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Nutrition & Exercise

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.

Meat: Should We Love It, or Leave It?

Recent research contradicts standard advice that eating meat contributes to heart disease. Esteemed cardiologists would like to set the record straight.

Do You Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent Heart Disease?

If you are at low risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), but take a daily low-dose aspirin anyway in hopes of preventing a heart attack, you should know that the practice is not likely to be helpful and may be harmful.

Navigating the Sweet Season Without Feeling Deprived

Avoiding sweets during the year is no easy task, but in December its almost impossible. So many holiday memories are inextricably linked to sweet treats: baking Christmas cookies or spinning the dreidel for chocolate gelt, for example. And how festive would a holiday party be without a table full of desserts?

Heart Beat: December 2019

Research Reveals Which Diet Is Best for the HeartWhat type of diet should you follow to lower your risk of heart disease? Results of the OmniHeart trial, published Aug. 2 in the International Journal of Cardiology, added to a growing body of evidence from other studies that eating a variety of healthy foods is more important than the specific diet you follow. Researchers randomized 164 adults with elevated blood pressure to three diets: the DASH diet, which contains 51% healthy carbohydrates (carbs), a high-protein diet that limits carbs and a diet that replaced a proportion of carbs with healthy unsaturated fats.

Ask The Doctors: August 2019

Although the effects of ASA are not fully understood, they may be a possible risk factor for an unexplained ("cryptogenic") stroke, since the occurrence is higher in patients undergoing echo in this setting. In these cases, the ASA is usually large and/or hyper mobile and is associated with a large amount of blood being shunted between the atria due to a PFO or septal defect. Identifying these abnormalities in a stroke patient does not necessarily prove a causal relationship, since other stroke causes may be present.

Download The Full August 2019 Issue PDF

A key differentiator is the intensity of pain.In the movies, heart-attack victims often clutch their chest and grimace in pain before collapsing. But it is unusual for a heart attack to produce intense pain. Heart-attack pain is generally described as an unrelenting sensation of pressure, like an elephant sitting on your chest.

Opening Totally Blocked Arteries May Improve Quality of Life

Yet about 30 percent of cardiac catheterizations performed in patients with stable coronary artery disease show evidence of a chronic total occlusion (CTO). In this situation, blood flow through a coronary artery has been totally blocked for more than three months. Studies have shown that when more than 10 percent of the heart muscle is affected by a CTO, the patient has a significantly higher risk of death or major adverse cardiac event. These patients often suffer from angina that is severe enough to impact their quality of life.

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.

Download The Full January 2019 Issue PDF

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.

Tips for Protecting Your Heart During the Cold, Dark Days of Winter

Get a flu shot. Flu increases the risk of hospitalization or death from cardiovascular disease. In studies, flu shots have been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes by 55 percent in people who had recently suffered a cardiovascular event. The flu vaccine is associated with a 50 percent reduction in flu-season deaths among heart failure patients. "Even if the vaccine is not fully effective, it can lessen the likelihood you will have a heart attack or stroke," says Dr. Rocco.

How to Lower Your Risk of a Dangerous Blood Clot

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.