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Should You Worry About Potassium?

If you have heart or kidney disease, you may need to take extra measures to maintain normal levels of this important mineral. By Holly Strawbridge Do you remember what you learned about potassium in science class? You were taught it’s a soft metal, a mineral and one of the most abundant elements on earth. But […]
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Download The Full March 2019 Issue PDF

The average American consumes 3,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day-far more than the American Heart Association recommendation of no more than 1,500 mg, or about one teaspoon, of salt. Because this amount is so strict, Cleveland Clinic sets the limit at 2,300 mg. "The difference in effect is only a drop of 2 to 3 mmHg," says Dr. Laffin. "At minimum, we recommend lowering sodium intake by at least 1,000 mg per day."
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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).
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Tips for Taking Accurate Blood Pressure Readings at Home

Blood pressure fluctuates predictably over a 24-hour period in response to Circadian rhythms and cortisol levels. A sharp rise occurs at 4 a.m. Blood pressure peaks between 6 a.m. and noon, drops around 1 to 2 p.m. It peaks again around 5 to 6 p.m., then drops by 15 percent overnight.
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Stay Active After a Heart Attack

If you were not active before your heart attack, its particularly important that you make exercise a priority. If you were active before your heart attack, dont 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.
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Take Heart Infections Seriously

Bacteria are everywhere, and from time to time they make us sick. Yet few people become alarmed when bacteria settle in their throat or lungs. After a few days of antibiotics, their sore throat or flu-like symptoms disappear, and they feel fine.
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Other Diseases Can Increase the Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

Having an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, celiac disease, lupus or inflammatory bowel disease greatly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The connection is systemic inflammation. Inflammatory cells settle in blood vessel walls, where they perpetuate inflammation and make plaque prone to rupture, causing a heart attack or stroke.
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Ask The Doctors: February 2018

I have borderline elevated blood pressure and was told there are new recommendations for blood pressure treatment. What are they? I am an active 76-year-old man. Last year, my doctor told me that it was okay for my systolic blood pressure to be in the 150s. Is this best for me?
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Steps to Take When You Are Diagnosed with Prehypertension

As Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at South Pointe Hospital, Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Chad Raymond, DO, sees the damage caused by high blood pressure every day. Thats why he makes a point of counseling patients whose blood pressure is on the rise.
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When Theres No Ho Ho Ho in Your Holiday or Any Day, Your Heart...

If the candles in your menorah leave you feeling sad, or you are overwhelmed with worry that Christmas dinner wont meet everyones expectations, you may be suffering from depression or anxiety. Whether you celebrate the season or not, its likely the holidays are only making you feel worse.
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Celebrate Sensibly to Avoid the Rapid Rhythms of Holiday Heart Syndrome

Tis the season for office parties, cocktail parties, reunions, family gatherings and other occasions where alcohol freely flows. When youre enjoying yourself, its easy to drink more alcohol than you intended. Never mind the hangover that youll regret tomorrow: Consuming too much alcohol in a single occasion can trigger an irregular heartbeat.
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Cleveland Clinic Study Proposes New Way of Measuring Mortality Trends

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., but that doesnt tell the full story of its burden on society and families, suggests a Cleveland Clinic researcher. Glen Taksler, PhD, lead author of a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health, says that by measuring the costs of heart disease, cancer and the other top causes of death in terms of life-years lost, we get a different picture of how serious these illnesses impact society. Life-years lost focuses on the number of years lost compared to a persons life expectancy.
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