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AHA News: Not Just Bad Shoes and Sore Muscles – She Had Peripheral Artery Disease

Abigail Dudek celebrated her 40th birthday in Las Vegas a few months ago, grateful to go hiking and cycling without pain for the first time in more than two years.

The problem started in April 2018. As her county's 911 public educator, she spent most the day on her feet at a public event. Although she was accustomed to achy feet, this time it felt different.

"It was like a hard pea ...

AHA News: Flu May Play Part in Plaque-Rupturing Heart Attacks

Getting a flu vaccine can reduce the risk of a common type of heart attack in people 60 and older, according to new research that suggests the virus plays a role in rupturing plaque.

In a study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers in Spain used data from five consecutive flu seasons and zeroed in on 8,240 people who had Type 1 heart attacks. The...

AHA News: Boosters Hope Bicycling Boom Outlasts the Pandemic

It doesn't seem right to put "silver lining" and "pandemic" in the same sentence. But the past year of COVID-19 has been a boon for bicycling, an indisputably healthy activity.

"Bikes have been one of those bright spots, as we've been getting through this last year," Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told the National Bike Summit in early March. "People have been rediscovering ho...

AHA News: Want to Help Fight for Health Justice? It May Be Time to Listen

A pandemic, protests and politics have highlighted the nation's long-standing, deep-seated racial issues and how they affect the health of millions of Americans. People who've never confronted racism before are asking, "How can I show I'm an ally?"

For the uninitiated, being a partner in the fight against racism can begin by looking inward. First and foremost, "it's about listening, parti...

AHA News: Physical Therapy Visit for Knee Injury Was First Step Toward His Quadruple Bypass

James "Pete" Watt walked into a physical therapy appointment in April 2018 feeling unusually lightheaded and anxious.

"I just felt off," he said.

The therapist took his blood pressure reading. It was dangerously high -- 200/100.

"You're not going anywhere until someone comes to get you," she told him.

Pete, who lives in Lake Stevens, Washington, called his wife, Lisa. Sh...

Some Blood Pressure Meds Raise Heart Risks in People With HIV

Beta-blocker blood pressure medications may increase the risk of heart problems in people with HIV, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 8,000 U.S. veterans with HIV who developed high blood pressure between 2000 and 2018. Of those, around 6,500 had never been diagnosed with heart or blood vessel problems.

At the start...

AHA News: For Heart Patients, Bariatric Surgery May Lower Risk of Future Cardiovascular Problems

Bariatric surgery can be a difficult decision for treating obesity, as patients and their doctors weigh the risks and side effects of the procedure against the benefits of the weight loss that usually follows.

Heart disease adds another factor to the risk-benefit analysis. Is the surgery a good idea for people who already have cardiovascular problems?

New research published Monday i...

AHA News: Refined Flour Substitutes Abound -- But How to Choose the Best One?

A trip down a grocery store's baking goods aisle can leave you in a daze these days if you're thinking about replacing white or all-purpose flour with one of the many alternatives on shelves.

In recent years, the pantry staple used for baking and making pasta has become a dietary public enemy, giving way to healthier nut and seed flours, such as almond, chickpea and even banana.

But...

Heart Disease Gaining on Cancer as Leading Cause of Death in Young Women

Heart disease is gaining on cancer as the leading cause of death among American women under 65.

"Young women in the United States are becoming less healthy, which is now reversing prior improvements seen in heart disease deaths for the gender," said Dr. Erin Michos, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She's the co-author of a new study that inv...

Many Recovering COVID Patients Show Signs of Long-Term Organ Damage

Long-term organ damage appears to be common in hospitalized COVID-19 patients after they've recovered and been discharged, British researchers report.

One U.S. expert who read over the report said she's seen the same in her practice.

"This study proves that the damage done is not just to the lungs, but can affect the heart, the brain and the kidneys, as well," said Dr. Mangala Naras...

AHA News: Why You Should Pay Attention to Inflammation

Inflammation can be a visible part of how your body fights illness or injury. If you've ever sprained your ankle, you already know about it.

But it also can be much less obvious, and researchers are still unraveling its mysteries. Some of what they've learned has intriguing potential for treating heart disease and other illnesses.

"Inflammation is a complex reaction triggered by you...

AHA News: Unloading Groceries, He Found His Wife on the Ground Not Breathing

Lynn and Kent Wiles spent the morning running errands together. The Oregon couple shopped for groceries, stopped by the bank and picked up items at the hardware store.

Once home, they were bringing in bags from the car. Lynn had stayed in the kitchen to put away a couple perishables while Kent went to get the last few bags. With everything in place, she headed back out through the dining ...

AHA News: The Secret to Good Health Is No Secret. So Why Is It So Hard to Achieve?

