Heart Health

In defense of the salt shaker

Most people know that too much salt is bad for them and they should try to cut back, but many don’t realize it’s also possible to consume too little salt. It’s not a common problem, but it does happen and it can be harmful.

Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Unhealthy lifestyle choices may be responsible for half of all premature deaths, but choosing healthier behaviors, such as working to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and getting more exercise, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Plant-based diets are best… or are they?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers analyzing stroke risk found that vegetarians were slightly more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke, though less likely to have other types of heart disease compared to people who did not follow a plant-based diet.

Is it time to stop skimming over full-fat dairy?

For years, the conventional wisdom about dairy is that we should be eating less of it, and when we do have any it should be low-fat or fat-free. But more recent research suggests that some full-fat dairy in our diets could in fact be beneficial, though the type of dairy still matters.

Should I participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program?

For people who have had a heart attack or heart surgery, or been diagnosed with angina or a specific kind of heart failure, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program has medically proven benefits to overall health and quality of life.

10 foods that may impact your risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes

Researchers examining data from a national health survey and other sources found that consuming too much, or too little, of 10 foods was associated with 45% of deaths in 2012 due to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Study supports benefit of statin use for older adults

Statins are known to be effective in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, but for older adults the guidelines are less clear. A study looking at an older population found that continuing to take statins did have a statistically significant benefit.

Intensive blood sugar control doesn’t have lasting cardiovascular benefits for those with diabetes

Medha Munshi, MD

Contributor

A recent 15-year follow-up to the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial found that short-term intensive blood sugar control did not lead to significant reduction of risk of cardiovascular events in the long term.

Leg pain when you walk? Don’t ignore it

Leg pain when walking that eases with rest may be a sign of peripheral artery disease, which raises risk for other cardiovascular problems. Lifestyle changes — keep walking! — and treatment help.

When it comes to cholesterol levels, white meat may be no better than red meat — and plant-based protein beats both

Plenty of people avoid red meat or eat only small amounts of it. But relying on white meat for protein may not be such a good nutrition choice either. According to the results of a small study, those who ate red meat and white meat had similarly higher cholesterol levels.