Do you need weight-loss coaching?

Intensive lifestyle interventions may help overweight people with heart disease lose weight, which can counter high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other problems that raise heart disease risk. Available at major medical centers around the country, the programs feature trained experts who provide individual and group support about behavior changes that foster healthy eating and exercise. The training includes information about meal planning and preparation, controlling portion sizes, and tracking food intake, activity, and body weight.  More »

Ask the doctor: When a stroke has no immediate symptoms

A silent stroke happens when a clot blocks a blood vessel to part of the brain that doesn’t control any vital functions. Silent strokes don’t cause any noticeable symptoms, but they may lead to thinking and memory problems if several occur over time.  (Locked) More »

From irritated to enraged: Anger's toxic effect on the heart

Anger can trigger physiological changes in the body, including a faster heartbeat, higher blood pressure, and a higher likelihood of blood clot formation. For about two hours after an angry outburst, a person has a slightly higher risk of having chest pain (angina), a heart attack, a stroke, or a risky heart rhythm. Medications such as beta blockers, which slow the heart rate, and antidepressants, which may reduce the frequency of angry outbursts, may help. The same goes for anger management programs, which help people tone down their anger and use positive behaviors such as relaxation techniques.  (Locked) More »

The exercise stress test: What to expect

Once done as part of a routine check-up, exercise stress tests are now done mostly to diagnose possible heart disease in people with symptoms such as chest pain or breathlessness. They can also help determine how hard a person should exercise. During the test, a person walks on a treadmill at progressively faster speeds while an electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the heart rate and the heart’s electrical activity. Findings from the test may suggest a need for further testing or treatment.  (Locked) More »

Staying active when you're away from home

Business or vacation travel can disrupt a regular fitness routine even for the most dedicated exercisers. However, options such as packable equipment (exercise bands and jump ropes), airport walking routes, and athletic shoe rental services at some hotels are convenient ways to stay fit away from home. (Locked) More »

Can a healthy lifestyle reset your genes?

Positive health habits such as exercising, eating a good diet, not smoking, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels help protect the heart and blood vessels from damage. For people with a family history of cardiovascular conditions, these same steps may also work to quiet the genetic code that increases disease risk. (Locked) More »

Avoiding fluid overload if you have heart failure

Most people with heart failure need to limit the amount of fluid they drink to eight cups a day. That includes foods and beverages that are liquid at room temperature, including milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream, gelatin, soup, and ice cubes. In addition, a cup of certain fruits and vegetables that contain lots of water (such as watermelon and cucumber) counts as a half-cup of fluid. Tips to help address a common complaint from fluid restriction (thirst and a dry mouth) include gargling with cold mouthwash and sucking on hard candies or mints.  (Locked) More »