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If you live in an area with more than one hospital, how can you
learn which one is best for the medical care that you need. New
databases are helping take some of the guesswork out of the
Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Smallstep.gov Web site for dozens
of tips on making small changes to better health.
Stealth Health: How To Sneak Age-defying, Disease-fighting
Habits Into Your Life Without Really Trying, by Debra L.
Gordon and Dr. David L. Katz (Reader's Digest Association, 2005)
Leff B, Burton L, Mader SL, et al. Hospital at home: feasibility
and outcomes of a program to provide hospital-level care at home
for acutely ill older patients.
Annals of Internal Medicine 2005; 143:798-808.
Trying to make major lifestyle changes to improve health is
difficult. These ten small changes are easier to implement and
can help you take better care of your heart.
Organizations that track and compile data on the quality of
hospitals can help prospective patients make better decisions
about their care.
A movement called Hospital at Home seeks to provide
professional-caliber medical care at home to people who need care
but do not need to be hospitalized. The concept is simple.
Instead of admitting patients to a hospital for relatively
straightforward conditions, doctors and nurses administer
treatments in the patient's home. New communication technologies
coupled with the miniaturization and portability of ultrasound
and x-ray machines, devices for delivering intravenous (IV)
medications, and other advances are making it easier and safer to
Statins are widely prescribed cardiovascular medications that
lower LDL cholesterol and help fight inflammation. But they can
cause side effects. New information on statins' benefits and
risks comes out almost every month. In the meantime, it's worth
asking your doctor if a statin is right for you.
Two currently available tools estimate artery "age" using pulse
wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness. Measurement of
these physical variables in thousands of people has allowed
researchers to identify ranges for each that correspond to
different chronological ages. A third tool that can be used at
home relies on generally available information on age,
cholesterol, and blood pressure.
The body's nerve system regulates heart rate and blood pressure,
so researchers are looking at ways to use nerve stimulation to
treat cardiovascular conditions.
Tiny parts of chromosomes called telomeres appear to have a
relationship to the development of heart disease, opening a new
avenue of research.
A study is planning to test the effectiveness of continuing to
take post-stent medication past the recommended 12 months.
I have been taking ginkgo pills for my memory for several years.
I was just diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and my doctor put
me on Coumadin. Is it okay to keep taking ginkgo?
If you have a slow heart rate (bradycardia), is it safe to drink
wine? If so, how much per day? Does alcohol affect the heart