September 2018

Your Heart Is Your Responsibility

If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or have been diagnosed with heart or vascular disease, what are you doing to lessen the likelihood you will suffer a heart attack or stroke? Are you eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising? Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control? Have you tossed your cigarettes to thecurb?   More...

Heart Beat: September 2018

Patients with type 1 diabetes require multiple insulin injections a day. This can make it difficult to keep blood glucose levels within the ideal range. Now there’s a smartphone app that can help. The Guardian Connect continuous glucose monitoring system works hand-in-hand with the Sugar:IQ app to analyze how patients’ glucose levels are responding in real time to food intake, insulin and other variables. Data are sent to the cloud for processing, and the information is returned to the app for viewing on an iPhone. The system helps patients identify foods and habits that cause their glucose to spike, as well as times of the day or week when glucose levels fluctuate. This allows them to adjust their insulin use accordingly. In a pilot study, patients using the system spent 33 minutes more per day in the ideal glucose range and had one less hyperglycemic event per month. When the Sugar:IQ app explained the dangers of hypoglycemia, the number of hypoglycemic events dropped in more than half of app users. The system, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is now being retooled for Android users.   More...

Stay Active After a Heart Attack

Subscribers Only — “If you were not active before your heart attack, it’s particularly important that you make exercise a priority. If you were active before your heart attack, don’t be afraid to resume the same activities, once you get clearance from your physician,” he says. “The best way to do this is to enroll in a cardiac rehab program. In fact, we recommend cardiac rehab for all patients after a heart attack.”   More...

What Vitamins Should You Take to Improve Your Heart Health?

Subscribers Only — A Chinese study (included in the JACC paper) found that folic acid supplements reduced the risk of stroke 22 percent overall and 73 percent in participants who took folic acid in addition to their blood pressure medication. But those findings might be different if a similar study were conducted in the U.S., where cereals, breads, pasta and rice are fortified with folic acid. “The Chinese diet is lower in folate than our diet. It is unclear whether additional dietary folate would be beneficial here,” says Dr. Hazen.   More...

Alternative Anticoagulants Gaining in Popularity

The first DOAC was approved for stroke prevention in AFib in October 2010. Until that time, the only option was warfarin. Although this old standby is highly effective, its dose must be raised gradually, and patients must undergo regular testing to ensure they maintain enough anticoagulant to prevent clots without incurring unwanted bleeding. They must also eliminate a long list of vitamin K-containing vegetables and fruits from their diet.   More...

Small Pumps Help Failing Hearts

Subscribers Only — Patients with heart failure rely on multiple medications to keep their heart pumping as efficiently as possible. For many, medications slow the progression of heart failure long enough so they can live a normal length and quality of life. But when maximum medical therapy no longer controls the symptoms of heart failure, other measures may be necessary. These options include ventricular assist devices (VADs), which provide new hope for selected patients with advanced heart failure.   More...

Hidden Sources of Salt May Be Raising Your Blood Pressure

It’s no surprise that bacon, sausage and lunchmeats are sky-high in sodium. But many top offenders don’t taste salty. These include ketchup, bread, processed cheese, breakfast cereals, bottled salad dressings, canned soups and nearly any frozen, boxed food. That means you have to make an extra effort to read labels in order to understand the sodium content of what you areeating.   More...

Ask The Doctors: September 2018

You can improve your sleep habits by getting regular exercise, avoiding daytime naps, avoiding caffeine and powering down electronics before bed. Maintain a strict sleep schedule, which means going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. If you’re overweight, snore or have been told you stop breathing during sleep, see a sleep specialist and be evaluated for sleep apnea. Otherwise, if you have insomnia or other type of sleep problem, avoid rushing to use over-the-counter sleep aids. Work with your health provider to determine the cause and discuss remedies.   More...