The new strategy for statins: Should you be taking one?

The decision to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering statin has long been based on an individual’s cholesterol level. New guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology now recommend basing the decision on an individual’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke. In addition, the new guidelines no longer stipulate target levels of harmful LDL cholesterol when taking a statin.  More »

Ask the doctor: Battling belly fat

There is no magical way to reduce belly fat. Cutting back on food intake, burning calories with regular aerobic activity, and doing core exercises to strengthen the back, sides, and abdomen will help. (Locked) More »

Double trouble: Coping with arthritis and heart disease together

People with heart disease and arthritis face challenges with regard to exercise—which is important for both conditions—and medications. Swimming, recumbent biking, and walking are good choices for most people with heart disease and arthritis, who tend to be less active than people with either disease alone. Certain medications to ease arthritis pain, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, can interact dangerously with drugs for heart conditions. Avoiding certain drugs or taking them at different times may be needed. (Locked) More »

Obesity as a cardiovascular disease: Time to take your BMI seriously

With the recent designation of obesity as a disease by the American Medical Association and new guidelines on obesity treatment, BMI may become a commonly assessed vital sign for determining cardiovascular risk in the same way that blood pressure and blood sugar measurements are currently used.  (Locked) More »

5 things you need to do after a heart attack

Recovery from a heart attack doesn’t end upon leaving the hospital. In fact, it is just beginning. Five pivotal steps can hasten recovery and help protect long-term heart health: learning heart attack warning signs, taking heart medicines, making lifestyle changes, participating in a cardiac rehab program, and communicating with health care providers. (Locked) More »

New options to reboot the heart

Irregular heart rhythms are a common and dangerous problem for people at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. For several decades, miniature electronic devices called implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) that detect and correct potentially deadly fast, irregular beats in the heart’s lower chambers have been a lifesaver for people prone to these episodes. Two recent advances in ICD technology are making these devices even safer and more effective to a wider range of people. (Locked) More »

FDA deems trans fats unsafe

Trans fats should be taken off the list of additives “generally recognized as safe,” according to an FDA proposal. Found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, these fats raise levels of unhealthy fats in the blood, contributing to heart disease. Most companies have already removed trans fats from their products, but they still lurk in many processed foods, including cookies and other baked treats, frozen pizza, and microwave popcorn. (Locked) More »

MitraClip provides valve repair without surgery

The tiny MitraClip can be inserted into the heart via a catheter to secure a damaged mitral valve, thereby easing the problems associated with mitral valve regurgitation without the need for open-heart surgery. (Locked) More »