or too much sleep can affect stroke risk, depending on a man's race, researchers say.

"These results suggest that short and long sleep duration may have different consequences for people depending on race and sex," said study author Virginia Howard, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Short sleep was de...

Study Casts Doubt on Light Drinking's Benefits

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you think your nightly glass of vino is doing good things for your health, think again.

A new study suggests that folks who like to tip back a drink or two every day are more likely to die prematurely.

"At any given age, if you drink daily -- even just one or two drinks -- you have a 20 percent increased risk of death compared ...

'Southern' Diet Blamed for Black Americans' Health Woes

TUESDAY, Oct. 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans are at greater risk of high blood pressure than whites, and a new study suggests the "Southern" diet bears much of the blame.

Experts have long known that blacks are more likely to die of heart disease and stroke than whites -- and that rates of high blood pressure explain a lot of that disparity. But why are blacks more likely...

AHA: Lung Scans of COPD Patients Can Reveal Heart Disease -- and Death Risk

TUESDAY, Oct. 2, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- People with the chronic lung disease known as COPD often get chest CT scans so that doctors can look inside their lungs.

A new study is advising physicians to also take a careful look at the heart while they're at it.

Patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, who have high levels of calcium b...

Will a Defibrillator 'Vest' Protect Recent Heart Attack Patients?

THURSDAY, Sept. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Wearable defibrillators do not lower the chances of dying from sudden cardiac arrest among high-risk patients who've just had a heart attack, a new investigation concludes.

Worn externally as a vest, these defibrillators are a noninvasive alternative to surgically implanted defibrillators. Both are designed to deliver a corrective electric...

AHA: Years After Pregnancy, Heart Risks Track From Mother to Child

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- A mother can pass down a lot of physical traits to her child, such as her smile, eye color, or the shape of her nose. According to new research, she may also be passing along something not as obvious -- a vulnerability for developing heart disease.

A Dutch study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Assoc...

AHA: 8-Year-Old Beats the Odds Against Heart and Brain Birth Defects

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- The day after Maggie Maine was born, doctors told her parents there was a 70 percent chance she'd never walk, talk or be able to feed or bathe herself.

An MRI had found severe defects in both her heart and her brain.

Relying on their faith, Jeff and Renae Maine decided to focus on the 30 percent chance that the doct...

AHA: Stiffening of Blood Vessels May Point to  Dementia Risk

FRIDAY, Sept. 21, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Arterial stiffness among people with mild cognitive impairments could put them at higher risk for progressing to dementia, which may include Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study exploring the connection between the brain and vascular health.

The French study, published Friday in the American Heart Association journal ...

Mediterranean Diet May Cut Stroke Risk for Women, But Not Men

THURSDAY, Sept. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The Mediterranean diet may do more than help you reach and maintain a healthy weight: New research suggests that women who follow it also lower their stroke risk.

But men did not reap the same benefit from the diet, which concentrates on fish, fruits, nuts, vegetables and beans, and avoids meat and dairy products.

"Simple change...

Easing Sleep Apnea May Be Key to Stroke Recovery

THURSDAY, Sept. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep apnea is a known risk factor for stroke, and new research suggests that curbing the condition might also aid the recovery of people who've suffered a stroke or mini-stroke.

Patients in the study typically used the CPAP mask -- "continuous positive airway pressure" -- to ease their nighttime breathing difficulties.

The inves...

Fitter Folks Suffer Milder Strokes: Study

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It's well-known that regular exercise can help cut your risk for a stroke. Now, new research shows fitness may have an added bonus, cutting the severity of a stroke should one occur.

So finds a study of more than 900 stroke survivors. It found that fitter people were twice as likely as sedentary folk to have a mild stroke rather than a seve...

AHA: Coming Soon, Computers That Will Read Your Heart Tests

MONDAY, Sept. 17, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Tapping into the technology behind facial recognition programs and self-driving cars, researchers in a new study have taught computers key elements of assessing echocardiograms.

