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Guys, Can You Do 40 Push-Ups? Heart-Healthy Life May Be Yours

FRIDAY, Feb. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- If you're a 40-something guy and can't do 40 push-ups in a row, maybe it's time to do something about it.

A new study suggests the number of push-ups a middle-aged man can perform might be an indication of his overall heart health.

Men who can do more than 40 at a time have a 96 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and heart ...

AHA News: Heart Transplant Survivor Gets Wedding Proposal at Finish Line

THURSDAY, Feb. 14, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Given the choice of walking 3 miles or 1 mile, Amanda "Mandi" Tate always opts for the longer route at the Tampa Bay Heart Walk.

In 2015, her boyfriend Patrick Shelley and childhood friend Jessica Dosio joined her.

When Mandi ran off to grab something, Jessica asked Patrick what she'd been asking him for months: ...

Could Diet Sodas Raise an Older Woman's Stroke Risk?

THURSDAY, Feb. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Older women, beware: New research warns that drinking a lot of diet sodas or artificially sweetened fruit juices may increase your risk for stroke.

In a study that tracked nearly 82,000 postmenopausal women, those who drank two or more diet drinks per day saw their overall stroke risk rise by 23 percent, compared with those who consumed diet...

Does PTSD Really Harm Veterans' Hearts?

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- By itself, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't raise the risk of heart disease for U.S. veterans, a new study finds.

"Instead, a combination of physical disorders, psychiatric disorders and smoking -- that are more common in patients with PTSD versus without PTSD -- appear to explain the association between PTSD and developing car...

Food or Heart Meds? Many Americans Must Make a Choice

TUESDAY, Feb. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of Americans with heart disease say they face financial strain because of their medical care, with some skipping meds or cutting back on basics like groceries.

That's the finding of a new national study of heart disease and stroke patients younger than 65 -- a group that's too young for Medicare but often lack health insurance, or "g...

Opioids May Signal Poorer Outcomes for Heart Patients: Study

MONDAY, Feb. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Heart patients prescribed opioid painkillers when they leave the hospital may be less likely to get follow-up care and slightly more likely to die, a new study finds.

It included nearly 2,500 patients discharged from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., after treatment for heart attack, sudden heart failure or both between...

Blood Thinning Drug May Be Safer Option Against Recurrent Stroke

THURSDAY, Feb. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Taking the blood thinner Pletal (cilostazol) with either aspirin or clopidogrel (best known as Plavix) lowers stroke patients' risk of a subsequent stroke better than taking aspirin or clopidogrel alone, a new study finds.

The Japanese study was funded by Pletal's maker, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, and tracked outcomes for people with the most co...

Strict Blood Pressure Control Could Help Make Stroke Care Safer

THURSDAY, Feb. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For patients who receive clot-busting drugs after a stroke, intensive blood pressure lowering is safe and it reduces their risk of bleeding in the brain, a new study finds.

Brain bleeds are a major potential side effect of clot-busting drugs. But the use of extreme blood pressure lowering to reduce that risk in patients who take the drugs aft...

Better Heart Care Saves U.S. Billions a Year, Study Finds

THURSDAY, Feb. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Efforts to keep seniors heart-healthy have saved tens of billions of dollars in U.S. health care costs in recent years, researchers say.

Between 2005 and 2012, health care spending among people 65 and older fell an average of nearly $3,000 per person a year, the new study found. That adds up to a total savings of $120 billion, with about half...

AHA News: Actress Susan Lucci Thriving After Emergency Heart Procedure

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- As the saleswoman took Susan Lucci's purchases to be wrapped, the actress felt it again -- a tightening in her chest that radiated around her ribcage.

She'd felt something similar twice in recent weeks. Both had been mild enough to dismiss.

This time, Lucci described it as "an elephant pressing on my chest." Usin...

Rethinking Blood Pressure Readings

TUESDAY, Feb. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- "140/90" had long been the line in the sand for getting high blood pressure under control. But in 2017, leading medical organizations lowered the definitions of normal, elevated and high blood pressure with the idea that starting treatment at lower "high" levels can better reduce heart attacks and strokes.

This dramatically added to the numb...

AHA: 7 Things That Can Affect the Heart -- And What to Do About Them

FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- Debby Schrecengast's blood pressure was "through the roof." She had gained a lot weight. A history of heart disease ran deep in her immediate family.

