4 myths about statins

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have been linked to various side effects and other problems. But some widely held beliefs about the drugs aren’t accurate. Statins haven’t been proven to cause memory loss, nor do they require routine blood testing. About 10% of statin users develop muscle aches, but there’s no good evidence that a popular dietary supplement can alleviate this problem. And although the potency of certain statins is influenced by grapefruit juice, eating half a grapefruit is unlikely to cause any problems.  More »

Minerals to manage blood pressure

Cutting back on salt is the first commandment for controlling high blood pressure. But getting plenty of other important minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium is also critical. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy may also increase the effectiveness of drugs to treat high blood pressure.  (Locked) More »

Imaging stress tests: A clearer view of your heart's health

Stress tests, which help show if your heart gets enough blood and oxygen when stressed, often rely on treadmill exercise to stress the heart. People who aren’t able to exercise can receive a drug that mimics the effect of exercise. Most of the time, stress tests also feature imaging, such as nuclear perfusion or echocardiography, to create pictures of the heart at rest and after stress. Stress tests help show if your heart gets enough blood and oxygen when stressed. (Locked) More »

Understanding the unsaturated fats

For decades, a key health message was “all fat is bad.” Today we know that healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are essential to good health. As research mounts, the recommendations can get confusing, but plant-based oils are still healthy for the heart, and trans fats are harmful to health.  (Locked) More »

How to start exercising if you're out of shape

People who are recovering from a heart attack, are overweight, or are out of shape may have a hard time meeting recommended federal exercise goals, which call for 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity exercise. For them, starting slow by doing light- to moderate-intensity activities (such as playing ping-pong, gardening, or ballroom dancing) makes sense. Brisk walking is often recommended as well, but people with certain health conditions, such as low back pain or obesity, may find that using certain types of exercise equipment is more comfortable.  (Locked) More »

Salt substitutes: Another way to trim your sodium intake

Salt-laden restaurant fare and processed foods are the biggest dietary sources of sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Eating home-cooked food is the best way to cut back on sodium. In the kitchen, swapping regular salt for sodium-free or lower-sodium alternatives also helps. One option is to use a potassium chloride salt, but many people prefer herb and spice blends.  (Locked) More »

Heart disease in retired football players

Among retired professional football players, linemen (who mainly tackle and guard other players) tend to be heavier, have bigger waists, and show more signs of hardening of the arteries compared with men who played other positions. (Locked) More »

Beware the danger of secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke exposure raises a person's chance of developing heart disease up to 30%. But nonsmokers hospitalized for heart disease are rarely asked about this preventable risk. (Locked) More »