Say cheese?

Even though dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk contain saturated fat, they don’t seem to pose a risk to heart health. Other nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium and potassium, which may help lower blood pressure, may explain the observation. But some nutrition experts recommend choosing low-fat milk and yogurt and not eating too much cheese. Replacing dairy fat with plant-based unsaturated fat appears to be a healthier choice.  More »

What is a lacunar stroke?

Lacunar strokes, which account for about one-fifth of all strokes, occur in small arteries deep within the brain. Although these strokes may not cause symptoms, those that do may cause weakness in the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body.  (Locked) More »

Does it matter how you lower your cholesterol?

Certain cholesterol-lowering medications—namely, ezetimibe (Zetia) and drugs known as bile acid binders—also appear to be effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of serious cardiovascular events.  More »

How winter’s chill can challenge your heart

Cold temperatures cause the blood vessels to constrict and the heart to work harder to pump blood against added resistance. This can bring on symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, particularly in people who already have heart disease. Precautions such as dressing warmly and avoiding overexertion in cold weather make good sense for your heart (and overall) health. (Locked) More »

Your New Year’s resolution: A gym membership?

One advantage to joining a gym or health club is access to a wide variety of fitness equipment, which may help prevent boredom and make it easier to get a varied yet balanced workout. Many gyms have personal trainers who can design appropriate, safe exercise programs that teach good form and provide motivation.  (Locked) More »

Online hospital ratings: Are they helpful?

Online hospital reviews can provide helpful information. But the information they provide is sometimes incomplete, conflicting, or confusing. People should review several different online sites and recognize that there is no clear definition of what constitutes ideal hospital care. Hospital rating sites may be most useful in unusual situations in which people are unfamiliar with the available options—for example, if they have recently moved, are traveling, or are advising a loved one from afar. Otherwise, a recommendation from a trusted physician should suffice.  (Locked) More »

Bringing awareness to aneurysms in the chest

A thoracic aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of the heart’s largest blood vessel (the aorta) as it passes through the chest. Most are found by accident during a test for another reason. Certain people should be screened for this rare but potentially deadly condition. These include people with a bicuspid aortic valve and certain genetic conditions; those whose close relatives had a thoracic aneurysm; and those who had surgery to replace an aortic valve before age 70.  (Locked) More »

Working out while angry? Just don’t do it

Anger or emotional upset may double the risk of having a heart attack. Heavy physical exertion appears to have the same effect. And people who do intense exercise while they’re upset or mad may face three times the risk of heart attack.  More »