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:

Heart Health

5 Common Questions About Sex and Your Heart

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By Steven Nissen, MD Cleveland Clinic Patients often ask me: Is sex good for your heart? The question seems simple. The answer is complicated, in part because of the limits of what research can tell us. But we do have a strong sense that sex fits in with a heart-healthy lifestyle. Below are answers to five common questions. 1. Is sex exercise?

Heart Health

New "Heart Attack Gene" Discovered

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Researchers have found a previously undiscovered gene variation that reduces heart attack risk, and the discovery could lead to better treatment of high cholesterol and related disorders. The finding, by a team from the University of Michigan and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, took six years of analysis.

Heart Health

Key Heart Failure Culprit Discovered

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A team of cardiovascular researchers from at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NewYork and the University of California, San Diego have identified a small but powerful new player in the onset and progression of heart failure. Their findings, published in the journal Nature on March 12th 2014, also show how they successfully blocked the newly discovered culprit to halt the debilitating and chronic life-threatening condition in its tracks.

Heart Health

The “Demonization” of Saturated Fats?

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After President Eisenhower had a heart attack in his 50s, the erroneous belief that diets low in saturated fat curb heart disease risk was strengthened, according to Dr, James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy based in Ithaca, New York. His editorial appears online in the March 2014 issue of Open Heart, a journal published by the British Medical Association. Dr.

Heart Health

Anger and Heart Attacks

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For some people, anger could literally be a killer. A new study has found that there’s a nearly fivefold increase in heart attack risk in the two hours following an outburst. “There has been a lot of research on anger; we already know it can be unhealthy, but we wanted to quantify the risk, not just for heart attack, but for other potentially lethal cardiovascular events as well,” said lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky, MPH, ScD, a post-doctoral fellow in the cardiovascular epidemiological unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Heart Health

Blood Test to Detect Heart Attacks Quickly

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A new blood test can detect heart attacks hours faster than the current gold-standard blood test, according to a study led by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers and published in 2014 in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Heart Health

Pulling Teeth May Not Reduce Cardiac Infection Risk

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When patients have the potentially dangerous combination of abscessed or infected teeth and the need for heart surgery, the problem teeth often are removed before surgery to reduce the risk of infections including potentially lethal endocarditis. However a study done at the Mayo Clinic and published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery found that roughly 1 in 10 heart surgery patients who had teeth extracted before surgery died or had adverse outcomes such as a stroke or kidney failure.

Heart Health

A Better Measure of Obesity-Related Death Risk

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A new technique for measuring obesity may soon replace the classic BMI measurement, according to new research. The technique, known as ABSI (A Body Shape Index), was developed by Dr. Nir Krakauer, an assistant professor of civil engineering from City College of New York, and his father, Dr. Jesse Krakauer, MD The team tested the technique and published a follow-up study in the online journal PLoS ONE, that supports their contention that the technique, known as A Body Shape Index (ABSI), is a more effective predictor of mortality than Body Mass Index (BMI).

Heart Health

Study: Blood Pressure Should Be Taken in Both Arms

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To get the best possible blood pressure reading, health care practitioners should start taking readings using both arms, because a difference between the two readings indicates a significantly higher risk of heart disease, new research shows. Most blood pressure measurements are taken using only one arm. Although the link between heart disease and differences in “interarm” readings had been suspected, this is the first study that provides statistics supporting that theory.

Heart Health

"Sticky Blood" and Strokes

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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.

Heart Health

Post-Stroke Blood Pressure Treatment Not Always Effective

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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.

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.

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.  

Heart Health

New Guidelines for Preventing Stroke in Women

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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:

Heart Health

Spousal Supportiveness = Better Heart Health

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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.

Heart Health

Patients, Have a Statin Discussion with Your Doctor

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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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