Heart Health

Your heart keeps your body running. And we keep you on top of everything you need to know about heart health so that you’re in the know.

Heart Health

Crucial Heart-Disease Devices Benefit People of Color

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Racial and ethnic minorities who get implantable devices to treat heart failure derive the same survival benefit as white patients, new research shows. But non-white patients are getting the devices at a much lower rate. The study, one of the largest to compare the survival benefits of the devices by race and ethnicity, looked at 15,000 patients from 167 medical practices across the U.S. The findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Heart Health

Good Neighbors May Curb Heart Attack Risk

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Although some studies suggest that the factors such as area violence and noise can negatively affect cardiovascular health, few studies have looked at the potential health enhancing effects of positive local neighborhood characteristics. This prompted the authors of an article published in 2014 in BMJ to track the cardiovascular health of over 5000 US adults with no known heart problems over a period of four years, starting in 2006. Their average age was 70, and almost two thirds were women and married (62%).

Heart Health

Mayo Clinic Challenges Cholesterol Guideline

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A Mayo Clinic task force has challenged some recommendations in the updated guideline for cholesterol treatment that was unveiled by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) in 2013. The task force concludes, based on current evidence, that not all patients encouraged to take cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins may benefit from them and that the guideline missed some important conditions that might benefit from medication.

High blood pressure / hypertension

BP, Lower May Not Be Better

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The mantra for treatment for high blood pressure has been "the lower, the better," but that goal can potentially put patients at risk of kidney failure or death, according to a study done Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles and published August 4th 2014 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.Researchers examined the electronic health records of nearly 400,000 Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California who were taking medications to treat high blood pressure from January 2006 through December 2010. They found that:

Heart Health

A Non-Invasive Procedure That Helps Heart Patients

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A minimally invasive procedure can significantly reduce the likelihood of heart disease-related deaths among adults with atrial fibrillation.A long-term study from the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center found that the procedure, catheter ablation, helps atrial-fibrillation patients lower their risk of dying from a heart attack or heart failure.

Heart Health

Women With a Heart Attack Fare Worse Than Men

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While awareness campaigns may be getting women to go to the hospital more quickly during a heart-attack, a new look at hospital data shows women have longer hospital stays and are more likely than men to die in the hospital after a heart attack.For the study published online July 21st 2014 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers from Yale School of Medicine analyzed 230,684 hospitalizations for heart attack in patients age 30 to 54 from a total of 1.1 million hospitalizations reported in a national database from 2001 to 2010.

Heart Health

Potassium May Save Lives for Heart Patients on Diuretics

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Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that patients taking prescription potassium supplements together with loop diuretics for heart failure have better survival rates than patients taking diuretics without the potassium. The degree of benefit increases with higher diuretic doses. The team, including senior author Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology in Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), report their findings in a study published online July 16th 2014 in PLoS ONE.

Heart Health

Niacin Linked to Death Risk

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Niacin has been a mainstay of cholesterol therapy for 50 years, but Northwestern Medicine preventive cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D. maintains that the drug should no longer be prescribed for most patients due to potential increased risk of death, dangerous side effects, and no benefit in reducing heart attacks and strokes. His editorial was published in the July 17th 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Heart Health

Cheaper & Better Drug for Heart Attack Procedure

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A study done in the UK and published in The Lancet on July 4th 2014 compares outcomes for two drugs used to prevent blood clot formation during emergency heart attack treatment. The study suggests that use of one of the drugs, heparin, could result in improved outcomes such as a reduced rate of repeat heart attacks, compared to the other drug tested, bivalirudin, which is in widespread use in high-income countries and is around 400 times more expensive than heparin.

Heart Health

Painless AFib Treatment

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A technique called cardiac optogenetics achieves defibrillation without the pain of electric shocks, according to research presented on July 4th at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting is organized by the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Science of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in collaboration with 13 European cardiovascular science societies.

Heart Health

Unnecessary Blood Tests Waste Money

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Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center used two relatively simple tactics to significantly reduce the number of unnecessary blood tests to assess symptoms of heart attack and chest pain and to achieve a large decrease in patient charges.

Heart Health

Women and Heart Disease: A New RIsk

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Hormonal changes during menopause could increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, researchers have found.The study, by investigators from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was done by using an advanced method to analyze “cholesterol carriers” in the blood. The researchers found that during the transition to menopause, the quality of those carriers degrades.Investigators said the study showed that the quality of cholesterol carriers could be as important as cholesterol numbers.

Heart Health

For Women, Improving Accuracy of Heart Disease Diagnosis

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Diagnosing coronary heart disease in women has become more accurate through gender-specific research that clarifies the role of both obstructive and non-obstructive coronary artery disease as contributors to ischemic heart disease in females, according to a statement published in June 2014 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

High blood pressure / hypertension
Senior Health

Diuretics Risky for Older Adults

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Adults over 65 with high blood pressure who have recently begun taking thiazide diuretics are at a greater risk for developing metabolic-related adverse events including acute kidney injury, according to research done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco. The study was published in June 2014 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

High blood pressure / hypertension

Lower BP Not Always Better

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For decades, common medical wisdom has been "the lower the better" in treating the approximately one in three people in this country who have high blood pressure. But does that approach result in reduced risk for dangerous heart events? Not necessarily, according to research done at Wake Forest Baptists Medical Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and published in the June 16th online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Heart Health

A Better Assessment Tool For Heart-Disease Risk

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An international team of researchers has created a heart disease risk assessment tool designed to better evaluate the likelihood of heart disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.People with rheumatoid arthritis are twice as likely as the average person to develop heart problems.

Exercise
Heart Health
Stress Management
Stress-Free Living

Why Stress & Overexertion Trigger Heart Attacks

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Scientists believe they have an explanation for the axiom that stress, emotional shock, and overexertion may trigger heart attacks in vulnerable people. Hormones released during these events appear to cause bacterial biofilms on arterial walls to disperse, allowing plaque deposits to rupture into the bloodstream, according to research published in published in June 2014 in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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