Drug interactions with statins: Often preventable

Statins have been a mainstay of cholesterol-lowering therapy for over three decades. Today, nearly a quarter of all adults over age 40 take medication to treat high cholesterol, and most often it’s a statin drug. However, with such widespread use, especially among people who may have other cardiovascular risk factors, there is a distinct risk of an unwanted interaction between a statin and another medication. (Locked) More »

Fitness trackers: A path to a healthier heart?

New, scientifically validated digital fitness trackers may help people know if they’re exercising enough to lower their risk of heart disease. They rely on an algorithm known as Personalized Activity Intelligence that converts a person’s heart rate to a number of points, based on age, gender, and resting and maximum heart rate. For people who are sedentary or have chronic health conditions, the free iPrescribe Exercise app offers evidence-based advice that can help them exercise safely.  (Locked) More »

Afib stroke prevention: Go set a Watchman?

Most people with atrial fibrillation take anti-clotting drugs to prevent strokes. For those who cannot take these drugs because of a high risk of bleeding, a tiny, basket-like device implanted in the part of the heart that traps clots may be an alternative.  (Locked) More »

Are some painkillers safer for your heart than others?

Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) routinely over a long time period can increase the risk of heart disease. Although this danger is greatest in people with heart disease, it’s also present in people without any signs of the disease. A large study suggested that the prescription-only drug celecoxib might be less risky than two other widely used over-the-counter drugs, ibuprofen and naproxen. But limitations in the study created some uncertainty about the findings. People who take any NSAID should always take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.  More »

When the heart’s smallest vessels cause big problems

Damage to the smallest blood vessels that feed the heart is known as coronary microvascular disease. For unknown reasons, it is far more common in women than men. The symptoms are similar to those of classic coronary artery disease, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. But microvascular disease is far more difficult to diagnose and may require specialized stress tests that include a PET or MRI scan. These tests can assess “coronary flow reserve,” a measure of how well the heart can augment its blood supply in response to stress.  (Locked) More »

Calcium and heart disease: What is the connection?

Calcium supplements do not seem to increase the risk of heart disease. But it’s best to get the recommended daily intake of this mineral (which ranges from 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day, depending on age and gender) from foods rather than pills. Potential calcium sources include dairy products, canned salmon or sardines with bones, and calcium-fortified orange juice. Figs, broccoli, and kale also provide modest amounts of calcium. (Locked) More »