The advance might simplify an otherwise extensive process now done by humans.

Researchers created algorithms to recognize images and potential...

AHA: 5 Reasons You Could Develop Heart Disease Before 50

FRIDAY, Sept. 14, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, yet people generally associate it with an older, aging population. But heart attacks, strokes and other types of heart disease can be blind to age -- particularly when certain factors are in play.

Here are five reasons why heart disease can strike by the age of 50...

No Short-Term Cancer Risk From Recalled Heart Med Valsartan: Study

THURSDAY, Sept. 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- People who took recalled blood pressure drugs containing a carcinogen do not appear to have a markedly increased short-term risk of cancer, a new study reports.

Doctors are reluctant to say they're fully in the clear, however.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July recalled valsartan medicines manufactured by the Chinese co...

AHA: Apple's Smartwatch Has a Heart Monitor Now

THURSDAY, Sept. 13, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- There will soon be another way to monitor your heart -- from your wrist.

The Apple Watch 4 that was unveiled Wednesday will include electrocardiogram testing. Often referred to as an EKG or ECG, this is how health care providers check the electrical signals in a patient's heart. To a layman, these are the squiggly lines across ...

To Help Beat Heart Disease, Stay Upbeat

THURSDAY, Sept. 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Optimism and a sense of purpose can improve your heart health, new research suggests.

Psychological well-being has cardiovascular benefits because people with a positive outlook are more inclined to lead a healthy lifestyle, the researchers concluded.

Upbeat people are more likely to eat well, engage in physical activity, mainta...

AHA: From a Hole in Her Heart to the New York Stage

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- At 2 years old, Tabitha Ellis was required to wear a face mask over her nose and mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, long enough for medicine and water vapor to flow through her compromised body.

And she had to endure this three times a day, sometimes plugging into an outlet wherever her family was when it was time for her treatment.<...

Banned Supplement Remains a Concern in Weight-Loss Products

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Weight-loss and energy supplements sold in the United States may contain potentially harmful and inaccurately labeled levels of the banned stimulant higenamine, a new study finds.

Higenamine is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of substances prohibited in sports, though it is legal for use in supplements in the United States, Canada a...

Even High-Fat Dairy Might Be Good for You

TUESDAY, Sept. 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Dairy foods might be your ticket to better heart health, even if you're drinking whole milk and eating rich cheeses, a new study suggests.

The study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, but folks who ate three servings of dairy per day had an overall lower risk of death during the study period than people who ate no dairy. They also had a lower...

Blood Infection Sepsis Tied to Heart Attack, Stroke

MONDAY, Sept. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of serious bloodstream infections called sepsis are at increased risk for stroke and heart attack for four weeks after leaving the hospital, a new study finds.

The study included roughly 42,300 sepsis patients in Taiwan. Of those, 22 percent died within 30 days of hospital admission.

Among the survivors, 1,012 had a cardio...

Black Patients Have 5 Times the Rate of Blood Pressure Crises

FRIDAY, Sept. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A sudden, severe surge in blood pressure is known as a hypertensive crisis, and new research suggests that black people are far more likely to experience this potentially deadly condition.

High blood pressure "is an unnecessary scourge on African Americans. The prevalence of hypertensive crisis is five times higher in African Americans than i...

AHA: Nicotine Patch Safe for Smokers Hospitalized With Heart Trouble

FRIDAY, Sept. 7, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Nicotine replacement therapy appears to be a safe option for smokers hospitalized for heart disease, even for critically ill patients on their first day, according to a new study.

Researchers hope the findings will encourage doctors to prescribe nicotine patches or other replacement therapies more often during a window when patien...

AHA: 'Gronk Girl' Tackles Her Second Heart Transplant in 5 Years

FRIDAY, Sept. 7, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Now that she's on her third heart, Lauren Meizo knows a good deal about how to live for months in a hospital room, about how her internal organs work together, about how to be patient and tenacious during long periods of recovery.

