Heart Health

Just as an engine makes a car go, your heart keeps your body running. Heart disease is a wide-reaching term to describe a range of conditions that affect the heart. The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with “cardiovascular disease” and generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or heart failure. Other heart conditions, such as infections and conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or beating rhythm, are also considered forms of heart disease. There are dozens of cardiovascular diseases—the following are the most common:

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Heart Health

"Sticky Blood" and Strokes

Posted by Jane Farrell

Scientists at Imperial College London have discovered that iron deficiency may increase the risk of stroke by making blood stickier and more vulnerable to dangerous clothing. The Imperial team found that iron deficiency increases the stickiness of platelets, small blood cells that initiate blood clotting when they stick together.

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Heart Health

Post-Stroke Blood Pressure Treatment Not Always Effective

Posted by Jane Farrell

Giving blood pressure lowering medications to patients who have suffered a stroke doesn’t reduce their likelihood of death or major disability, according to a new study. The study was published inJAMA. At least 25 percent of the population has high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk of stroke. Lowering blood pressure has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke.

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Heart Health

Electrical Energy to Treat AFib

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Among patients with untreated intermittent)atrial fibrillation, treatment with electrical energy, called radiofrequency ablation, resulted in a lower rate of abnormal atrial rhythms and episodes of AFib, according to a study in the February 19th 2014 issue of the Journal of the Americn Medical Association.

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Heart Health

Heart Patients Now Less Likely to Die of Heart Disease

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Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN were pleasantly surprised to find that more people who have known coronary heart disease die from other causes — such as cancer, and lung and neurological diseases — than heart disease, compared with 20 years ago. The study was published online on February 10th 2014 in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.  

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Heart Health

New Guidelines for Preventing Stroke in Women

Posted by Jane Farrell

For the first time, researchers have developed guidelines for preventing women from having strokes. "If you are a woman, you share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but your risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other sex-related factors," said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., M.H.S., author of the statement published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. The guidelines outline stroke risks for women women and provide recommendations on how o treat them, including:

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Heart Health

Spousal Supportiveness = Better Heart Health

Posted by Jane Farrell

Supportiveness from a spouse can help people fare better in their overall cardiovascular health, according to a new study. The findings, by researchers from the University of Utah, show that when partners perceive the support they get from each other as ambivalent – sometimes helpful, sometimes stressful – their levels of   coronary artery calcification (CAC) tend to be high. The findings were published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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Heart Health

Patients, Have a Statin Discussion with Your Doctor

Posted by Jane Farrell

Patients and physicians should work together to decide on individualized treatments based on new statin guidelines, according to a commentary by three Mayo Clinic doctors. The guidelines, issued last year by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, called for caregivers to prescribe statins to healthy patients if their 10-year cardiovascular risk is 7.5 percent or higher.

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Heart Health

When Good Cholesterol Goes Bad

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A dysfunctional version of the normally protective protein that makes high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the so-called "good cholesterol" –promotes inflammation and coronary artery disease. That’s the finding of researchers at the Cleveland Clinic who discovered the process by which HDL loses its cardio-protective properties, and instead causes atherosclerosis, or the clogging and hardening of the arteries. Their research was published online January 26th 2014  in the journal Nature Medicine.

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Heart Health

Hope for New Meds for Heart Arrhythmia

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A common mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, is calcium overload in the heart. However, the underlying mechanism has remained a mystery for decades. Now findings published in the January 19th 2014 edition of the journal Nature Medicine report the discovery of a physiological process that causes the calcium-triggered arrhythmias. The researchers at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta in Canada hope their work will one day help design molecularly tailored medications that correct the pathophysiology.

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Heart Health

Surprise! Dense Heart Plaques Are Better, Not Worse

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A surprise finding of study led by researchers at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine shows that that coronary artery calcium (CAC) density may be protective against cardiovascular events rather than raising the risk of disease as has long been assumed. A release from the university quotes lead author Michael H. Criqui, MD, MPH as saying, "Current scoring systems assume that denser heart plaque (CAC) is more hazardous, but we found the opposite.

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Heart Health

New BP Guidelines Questioned

Posted by Sondra Forsyth Sondra Forsyth

On December 19th 2013, ThirdAge.com reported on the new hypertension guidelines from The American Society of Hypertension Inc. and the International Society of Hypertension. The revised recommendation was150/90 for people 60+ before starting treatment, up from the recommendation of 140/80 that has been the standard for 30 years.

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Heart Health

5 Reasons Senior Heart Patients Need Exercise

Posted by Jane Farrell

Editor’s Note: You might think that the best course is to simply rest if you have heart disease. But doing the right kind of exercise can benefit you in some very substantial ways. Here, the American Council on Exercise and the Cleveland Clinic offer some suggestions to get you going. Remember, though, to talk with your doctor before beginning or resuming any exercise program, and to follow his or her recommendationis for the right exercises for you. 1. Exercise Optimizes Heart Health.

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Heart Health

A Patch for Tracking Heart Rhythms

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Research done at the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego has found that a small adhesive wireless device worn on the chest for up to two weeks does a better job detecting abnormal and potentially dangerous heart rhythms than the Holter monitor that has been the standard of care for more than 50 years.