It ought to be a no-brainer, so to speak: Research has pinpointed seven ways people can achieve ideal heart and brain health. And -- bonus -- if Americans did those things, they also could help prevent many other chronic illnesses.

But most people don't, at least not consistently. What's stopping them?

"Most of these steps require a great deal of self-regulation and self-control," s...

Healthy Living in Middle Age Really Pays Off in Senior Years

Live well, live longer.

New research offers more evidence that the mantra rings true: People who got regular exercise and ate a healthy diet in middle age had a reduced risk of serious health problems as seniors.

"Health care professionals could use these findings to further promote and emphasize to their patients the benefits of a healthy diet and a regular exercise schedule t...

Black Adults Face 4 Times the Odds for Stroke as Whites

Once Black Americans reach age 40, their blood pressure often begins a rapid climb, putting them at significantly higher risk of stroke than their white counterparts, a new study warns.

Middle-aged Black people have roughly four times the stroke risk faced by white Americans, according to the analysis of data from nearly 5,100 patients.

"High blood pressure is the single most import...

AHA News: When Her Heart Stopped After Her Dog Died, Doctors Said It Was Broken Heart Syndrome

Tess and Dan Kossow did all they could to have a child.

When they turned to in vitro fertilization, their first attempt appeared to work. But then Tess had a miscarriage.

"It was early in the pregnancy," she said, "but devastating nevertheless."

While Dan shared her grief, she had another source of support: Mr. Big, their ironically named 7-pound Maltese. Tess loved playing mo...

AHA News: Black Young Adults Face Higher Stroke Risk Than Their White Peers

Black young adults are almost four times more likely than their white counterparts to have a stroke, according to new research. Yet regardless of race, the risk of having a stroke at a younger age increased as blood pressure rose.

High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. It adds to the heart's workload and over time damages arteries and organs. Experts already knew stroke rates...

Astronauts Will Need Tough Workouts on Any Mission to Mars

As NASA astronauts set their sights on reaching Mars and building an outpost on the moon, they are likely to need regular, rigorous exercise to keep their hearts in shape, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data gathered from U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly during his year in space from 2015 to 2016 and from Benoît Lecomte's attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean in 2018. Investigat...

Smoking Rates High Among Surgery Patients

U.S. surgery patients have a high rate of smoking, which could be one reason why some wind up on the operating table, researchers say.

A look at nearly 329,000 Michigan residents who had common surgical procedures between 2012 and 2019 found that nearly a quarter had smoked in the past year. In comparison, just over 14% of U.S. adults smoked in 2019.

The highest rates of smoking wer...

AHA News: Heart Failure at 35 Helped New York Cardiologist Better Care for Patients

Unlike most of his cardiology colleagues, Dr. Satjit "Saj" Bhusri has personal experience with heart disease -- and he doesn't hesitate to share his story with patients.

Sometimes, he'll even show them a picture. He's lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to a ventilator and covered in ice to bring down a raging fever -- the result of a viral infection that led to heart failure when he was 3...

AHA News: Up to 2 Million Cardiovascular 'Events' Could Be Averted Each Year by Doing This

About 2 million cases of heart attack, stroke and heart failure might be prevented each year if U.S. adults had high cardiovascular health as defined by a set of seven metrics, according to a new study.

Even modest improvements in the population's overall heart health could make a significant dent in the number of cardiovascular disease cases.

These Life's Simple 7 metrics, which th...

Gen X, Millennials in Worse Health Than Prior Generations at Same Age

Medicine may have advanced by leaps and bounds over the last century, but Generation X and millennials are in worse health than their parents and grandparents were at their age.

That's the conclusion of a new study that looked at markers of physical and mental health across the generations.

And overall, there has been a downhill slide over time: Gen X'ers and millennials were in wor...

AHA News: 7 Healthy Strategies to Navigate a Food Swamp

On nearly every corner, and along the roads in between, the familiar signs comfort and tempt us: burgers and fried chicken, ice cream and doughnuts, sweets and treats galore.

Welcome to the food swamp, where Americans get bogged down in a morass of cheap, convenient, alluring -- and very often unhealthy -- culinary choices.

"All these fast-food companies with all their marketing are...

AHA News: As Fermented Foods Rise in Popularity, Here's What Experts Say

The increasingly trendy trio of kefir, kimchi and kombucha may not be familiar to you, but experts say fermented foods like these can help the home of most of your immune system -- your gut.

How and why some (not all) fermented foods work is an unraveling mystery that goes back to hunter-gatherer humans. Today, nutrition scientists say to look beyond "probiotic" and "prebiotic" labels to ...

AHA News: Stroke, Blindness, a Heart Transplant -- And a Can-Do Spirit

Hana Hooper went to college with dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She aspired to boost her knowledge of biology and intended to amplify her interest in art.

