Should you take a statin even if your cholesterol is normal?

Many people take a statin medication to lower their "bad" LDL cholesterol. Research suggests that people without high cholesterol could also reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease by taking a preventive statin. Whether you should consider this option depends on your personal risk factors. If you are at 10% or higher risk of a heart attack or other cardiovascular event in the next 10 years, even without high cholesterol, a statin could help.  Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. (Locked) More »

'Natural' cold relief

Some studies show Echinacea helps shorten colds, some do not. Zinc lozenges may shorten symptoms by a few days. Taking steps to avoid catching a cold may be more effective than Echinacea or zinc supplements. (Locked) More »

Healthy brain aging: No strain, no gain

As we age, mental exercise can keep mental skills and memory sharp. Relatively difficult mental activities can help the most. Physical exercise also helps to preserve mental skills with aging. Experts recommend that you remain a lifelong learner; take on mentally challenging tasks like learning a language; be willing to try things that get you out of your comfort zone; and staying socially connected. More »

20-second CT scan cuts lung cancer deaths, but is it right for you?

Having a CT scan to detect early stage lung cancer prevents death in current or former smokers at high risk of developing lung cancer. Early testing and treatment includes potential harms as well as benefits. Insurance will probably not pay the cost of the first CT scan to check for signs of cancer. If the scan shows a suspicious feature, repeat tests and procedures may be necessary to diagnose cancer. During the follow-up period, the possibility of having cancer can cause anxiety and fear in some people. CT scans add to your lifetime exposure of radiation and the associated long-term risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor before seeking the test. (Locked) More »

Breathe away stress in 8 steps

Combining rhythmic breathing and focused mental attention can elicit a healthful physiological state called the relaxation response. Being in the relaxation response for 10 to 20 minutes daily counteracts stress and its unhealthy effects. At the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, the relaxation response is taught as part of post-heart attack rehab and as a tool for controlling high blood pressure. Some people are able to stop taking one or more of their blood pressure medications by consistently eliciting the relaxation response. (Locked) More »

How to eat nuts the healthy way

Dieters may avoid nuts because they contain so many calories. A handful might contain up to 10% of the daily caloric needs for a medium-sized man. But nuts are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and nutrients. Limit portions and eat nuts instead of, not in addition to, foods such as red meat. Adding a small handful of nuts to salads and side dishes  is a good way to build them into your diet.   (Locked) More »

Most people don't take heart drugs as directed

Most people do not fill their prescriptions for heart medications as directed. Unfilled prescriptions include those fop aspirin, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium-channel blockers, thiazide diuretics, and statins. (Locked) More »

Acupuncture relieves common types of chronic pain

Acupuncture relieves chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders, and from osteoarthritis and headaches. Acupuncture is often used in addition to standard treatments, such as pain medications, when they do not relieve pain well enough. (Locked) More »