Hypertension and Stroke

Discrimination, high blood pressure, and health disparities in African Americans

It is well established that African Americans have a higher risk of hypertension compared with other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. Researchers hypothesized that systemic, sustained discrimination could be a cause of this, and examined the effects of stress, discrimination, and injustice on health outcomes over the course of a person’s life.

Is it safe to reduce blood pressure medications for older adults?

Many older people take multiple medications, and managing them can be a burden. It’s common for people with high blood pressure to be prescribed several medications, so a recent study examined the effects of reducing the number of blood pressure medications in a small group of test subjects.

Worried about sleep apnea? Home-based testing is now the norm

Sleep apnea robs people of high-quality sleep, increases the risk of heart problems, and puts people at higher risk of accidents. While an overnight stay in a sleep lab used to be required to diagnose sleep apnea, now this testing often can be done at home.

Metabolic syndrome is on the rise: What it is and why it matters

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Because metabolic syndrome boosts the risk of developing several serious health problems, a troubling rise in rates of occurrence of metabolic syndrome among certain segments of the US population is of great concern.

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?

An analysis of multiple studies looking at the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive health –– abilities like thinking, memory, and attention –– found that older people who lower high blood pressure are slightly less likely to develop cognitive impairment or dementia.

Go to the hospital if you need emergency care, even in the era of COVID-19

Scott Weiner, MD

Contributor

Emergency departments have seen a decline in people seeking care, even for serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, out of fear of contracting COVID-19. But delaying treatment in such situations could worsen the outcome, and precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of all patients.

Home-cooked meals with less salt

Most Americans consume far too much sodium, which raises blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Spending this extended period of time close to home is a good opportunity to work on cutting sodium from your diet by preparing low-salt meals.

Lifestyle changes are important even if you take medications

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

People who are prescribed medication for high cholesterol or high blood pressure may be more likely to gain weight and less likely to exercise, but for those who are on such medications, it’s even more important to commit to making healthier lifestyle choices.

How does cardiovascular disease increase the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19?

Initial investigation into COVID-19 focused on its respiratory effects, but a more recent report describes serious cardiovascular complications in people with pre-existing heart disease. How does this underlying condition increase risk for these people?

Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Could sleeping too much be bad for you? Possibly. A study found that people who slept more than nine hours a night and took long daytime naps, or who reported poor-quality sleep, were much more likely to have a stroke than those who slept eight hours or less a night.