When she looks back at herself in 2014, the year she suffered a stroke, she sees a "stubborn old donkey" in denial about her health.

"I had let my blood pressure go uncontr...

Is Brexit a Health Hazard?

FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Thousands more deaths from heart disease and stroke could occur in England if Brexit goes ahead, researchers warn.

Fruits and vegetables play an important role in heart health, and the United Kingdom is highly dependent on imported produce, the authors of a new study explained.

Brexit -- the U.K.'s withdrawal from the European Union ...

Statins Help the Heart, No Matter What Your Age

FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cholesterol-lowering statins are already known to help cut heart risks for seniors and the middle-aged. Now, research confirms the meds can also help people aged 75 and older.

"Statin therapy has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease in a wide range of people, but there has been uncertainty about its efficacy and safety among older peop...

Nearly Half of American Adults Have Unhealthy Hearts: Report

THURSDAY, Jan. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, heart disease or a history of stroke, a new report shows.

That figure is up sharply from what the American Heart Association (AHA) reported last year -- largely because of changes in the definition of high blood pressure. In 2017, guidelines lowered the threshold to 130/80 mm Hg, down fro...

An Upbeat Attitude Might Help Prevent 2nd Stroke

THURSDAY, Jan. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- If you've had a stroke, a positive outlook might just help prevent another one, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that when people felt they could protect themselves from a second stroke, they had lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for a recurrent stroke.

"You can protect yourself against...

'Extreme' Exercise No Danger to Middle-Aged Hearts: Study

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged men who partake in extreme exercise are not putting their heart health at risk, a new study contends.

Aging athletes who do eight or more hours a week of vigorous exercise have no greater risk of early death than people who work out less often, researchers found.

Extreme exercise included activities such as fast runnin...

Vaping Tied to Rise in Stroke, Heart Attack Risk

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- People who vape might increase their odds of suffering a stroke, heart attack or heart disease, a new study suggests.

Federal survey data revealed that compared with nonusers, people who use e-cigarettes have a:

  • 71 percent higher risk of stroke.
  • 59 percent higher risk of heart attack or angina.
  • 40 percent ...

Dirty Air Tied to Raised Risk of Strokes, Shorter Lives

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Americans who live and work in counties with dirty air have a shorter life expectancy and are more likely to die from a stroke, a new study suggests.

For the study, researchers analyzed health and air pollution data gathered from nearly 1,600 counties across the United States between 2005 and 2010. The study focused on adults aged 35 and ol...

Climate Change Could Bring More Infant Heart Defects: Study

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Climate change could lead to more U.S. babies born with congenital heart defects, researchers say.

Specifically, they concluded that hotter temperatures may lead to as many as 7,000 additional cases between 2025 and 2035 in eight representative states: Arkansas, Texas, California, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and Utah.

...

Flu May Up the Odds of Stroke, Neck Artery Tears

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Flu can make you deathly ill, but it could also trigger a stroke or a rupture in your neck arteries, two new studies suggest.

The findings prompted an urgent reminder from the researchers: Getting a flu shot will not only protect you against infection but may also reduce your risk for these serious complications.

Researchers in th...

Another Opioid Scourge: Infection-Related Strokes

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- As abuse of injected heroin and other addictive opioids spreads throughout the United States, heart experts warn of a growing threat: strokes caused by infections contracted through dirty needles.

"People need to be more aware that stroke can be a devastating complication of injecting opioids," said the lead author of a new study, Dr. Setar...

What If You Were Your Own Blood Donor for Surgery?

TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Heart surgery patients may fare better if they have their own blood "recycled" and given back to them during the procedure, a preliminary study suggests.

The study focused on so-called "intraoperative autologous" blood donation -- where patients have some blood removed at the start of surgery for their own use. The goal is to avoid transfusi...

AHA: This Family Walks to Honor a Young Life Lost to Heart Condition

TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- "I'm going to be there -- I'm part of Team Glenn!" Lauren Harris told her father, Glenn, in 2017.

Although she was recovering from shoulder surgery, she told her dad she wasn't about to miss the opportunity to join him at the Heart Walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma, along with her mother, Dorothy, and older sister, Emilie Martin.

...

