Make a home gym work for you

Making physical activity a habit takes determination and perseverance no matter what the setting. People who find time and convenience the main obstacles to getting to the gym may benefit from creating a simple workout area at home. Inexpensive items such as small hand and leg weights, portable pedaling machines, resistance bands, and a foam floor mat are perfect for a beginner’s needs. The dedicated exerciser may decide to invest in a professional-quality treadmill or other aerobic machine, or a home gym weight system. (Locked) More »

Generic versus brand-name statins

Generic statins lower cholesterol just as effectively as brand-name versions of the drug. The inactive filler ingredients in a generic drug may change the side effects a person experiences, but that’s unlikely.  (Locked) More »

Danger from unneeded defibrillation?

Using an automated external defibrillator or AED on a person in cardiac arrest delivers a shock to restore a normal heart rhythm. These devices provide step-by-step instructions and include safety features that prevent the delivery of unneeded shocks.  (Locked) More »

Clogged arteries in the gut?

Just like the arteries that supply blood to the heart, arteries in the intestines can become clogged with cholesterol-filled plaque. Known as intestinal angina, the condition is marked by pain that occurs about 30 minutes after eating and lasts one to two hours. This uncommon problem is more prevalent in women, particularly current or former smokers. People with intestinal angina often develop “food fear,” which causes them to lose substantial amounts of weight. Treatment involves restoring blood flow to the intestines, usually by threading a catheter through a vessel to the blockage and inserting a tiny mesh tube (stent) to prop open the artery.  (Locked) More »

Revamp your snacking habits

Snacks can curb late afternoon hunger and may help people avoid overeating at dinner. Good snack choices include whole or minimally processed foods that supply healthy protein, carbs, and fat, such as whole-grain crackers with peanut butter. Other healthy options include hummus with vegetables, low-fat string cheese with an apple, or Greek yogurt with berries and a sprinkle of granola.  More »

New insights about an inherited form of high cholesterol

About one in 250 people has a genetic mutation that leads to dangerously high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), the condition is the leading cause of early heart attacks (those that occur before age 55 in men and age 65 in women). In a person with FH, the risk of heart disease is 22 times higher than a person with a normal LDL level. But FH—which is caused by a single mutation in one of three different genes—is responsible for very high cholesterol levels in only a small fraction of people. Most people with very high LDL have dozens of different mutations, each of which raises LDL cholesterol a little bit.  (Locked) More »

When an infection attacks the heart

Bacteria or viruses occasionally invade the heart, creating inflammation or other problems. For people ages 60 and older, the greatest risk is endocarditis, or inflammation in the innermost layer of the heart’s chambers and valves. People with underlying heart valve problems, such as a leaky or narrowed mitral or aortic valve, are most vulnerable to this problem. Those who have had surgery to repair or replace a heart valve or had a previous heart infection should take antibiotics prior to certain dental, surgical, or other invasive procedures.  (Locked) More »

Owner of a lonely heart?

Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to higher risk of having a heart attack, needing a procedure to clear blocked heart arteries, or experiencing a stroke.  More »