July 2010 references and further reading

Hajat S, O'Connor M, Kosatsky T. Health effects of hot weather: from awareness of risk factors to effective health protection. Lancet 2010; 375:856-63. Luciano GL, Brennan MJ, Rothberg MB. Postprandial hypotension. American Journal of Medicine 2010; 123:281 e1-6. Gentilcore D, Jones KL, O'Donovan DG, Horowitz M. Postprandial hypotension—novel insights into pathophysiology and therapeutic implications. Current Vascular Pharmacology 2006; 4:161-71. (Locked) More »

Strategies for cutting back on salt

The Institute of Medicine's newly released report, Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States, focuses on big-picture strategies for reining in America's salt habit. Although the report's recommendations represent an essential step forward, there are many things that individuals, chefs, and organizations can do right now to reduce sodium. Many of these guidelines offer a "stealth health" approach to sodium reduction — ways that sodium can be reduced with no change or minimal change to consumer food experiences or choices. Others suggest ways to rebalance and re-imagine food choices as well as introduce new foods that can easily translate into satisfying meals. (Locked) More »

Heat can beat the heart

Hot, humid weather can overwork the heart, which can pose risks for people with certain conditions, or those who take beta blockers or diuretics. More »

Eating can cause low blood pressure

Postprandial hypotension, low blood pressure that occurs after eating, can cause dizziness, chest pain, nausea, or other issues, particularly in the elderly. If you often feel odd after eating, tell your doctor. He or she can work with you to see if the feelings are due to postprandial hypotension or something else, and help you find ways to ease the problem. More »

Potential salt assault

The average person consumes more salt each day than the body requires, most of it from "hidden" salt in prepared and packaged foods. The FDA may ask food companies to voluntarily reduce the salt content of their products over the coming decade. (Locked) More »

When and how to treat a leaky mitral valve

If the mitral valve in the heart becomes damaged it can leak, causing blood to flow backward and overwork the heart. A leaky valve can be surgically replaced, but in some situations repairing the valve is more effective than surgery. The repair operation has a lower rate of death (one to two per 100 operations) than valve replacement (four to six per 100), causes fewer strokes, is more effective at reducing symptoms of mitral regurgitation, has a shorter recovery time, and is associated with fewer postoperative heart rhythm problems. Long-term studies show low rates of reoperation. Repaired valves don't wear out, as biological valves do, nor do they need anticoagulation, as mechanical valves do. But they can fail over time due to progression of the disease that caused the regurgitation in the first place. (Locked) More »

Heart Beat: Generic ARBs are coming

The FDA has approved the sale of a generic version of the angiotensin-receptor blocker medication losartan, and generic versions of two other ARBs may soon follow. (Locked) More »

In Brief

Brief reports on heart failure and avoiding rehospitalization, the dangerous combination of prehypertension and prediabetes, and a warning about eating Dead Sea salt. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Are there noninvasive alternatives to a nuclear stress test?

After I had an abnormal electrocardiogram, my doctor wants me to have a nuclear stress test to check my arteries for any blockages. (I also have a left side bundle block.) What noninvasive test would give as much information (or almost as much) as a nuclear stress test? I have had many scans, for this and that, so I would like to limit my exposure to radiation if possible. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: What can I do to protect my heart if my body no longer makes testosterone?

A year ago, I had an orchiectomy for prostate cancer; my PSA is now 0.74. Not long afterward, I had two cardiac stents implanted. I still have some angina and shortness of breath. I started Ranexa a couple of weeks ago, which helps my angina. Do you have any suggestions for my heart since I no longer make testosterone, which I understand helps protect men’s hearts and arteries? (Locked) More »