Breast Cancer May Bring Higher Odds for A-fib, Too

TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women diagnosed with breast cancer may face a higher risk of developing the abnormal heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (a-fib), Danish researchers report.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. In 2018, more than 2 million women were diagnosed with the disease. The inflammation the disease causes might increase the ...

Cardiologist Groups Say Newer Blood Thinners Best Against A-Fib

MONDAY, Jan. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Newer blood thinners are recommended over warfarin for people with the heart condition called atrial fibrillation (a-fib) in updated treatment guidelines issued by three major American heart groups.

The newer drugs are called non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs). Examples include dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixaban (E...

Smoking Puts Blacks at High Risk of Serious Artery Disease: Study

MONDAY, Jan. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking increases black Americans' risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a new study warns.

PAD -- a narrowing of arteries that provide blood to the arms, legs, brain and other organs such as the kidneys -- can lead to stroke, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, pain in the legs when walking and loss of limbs.

Black Americans a...

AHA: Another Day at the Office -- Thanks to a Defibrillator Close at Hand

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- On National Wear Red Day in 2018, few people at the Nashville law firm Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop took notice of the occasion, which calls attention to heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women.

"I think we had forgotten about it being that day," said Tania Freeman, the firm's business development officer.

Will Healthy Seniors Benefit From Daily Aspirin?

TUESDAY, Jan. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for heart attack survivors or people at increased risk, but up to now experts have discouraged the practice for aging individuals in good health.

Now, a new evidence review suggests that some healthy seniors and middle-aged adults might gain a bit of benefit from taking daily aspirin.

Low-dose a...

Eating Before Bedtime Won't Send Blood Sugar Levels Soaring

TUESDAY, Jan. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Avoiding food before bedtime probably won't help your blood sugar levels and health, a new study suggests.

Some experts say not eating for two hours before going to bed helps prevent high blood sugar (glucose) levels and related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. But there is no clear evidence to support this theory.

...

Money Woes May Take Toll on Black Americans' Hearts

THURSDAY, Jan. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Money worries may contribute to heart disease in black Americans, a new study suggests.

"Stress is known to contribute to disease risk, but the data from our study suggest a possible relationship between financial stress and heart disease that clinicians should be aware of as we research and develop interventions to address social determinan...

How Getting a Flu Shot Could Save Your Life

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- It's not too late to get your flu shot, which can protect you in ways that may surprise you.

The flu vaccine can be a lifesaver for people with heart disease, according to infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Chang, assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"Previous studies ha...

AHA: Infection as a Baby Led to Heart Valve Surgery for Teen

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- In middle school, Prince Pratt used to get short of breath walking between classes, walking up the stairs or when exercising. And he was gaining weight.

His father, Reggie, simply thought his son was lazy.

So, Reggie began including Prince in his workouts. They ran trails behind their house in Olney, Maryland, which ...

Heart-Healthy Living Also Wards Off Type 2 Diabetes

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There could be an added bonus to keeping your cardiovascular health on track -- a heart-healthy lifestyle can also prevent type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

And it's better to prevent type 2 diabetes than to have to treat it, the Ohio State University researchers added.

"Healthy people need to work to stay healthy. Follow the guid...

Social Support Key to Good Mental Health After Stroke: Study

MONDAY, Jan. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Two-thirds of stroke survivors who live at home have good mental health, and social support plays an important role, researchers say.

The new study included 300 stroke survivors, aged 50 and older, in Canada. Survivors living in long-term care facilities, who tend to have the most serious disabilities, were not included.

Stroke surv...

Why Your Heart Needs a Good Night's Sleep

MONDAY, Jan. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Six hours: That's the minimum amount of sleep per night you need to help your heart stay healthy, new research suggests.

The study found that chronic lack of sleep and poor sleep quality raise the odds of fatty plaque accumulation in arteries -- a condition known as atherosclerosis, which increases the odds of heart attack and stroke.

...

AHA: Breastfeeding May Help a Mom's Heart

THURSDAY, Jan. 10, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- Studies have long touted the benefits of breastfeeding for infants, including stronger immune systems and lower risk for asthma, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. But babies aren't the only ones benefiting: Nursing also appears to provide health benefits for moms.

Research suggests women who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and...

Animal Study Suggests Ritalin Won't Harm the Heart

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Ritalin, a widely used stimulant drug to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), likely poses no risk of heart damage in children, new research in monkeys suggests.