She was 18, and her future was aflame with potential.

"We thought she'd go and have a normal college experience," said her mother, Ali.

Five years later, Hana has shown moxie in circumstances that have been anything but ...

Could Viagra Help Men With Heart Disease Live Longer?

Those little blue pills were designed to help men experiencing impotence. But Viagra and drugs like it might also lower the risk of dying or experiencing a new heart attack in men with heart disease, according to new Swedish research.

"Potency problems are common in older men and now our study also shows that PDE5 inhibitors may protect against heart attack and prolong life," said study ...

Ultra-Processed Foods Are Ultra-Bad for Your Heart

More than half of the food Americans eat is "ultra-processed" -- and it's making them sick.

Higher consumption of these highly processed foods is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death, according to a new study, and yet they account for 58% of calories in a U.S. diet. Each additional serving increased the risk.

You might not even realize that a food yo...

Cancer Survivors May Face Higher Odds for Heart Trouble

Cancer survivors, especially older ones, have an increased risk of heart disease over the next decade, a new study finds.

Ohio State University researchers analyzed data from more than 15,000 U.S. adults, aged 40 to 79, who were followed from 2007 to 2016. At the start of the study period, 13% reported a history of cancer but none had a history of heart disease.

Over the next decade...

AHA News: Blood Pressure Successes in Black People May Come Down to These 2 Things

A study of Black Americans who kept their blood pressure healthy as they aged could help pinpoint the best ways to prevent hypertension before it starts.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a widespread problem among Black people in the U.S., said Shakia Hardy, assistant professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. More than hal...

Can Fitbits Be a Dieter's Best Friend?

Looking to shed some of those pandemic pounds? A new analysis says wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch can help people slim down.

The researchers examined studies involving commercial health wearables and adults who were overweight/obese or had a chronic health condition.

After daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for a period between a month and a year, participants lost ...

Another Study Finds COVID Patients Face Higher Risk for Stroke

A new study adds to mounting evidence that COVID patients have an added risk of stroke.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 20,000 U.S. adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between January and November 2020. The analysis found that their risk of stroke was higher than for patients with other types of infections, including flu.

"These findings suggest that COVID-19 may increase the r...

AHA News: How Oral Health May Affect Your Heart, Brain and Risk of Death

Dental cavities could significantly increase the risk of a life-threatening stroke from bleeding in the brain, according to new research.

Past studies have shown a link between gum infection and stroke, but few studies have looked into what role dental cavities might play. In the new study, researchers looked specifically at cavities and intracerebral stroke, which occur when an artery in...

AHA News: Her Daughter's Earache Might Just Have Saved Her Life

When her 3-year-old daughter's earache stretched into a sixth hour, Sarah Conaway decided it was time to get some answers. Even if it was 3 a.m.

Conaway woke her mom, who lived with them, and they drove to the nearby children's hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Sitting in the lobby, Conaway was filling out paperwork when she said, "I can't feel my right side."

"She's just had a stroke," ...

AHA News: Stroke Deaths Rise in Rural Areas, Hold Steady in Cities

Stroke death rates have increased among middle-aged adults in rural counties in the U.S., according to new research that also found declining deaths in urban areas have recently stalled.

Overall, stroke deaths dropped nationally for more than four decades before progress started slowing in recent years. Researchers wanting to take a closer look zeroed in on what's happening in rural versu...

Unhealthy in Your 20s? Your Mind May Pay the Price Decades Later

If you're a 20-something who wants to stay sharp, listen up: A new study suggests poor health habits now may increase your risk of mental decline later in life.

Its authors say young adulthood may be the most critical time for adopting a healthy lifestyle in order to keep your brain sharp when you're older.

That's the upshot of an analysis of data from about 15,000 adults who were p...

On-the-Road Help: 'Mobile Stroke Units' Are Saving People's Lives

Time is never more precious than in the minutes after a stroke. Now, research is confirming that a "mobile stroke unit" can rush aid to patients quickly, potentially saving lives.

"Patients who are treated early benefit from a complete reversal of stroke symptoms and avoidance of disability," said lead study author Dr. James Grotta. He is director of stroke research at the Clinical Instit...

Fish Oil, Vitamin D Won't Prevent A-Fib: Study

For people hoping to prevent the heart rhythm disorder known as "a-fib," new research shows that taking vitamin D or fish oil supplements won't help.

A-fib, also known as atrial fibrillation, affects more than 33 million people worldwide and is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm. It can cause symptoms that affect a person's quality of life, result in blood clots that can cause ...

AHA News: Study Links Green Communities to Lower Stroke Risk

The greener the neighborhood, the lower the stroke risk, a new study suggests.

