How a sleep shortfall can stress your heart

Chronic sleep deprivation strains the cardiovascular system, which may raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The most common cause, insomnia (trouble falling and staying asleep) often stems from stress, depression, or anxiety. Sleep apnea, which causes loud snoring and frequent breathing lapses during sleep, is more prevalent in people at risk for heart disease. (Locked) More »

Getting to the heart of kidney disease

Heart disease and kidney failure are linked by two powerful underlying risk factors: diabetes and high blood pressure, each of which damages the heart and kidneys independently. Underlying the connection is a breakdown in metabolic signaling that affects blood sugar, blood pressure, sodium levels, and fat storage. Both environmental and genetic forces are probably involved in creating the malfunction. Keeping blood pressure and blood sugar levels in an acceptable range can help preserve heart health and kidney function. (Locked) More »

Calm your anxious heart

Anxiety disorders alter the stress response, affecting the same brain systems that influence cardiovascular functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. People who have ongoing anxiety problems suffer higher rates of heart attack and other cardiac events. Managing anxiety, depression, and stress can improve a person’s sense of well-being and lower the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. (Locked) More »

Brewing evidence for tea's heart benefits

Black and green tea contain flavonoids, which are beneficial plant chemicals that may lower heart disease risk. Drinking tea may lead to modest drops in cholesterol, blood pressure, and other factors linked to heart problems. Flavonoids also help quell inflammation and thus may lower plaque buildup inside the heart’s arteries. While drinking tea in moderation is safe, evidence about the safety and efficacy of green tea extracts and supplements is limited. More »

High-tech heart scans: Who might need one?

Computed tomography angiography (CTA) is one of several techniques used to evaluate people with chest pain that’s thought to result from coronary artery disease. It provides detailed views of the heart’s arteries. Compared with other tests, such as exercise stress tests with nuclear imaging, CTA takes less time and is easier to endure. But it requires radiation exposure and provides no clear long-term advantages in terms of preventing heart attacks or similar problems. (Locked) More »

Sugary drinks may raise levels of harmful blood fats

Sodas and other beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup may boost levels of harmful LDL cholesterol in the blood. Drinking the equivalent of just a can and a half per day of regular soda for two weeks may raise LDL into an unhealthy range. (Locked) More »

Divorce linked to higher risk of heart attack

People who are divorced may be more likely to have a heart attack than those who stay married. The trend appears to be stronger in women: their risk rises with additional divorces and remains elevated even if they remarry. (Locked) More »