She's also learned a lot about her purpose in life, thanks in part to a little help from her favorite...

'Million Hearts' Project Aims to Prevent 1 Million Cardiac Crises

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of Americans aren't taking simple steps that could ward off a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke, a new government report shows.

Heart attacks, strokes and other heart-related conditions caused 2.2 million hospitalizations in 2016, new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

Many of t...

AHA: Are Die-Hard Sports Fans Putting Their Hearts at Risk?

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Tailgate parties are kicking off the National Football League's regular season, and if the brats and burgers, cheese dips and chili bowls aren't enough to give passionate sports fans heart problems, all the close calls and tense final moments of upcoming games just might.

Football fans aren't the only ones at risk. Some studies ...

AHA: WNBA Stars Take Their Shot at Heart Health Awareness

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Achieving victory in a high-stakes competitive sport like professional women's basketball takes a lot of heart -- in every sense of the word.

So, as the WNBA championship finals begin Friday, it makes sense that maintaining good health, cardiovascular and otherwise, has been a top priority for the WNBA and its 12 teams throughou...

Online History Gives Clues to Heart Ills

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Online searches about heart disease peak in the winter, a new study says. That's when deaths from heart disease top out, too.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and more than 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States every year.

Researchers wondered if online searches for heart information vari...

Evidence Doesn't Support Statin Use in Healthy Seniors

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- There is no evidence to support the widespread use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to prevent heart disease and stroke in old and very old people, Spanish researchers say.

For the new study, the investigators analyzed data from nearly 47,000 people aged 75 and older with no history of heart disease.

Statins were not associated...

AHA: Teen Went Into Cardiac Arrest During Spelling Bee

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- After correctly spelling the first word given to her at an eighth-grade spelling bee, Emma Baker walked back to her seat, sat down and promptly collapsed onto the shoulder of another young contestant.

Emma was in cardiac arrest.

The mother of another student was in the audience and happened to be an EMT. She immediat...

Over 1.4 Billion of World's Adults Face Disease Because of Inactivity, WHO Says

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Couch potatoes, take note: Sedentary living has put more than one quarter of the world's adults at risk for serious disease, a new study says.

More than 1.4 billion adults face a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain types of cancer because they get too little physical activity, World Health Organization (WHO) resear...

AHA: Heart Health Research of 9/11 Survivors Slowly Realized, 17 Years Later

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Back when Charlie Wilson was an avid runner, the only flutter he ever felt in his chest came from indigestion.

That changed on Sept. 11. The now-retired New York police sergeant spent nearly every day for the next six months at the World Trade Center. He helped with rescue and cleanup missions, all while breathing in the hazard...

Why So Many Firefighters Die From Cardiac Arrest

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Firefighters who die from cardiac arrest tend to have underlying heart problems, a new study finds.

Cardiac arrest accounts for more job-related deaths among firefighters than any other cause, and researchers wanted to know what ups their risk.

"Firefighters face many dangers, but the greatest risk is from underlying cardiovascula...

Even at Low Levels, Toxic Metals Put Heart at Serious Risk: Study

THURSDAY, Aug. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and heart disease, researchers report.

Their analysis of 37 studies that included nearly 350,000 people linked arsenic exposure to a 23 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 30 percent increased risk of c...

AHA: It Takes More Than a Bribe to Get Some People to Exercise

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Getting people to exercise isn't as easy as dangling money in front of them like a carrot in front of a hungry horse. It turns out it's better to show them the money, and then threaten to take it away.

As obesity rates rise and physical activity decreases in this sedentary age of binge-watching and being glued to a computer at ...

Smoking, Drinking a Double Whammy for Teens' Arteries: Study

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who drink or smoke already have stiffening arteries, and the risk is highest for those who are both heavy smokers and heavy drinkers, a new study reports.

Arterial stiffening is a sign of blood vessel damage that increases the chances for heart attack and stroke later in life. The good news is that teens can reverse this damage if the...

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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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