Top 10 cardiovascular advances of 2014

In 2014, the top 10 advances to treat and prevent heart disease and stroke include novel drugs to lower LDL cholesterol, treat heart failure, and prevent blood clots; procedures and devices that include a non-surgical treatment to replace aortic valves and a sensor to monitor people with heart failure; improvements in and newfound benefits from weight-loss surgery and a therapy for sleep apnea; and improvements to speed up treatments for stroke and guidelines for preventing recurrent stroke. More »

Ask the doctor: When your heart "skips" a beat

Premature ventricular contractions happen when one of the heart's lower chambers (ventricles) contracts early. This common, usually harmless condition is often described as feeling as though the heart has skipped a beat. (Locked) More »

Improving heart health is also good for your brain

Everything that is unhealthy for your blood vessels and your heart has also been linked to memory and thinking problems. You can safeguard your brain power by adopting a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, getting plenty of aerobic exercise, managing stress, and sticking with your heart medicines.  (Locked) More »

Eating fish linked to fewer heart attacks

Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may help prevent blood clots, stabilize dangerous heart rhythms, and lower blood pressure. People who eat fish may be less likely to have heart attacks, but taking fish oil supplements doesn’t appear to have a similar benefit. Experts advise eating one to two servings of fish a week, choosing from a variety of species including salmon, whitefish, trout, and mackerel.  More »

How to choose and use a heart rate monitor

Heart rate monitors help people exercise at the right intensity, allowing them to safely reach their fitness goals. During an exercise session, healthy people should try to spend 20 minutes in their target range. Target heart rates range from 65% to 80% of the person’s maximum heart rate (220 minus age in years). Handgrip heart rate monitors found on fitness equipment may not be accurate; monitors with straps that circle the chest are a better choice. More advanced models offer programming options and additional data, but they aren’t needed to get a healthy workout.  (Locked) More »

Adjusting your blood pressure medicines at home

There is a long and successful history of people with diabetes adjusting their medications based on daily indicators. Today’s blood pressure medications are remarkably effective but a large number of people who take them still don’t have their blood pressure under control. A program that allows individuals to make drug changes on their own based on strict monitoring and guidelines from their doctor may work well for some people.  (Locked) More »

The evolution of artery-opening stents

The tiny wire-mesh tubes called stents that prop open arteries cleared during an angioplasty have undergone a series of improvements since they were first developed 30 years ago. Early bare-metal stents were prone to clogging up, a problem known as restenosis. Drug-eluting stents prevented that problem but led to another: blood clot formation. Today’s third-generation stents address that issue but still require the use of blood-thinning drugs after a stent placement. Researchers are working on bioabsorbable stents that would gradually disappear and not require as much use of blood thinners.  (Locked) More »