Blood Pressure

Ask the Doctors: May 2017

After more than 20 years I finally quit smoking a year ago. I know I feel better, but can any of the damage that smoking did to my heart or blood vessels ever be undone? I have type 2 diabetes treated with metformin and a history of a coronary stent. I have recently heard that there are newer diabetes medications that may reduce the risk of future heart disease. Should I be taking these?
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Heart Beat: May 2017

Whether your diet is too high in unhealthy foods or simply lacks enough healthy items, you may be putting yourself at risk of becoming part of a very disturbing statistic. According to research published recently in JAMA, eating a diet lacking in healthy foods and/or one that is too high in unhealthy foods may have contributed to more than 400,000 deaths from heart and blood vessel diseases in the U.S. in 2015 alone. Unhealthy foods were identified as those containing high amounts of unhealthy ingredients, such as sodium and trans fats. The list of healthy foods includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-omega-3 seafood, and nuts. The researchers suggest that nearly half of the cardiovascular disease deaths in the U.S. could be prevented by improving diet.
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Know How One Blood Pressure Drug Differs from Another

Chances are that if you dont take a blood pressure-lowering drug now, you may need to in the future. And if not you, someone close to you may need an antihypertensive medication. About one out of three American adults has high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Controlling hypertension usually involves a combination of one or more blood pressure-lowering drugs, weight management, diabetes control, a heart-healthy diet, no smoking and regular exercise. In addition, there are other factors that go into devising a personalized treatment plan.
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New PAD Guidelines Emphasize Medications, Supervised Exercise

New guidelines for the treatment of individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD) focus on the use of statins to control cholesterol and antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix), to help prevent bloodclots. The guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology were last updated in 2011. New recommendations to the guidelines include avoiding secondhand smoke and getting an annual flushot.
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Emotional Stress Triggers Heart Attacks, High Blood Pressure, Dabigatran

Individuals who have high blood pressure in middle age may be at a higher risk of cognitive impairment in old age. In the journal Hypertension, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement calling for more clinical trials to better understand the role high blood pressure plays in the vascular health of the brain. There have been many observational studies suggesting a strong link between chronic hypertension and cognitive decline, but the AHA said more tangible evidence is needed.
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Heart Attack Meds, Alcohol and Your Heart, Sound Therapy for Blood Pressure

In a study of almost 15,000 patients, Chinese researchers found that heart attack survivors who took medications to help prevent heart attacks tended to have less-severe events. Despite the common perception that moderate alcohol consumption is good for the heart, a recent study suggests that even one drink a day over a period of many years may raise the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (afib) by as much as five percent. A noninvasive therapy that balances right-side and left-side brain frequencies was associated with lower blood pressure, according to a study. The technology, called high-resolution, relational, resonance based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM), also appears to help control migraine headache symptoms and improve heart rate variability
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Stroke Risks, Whole Grains, Blood Pressure, and Music for Anxiety

Unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, and a poor diet, account for more days of stroke disability than traditional risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Including more whole grains in your diet may help reduce your odds of dying from cardiovascular disease, some cancers and many other causes. Individuals who had substantial blood pressure fluctuations over a five-year period experienced faster declines in cognitive function and brain health, compared with those who maintained a more consistent blood pressure during that same time. Listening to relaxing music every day may help you cope better emotionally and physically after a heart attack.
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Tracking Blood Pressure Over Time May Reveal Future Events

Your pattern of systolic blood pressure from middle age onward may provide a more accurate snapshot of your risk of stroke and other hypertension-related complications than a single high blood pressure reading. Thats according to a study published recently in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. Researchers devised some common trajectories for blood pressure readings, and noted the risks associated with each one.
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Hypertensive Urgency Doesnt Always Require Hospitalization

The rate of major adverse cardiovascular events, such as stroke or heart attack, is relatively low among patients who experience hypertensive urgency. Because of that, these patients can be safely treated with outpatient care instead of being hospitalized, according to a Cleveland Clinic study published recently. Hypertensive urgency is a situation in which your systolic blood pressure (the top number in your blood pressure reading) is at least 180 mm Hg or your diastolic pressure (bottom number) is at least 110 mm Hg.
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Heart Beat: July 2016

Unlike the traditional heart attacks that are accompanied by chest pain and other symptoms, silent heart attacks can occur multiple times without you even knowing it. An observational study of more than 90,000 older adults who suffered falls suggests that starting new blood pressure-lowering medications or intensifying existing anti-hypertensive therapy may raise the risk of falls. Rosuvastatin (Crestor) is the latest cholesterol-lowering statin drug to have a generic competitor on the market.
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What You Should Know to Better Manage Your Blood Thinners

Taking an anticoagulant such as warfarin (Coumadin) may help prevent the formation of a life-threatening blood clot. Antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, may also keep your circulation healthy, reducing your odds of a heart attack or stroke.
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Study Shows Heart Attack Patients Are Younger, Sicker

In a review of nearly 4,000 heart attack patient histories, Samir Kapadia, MD, section head of Invasive and Interventional Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic, and his team found that rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes are much higher now among people who suffer heart attacks.
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