February 2019

Should You Be Concerned If Your Heart Rate Is Too Fast or Too Slow?

Many times, bradycardia is caused by a problem with the heart's sinoatrial (SA) node. This so-called "natural pacemaker" is a cluster of cells in the right atrium that sends electrical signals to help control the heartbeat. An SA that does not work properly can cause the heart rate to slow down, speed up or become inconsistent. Sometimes, a pacemaker is required. A pacemaker that detects bradycardia sends a signal to the heart that restores a healthy rate.   More...

Heart Beat: February 2019

Obese individuals tend to have other risk factors for heart attack and stroke, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. That has caused the role of obesity as a cardiovascular risk factor to be questioned. A study spearheaded at Cleveland Clinic suggests that it is. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of five studies with a total of 900,000 participants in which a genetic polymorphism associated with obesity was used to determine its potential link to cardiovascular outcomes. They found that as body-mass index rose above the mean, risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) rose with it. No connection between obesity and stroke was seen. Although these results do not prove that obesity causes diabetes and CAD, they strongly suggest that obesity increases the risk these issues will develop ( JAMA Network Open, November 2018) .   More...

Learn the Most Common Symptoms of Heart Failure

Subscribers Only — "It's good to know the symptoms of heart failure, because they can indicate that your heart is not functioning as well as it should. After you begin treatment, if your symptoms appear less often or become less severe, it tells us that your medications and lifestyle adjustments are working well to keep your heart performing to the best of its ability," says Cleveland Clinic heart failure specialist David Taylor, MD.   More...

Exercises for People Who Think They Can't Exercise

Subscribers Only — Some models are convertible, meaning they can be used by either the hands or feet. If balance is your main issue, pedaling with your feet while sitting in a chair may be easier than you think. In fact, you want to seek a gym with a recumbent cycle and try it out. It's basically a bicycle you ride while sitting in a chair with full back support.   More...

Safer Repair Now Available for Leaky Tricuspid Valves

The tricuspid valve initially received less attention because it fails less often, but also because treating the valve was a more daunting prospect. Patients with tricuspid disease often have mitral valve disease, as well as hypertension, atrial fibrillation and other problems. Although the valve can be repaired or replaced surgically, the operation carries a mortality rate as high as 35 percent and may not completely eliminate regurgitation.   More...

The Best Defense Against Type 2 Diabetes Is Knowledge

Subscribers Only — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes within five years, if it's not treated. Diabetes is a major risk factor for early death from heart attack, stroke and many cancers. It also increases the risk of kidney disease, blindness and amputation. But these outcomes are not inevitable, if you learn about the disease and your role in managing it.   More...

Role of Aspirin Downplayed for Preventing a First Heart Attack

"This information about the effects of aspirin in people without a history of heart attack, stroke or revascularization is very important, because the high rates of internal bleeding and mortality were not balanced by a reduction in major cardiovascular events," says Cleveland Clinic preventive cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD.   More...

Ask The Doctors: February 2019

In this era of growing concern over opioids, individuals with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) commonly use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. After the NSAID rofecoxib (Vioxx) was found to increase the risk of herat attack and stroke, adverse cardiovascular (CV) events from other NSAIDs have remained a concern. Clinical studies suggest NSAIDs may, indeed, increase CV events.   More...