Researchers matched images gathered from space to health data from residents to come up with their findings. The work adds to evidence that shows where someone lives affects their health, said study co-author Dr. William Aitken. He is a cardiology fellow at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital ...

AHA News: Young Adults Have Strokes for the Same Reason as Older Adults

Some of the same risk factors that cause strokes in older adults are associated with strokes among younger adults, a new study shows, with Black young adults facing a particularly high risk.

"We tend to have this clinical bias that if a person has a stroke at a young age, it is rare, or it must be from some atypical cause," said lead study author Dr. Tracy Madsen, an assistant professor o...

AHA News: Her Open-Heart Surgery at 4 Months Hits Home in Her 20s

When she was 12, Jennifer Tripucka was so embarrassed by the scar that runs from the middle of her stomach to the top of her chest that she asked her mother to buy gel to help lighten it.

The scar was a lingering reminder that she had open-heart surgery when she was 4 months old. Tripucka had been born with a congenital heart defect called transposition of the great arteries. The operatio...

'Race Gap' in U.S. Heart Health Has Changed Little in 20 Years: Report

Black Americans who live in rural areas are two to three times more likely to die from diabetes and high blood pressure compared with white rural folks, and this gap hasn't changed much over the last 20 years, new research shows.

The study spanned from 1999 through 2018, and will be published as a research letter in the March 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiolo...

AHA News: Sex After Stroke: New Study Highlights Survivors' Fears

Stroke survivors often have difficulty with sex, and it can affect their lives beyond the bedroom. A new study offers fresh insight on the barriers -- and how health care providers might help.

Researchers interviewed 150 stroke patients at a medical center in Lima, Peru. Nearly 60% said they suffered from some kind of sexual dysfunction. Only 10% described their sex life as optimal.

Minutes Mean Months: Getting Stroke Care Fast Is Vital, Study Confirms

For someone suffering a severe stroke, every 10 minutes that goes by before treatment starts in the emergency room may cost eight weeks of a healthy life, Canadian researchers report.

In fact, delays in the hospital may have worse consequences for recovery than delays in getting to the hospital, they noted.

"Our study confirmed that any delay in delivering appropriate stroke treatme...

Could Low-Dose Aspirin Help Shield You From COVID-19?

It's already being taken by millions to help ward off heart issues, and now preliminary research hints that daily low-dose aspirin might also cut your odds of contracting COVID-19.

As the Israeli research team noted, aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and previous studies have shown that it may help the immune system combat some viral infections. According to the researchers, aspirin was wid...

Men Worldwide Have Shorter Life Spans Than Women

Why are men over 50 around the world 60% more likely than women to die early?

Two big reasons are higher rates of smoking and heart disease, according to a large new study.

The findings are based on an analysis of data from more than 179,000 people in 28 countries. Fifty-five percent were women.

Researchers examined how socioeconomic (education, wealth), lifestyle (smoking, al...

AHA News: RAPIDO -- a New Spanish Acronym to Raise Stroke Awareness

Researchers have developed a new Spanish acronym aimed to raise awareness of stroke symptoms in the Hispanic community. Known as RAPIDO, it seeks to replicate the popular FAST mnemonic that exists in English.

Studies show that while Hispanic adults currently have a similar rate of stroke as their non-Hispanic white counterparts, they are not as aware of the symptoms. A Centers for Disease...

AHA News: After Stroke, Heart Surgery and Heart Attack, Runner Vows to Reclaim Her Strength

Michelle Whiteman woke up and realized that her left arm felt numb. She figured it was a pinched nerve and made an appointment to see her chiropractor.

The 40-year-old hair stylist who was getting her master's degree in special education felt in excellent health. She'd been running nearly every morning for almost a decade. A year earlier, she'd reached her goal of completing the Philadelp...

'Alexa, Is My Heartbeat Healthy?'

One in four U.S. households use smart speakers to check the weather, play music and query search engines. But a new technology may soon have folks asking, "Hey Google, how's my heart?"

Researchers from the University of Washington, Seattle, have developed a skill for Amazon Alexa and Google Home that allows the devices to check heart rhythms.

Like a bat using echolocation to hunt fo...

Your Eyes May Signal Your Risk for Stroke, Dementia

Your eyes may be a window into the health of your brain, a new study indicates.

Researchers found that older adults with the eye disease retinopathy were at increased risk of having a stroke, as well as possible symptoms of dementia. And on average, they died sooner than people their age without the eye condition.

Retinopathy refers to a disease the retina, the light-sensing tissue ...

Depression Often Follows Stroke, and Women Are at Higher Risk

The trauma and loss of stroke can often leave survivors with long-term depression, and women appear to be at special risk, new research shows.

"We did not expect that the cumulative risk of depression would remain so persistently elevated," said study author Dr. Laura Stein, an assistant professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, in New York City.

She said ...

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