The findings are "very reassuring," said the study's principal investigator, Dr. Steven Lipshultz.

Each year, more than 1.8 million children in the Unit...

AHA: Cardiac Arrest Survivor Reunites With Bystanders Who Saved Him

TUESDAY, Jan. 8, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- On a Monday in August, Steve Regier came home early from his office to prepare for a conference call later at home in Wichita, Kan. Needing a break from a day of meetings, he decided to squeeze in a run.

With the thermometer past 95 degrees, Steve normally would have logged miles on his treadmill. But a remodeling of the kitchen f...

Job Insecurity May Take a Toll on Your Heart

MONDAY, Jan. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Losing a job or taking a big pay cut is hard on more than just your checkbook -- it might drastically increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or death.

A new study finds that people who endure large swings in income over the years are much more likely to develop heart disease or suffer a premature death.

"We found t...

Stroke, Heart Events Can Sideline You From Work

MONDAY, Jan. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- After having a stroke, heart attack or cardiac arrest, people are less likely to be employed than their healthy peers, new research shows.

Even if they are working, they may earn significantly less than people who haven't had a stroke or heart event, the investigators found.

Although the majority of people who have one of these seriou...

Cholesterol Levels Spike After Christmas

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- After indulging in big, rich, holiday meals, cholesterol levels go through the roof, Danish researchers report.

After Christmas, cholesterol levels jumped 20 percent from summer levels among the 25,000 people studied.

Your risk of having high cholesterol becomes six times higher after the Christmas break, the scientists said.

...

Some Diabetes Drugs Linked to Higher Heart Risks

FRIDAY, Dec. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Two common classes of type 2 diabetes drugs may lower blood sugar levels, but new research suggests those same drugs might boost the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

The drug classes in question are sulfonylureas and basal insulin. Sulfonylureas cause the body to release more insulin. They're taken orally and have been used sinc...

Heart Risks High in Older Cancer Patients <i>Before</i> Diagnosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- There's a significant rise in the risk of heart attack and stroke in older people in the months before they're diagnosed with cancer, a new study finds.

"Our data show there is an associated risk of ischemic stroke and heart attack that begins to increase in the five months before the cancer is officially diagnosed, and peaks in the month just...

1 in 4 People Over 25 Will Be Hit by Stroke

THURSDAY, Dec. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A quarter of the world's people over the age of 25 will experience a debilitating stroke during their lifetime, a new study estimates.

Rates vary country to country, but in the United States 23 percent to 29 percent of people can expect a stroke sometime in their lives, concluded a team led by Dr. Gregory Roth.

He's professor of h...

Known Risks Don't Explain Blacks' Higher Rates of Sudden Cardiac Death

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A sizable study still can't explain why black Americans are much more likely than whites to suffer sudden cardiac death.

"At the end of the day, we just don't have a full understanding of why patients who are black are more likely to succumb to [sudden cardiac death] -- a clear problem and knowledge gap on many levels," said study lead aut...

Take High Blood Pressure Meds? Exercise Might Work Just as Well

TUESDAY, Dec. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you have high blood pressure, hitting the gym may be as helpful as taking drugs to lower your numbers, researchers say.

There's "compelling evidence that combining endurance and dynamic resistance training was effective in reducing [blood pressure]," according to the authors of a new report.

The British researchers stressed that ...

Heart Surgery Won't Cause Brain Decline, New Study Says

TUESDAY, Dec. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Major heart surgery does not cause significant memory decline in older patients, a new study finds.

Researchers found no greater risk for loss of brain function among patients who had heart surgery compared to those who had a much less invasive procedure called cardiac catheterization.

"We expected to find a bigger difference in th...

Do Paramedics Shortchange Women With Heart Trouble?

MONDAY, Dec. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Women who call 911 for a possible heart attack may get different treatment from paramedics than men do, a new U.S. study suggests.

Researchers found that ambulance crews were less likely to give recommended treatments, such as aspirin, to women with chest pain. Paramedics were also less likely to turn on their sirens while transporting female ...

Fast Facts for Men (and Women) About High Cholesterol

MONDAY, Dec. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- High cholesterol, a serious risk factor for heart disease, can affect both men and women, and it's common for cholesterol levels to rise with age. But it's often a problem for men earlier in life than for women.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that men with less-t...

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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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