Heart Health

Choosing life with a VAD (ventricular assist device)

Despite the challenges of needing to use a battery-operated ventricular assist device (VAD) for heart failure, one man came to terms with his situation and found ways to adapt and enjoy his life as much as possible.

Heart attack versus cardiac arrest

Heart attack and cardiac arrest are different types of events, sometimes connected but often separate. Both are serious, but neither is necessarily fatal.

Lowering nicotine in cigarettes

Mallika Marshall, MD

Contributing Editor

With the intent of making cigarettes less addictive, the FDA has proposed lowering nicotine levels, which could also make it easier for smokers to quit.

Cholesterol: Understanding HDL vs. LDL

When you hear the phrase “high cholesterol,” what exactly does it mean? Doctors often focus on two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. Understanding the differences, and knowing your cholesterol levels, are the first steps to improving your cholesterol profile and lowering heart disease risk.

Where do you stand on bystander CPR?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A survey about CPR found that just over half of those who responded knew how to perform it. Many people are concerned that they will do it wrong, or don’t feel comfortable getting involved, but learning and performing CPR is now easier than before.

6 simple things that can help lower your blood pressure

With the recent updating of blood pressure guidelines, many people have found themselves in a higher-risk category. But making some small lifestyle changes can help get blood pressure down to a healthier level.

Is red wine actually good for your heart?

The belief that drinking red wine offers some degree of protection from heart disease has persisted for decades, but any evidence in support of this is just observational, without any scientific proof to back it up.

February and the heart: More than Valentine’s Day

February is Heart Month, which is a great time to make a commitment to getting heart healthy. Getting to, and staying at, a healthy weight is important for heart health. These three simple steps can help you eat more healthfully, shed some pounds, and enjoy your food mindfully.

Expert advice on how to quit smoking

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

People who are serious about quitting smoking want to know the most effective methods for doing so. For most people this is likely to be a combination of behavior strategies and medications, including nicotine replacement products that can be taken with other smoking cessation drugs.

Can shoveling snow put your heart at risk?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Based on data from over three decades of Canadian hospital admissions, there is evidence to suggest that men who are at high risk of heart disease, or who already have it, should avoid shoveling snow.