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Coronary Artery Disease

Ask The Doctors: December 2019

Why is it important to get a flu shot if you have heart disease? When is it too late to get it?Flu season can begin as early as October and extend as late as May, but typically peaks from December to February. Antibodies to the flu peak four to six weeks after getting vaccinated and then slowly decline for six months. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that everyone over 6 months of age without a specific reason not to get vaccinated, such as a history of allergic reactions to the shot, get vaccinated by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated any time before January can still be beneficial.

Don’t Rely on Supplements and Vitamins to Benefit Your Heart

On a more hopeful note, there was some evidence that omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) were associated with lower risk of heart attack and CAD, and that folic acid may help protect against stroke. However, the primary study on folate that reached this conclusion was conducted in China, where foods are not routinely fortified with folate like they are in the United States.

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A rare, but serious, problem can occur when a DVT blood clot breaks off and is carried into a heart that has a hole between its upper chambers (patent foramen ovale, or PFO). If the clot passes from the right side of the heart into the left and is pumped into the arteries supplying the brain, it can cause a stroke.

Heart Beat: January 2019

Small calcium deposits in breast arteries are not associated with breast cancer, but they may be a marker of coronary artery disease (CAD) long before other symptoms appear. Researchers evaluated 2,100 asymptomatic women ages 40 and older using mammography and computed tomography angiography imaging of the coronary arteries, among other tests.

When Statins Are Not the Answer

In the past, niacin, fenofibrates, bile acid sequestrants and fish oil were widely used to help normalize blood lipid levels. Most have fallen out of favor. But in November, physicians were wowed when a key study revealed that prescription-strength doses of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a form of omega-3 fish oil, reduced the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke, revascularization and unstable angina by 25 percent in patients with CAD or diabetes and high triglyceride levels.

Insider Advice: How to Optimize an Appointment with Your Doctor

If there are specific concerns that you would like to have addressed, please write them down before you leave home and raise them early in the appointment. Please don't wait until the end of the visit to speak up. Knowing what's on your mind helps us plan our time with you, and you will be more likely to leave the office satisfied, if your questions have been answered.

Holiday Heart Health Secrets

You're standing in a friend's dining room with a magnificent spread before you. On a table sparkling with ornaments and candles, you see an endless array of food. In an instant, you are seduced by the sights and smells of the holiday season. You reach out and pick up a plate-and your resolve to eat sensibly flies out the window.

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If you are in charge of Thanksgiving dinner, cut down on the number of carbs you plan to serve. Do you really need mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls and stuffing, too? Swap one or two of these for healthier alternatives. Even the ubiquitous green-bean casserole would be a better choice, since it contains fiber from beans and a little fat from butter and mushroom soup, which will help you feel full.

Download The Full October 2018 Issue PDF

How involved a patient wants to be in music therapy depends on their diagnosis and whether they sing or play an instrument. Many simply want to listen to music. For these patients, the music therapist will select works likely to be therapeutic. When McFee sees the potential to help improve a patients medical condition, she encourages them to participate in music-making using an instrument on her cart that doesnt require special training or talent to play.

Soothing the Stresses of Heart Disease

How involved a patient wants to be in music therapy depends on their diagnosis and whether they sing or play an instrument. Many simply want to listen to music. For these patients, the music therapist will select works likely to be therapeutic. When McFee sees the potential to help improve a patients medical condition, she encourages them to participate in music-making using an instrument on her cart that doesnt require special training or talent to play.

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?

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 theres 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.