Matters of the heart: Sex and cardiovascular disease

Sexual activity and sexual function are major quality-of-life issues for both men and women. Frequency and quality of sex is closely tied to a person’s general health, and many of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease conspire to diminish sexual enjoyment. Good communication between partners and with the doctor can help alleviate many common concerns and put a couple back on the road to intimacy. More »

Ask the doctor: What is Prinzmetal's angina?

A coronary artery spasm is a tightening of the muscles within the arteries of the heart. These spasms, also called Prinzmetal’s angina, briefly stop blood flow to the heart, triggering chest pain.  (Locked) More »

Should you seek advanced cholesterol testing?

Advanced lipoprotein testing, a more detailed version of a standard cholesterol test, measures the distribution, size, and number of different types of lipoproteins. For most people, the findings are unlikely to change a doctor’s advice. But certain people may want to consider advanced lipoprotein testing. They include people who have cardiovascular disease without obvious risk factors (such as smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes) and those with a family history of early heart disease.  More »

Heart failure caused by an infection

Unlike heart muscle weakness brought on by years of stress to the cardiovascular system, viral cardiomyopathy is a chance disease that develops from a routine viral illness. For unknown reasons, the virus lodges in the cardiac muscle and causes inflammation of the heart. (Locked) More »

When high blood pressure affects the arteries to the lungs

Pulmonary hypertension is a broad category of diseases characterized by shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid buildup in the right side of the heart. A severe form of the condition known as pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) can lead to early death. However, several new medications offer expanded treatment options and new hope for people with PAH. (Locked) More »

A sugary diet may spell trouble for your heart

A sugar-laden diet may raise the risk of heart disease, even in people who are not overweight. Sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks are by far the biggest sources of added sugar in the average American’s diet. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar—the recommended daily limit of added sugar for men, according to the American Heart Association. (The recommended daily limit for women is about 6 teaspoons.)  (Locked) More »

Measure blood pressure in both arms

Measuring blood pressure in both arms may reveal important information about a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Small differences between the right and left arm are normal. But large ones—more than 10 points—may suggest the presence of artery-clogging plaque in the vessel that supplies blood to the arm with lower blood pressure. Such plaque is a signal of peripheral artery disease, which suggests that arteries in the heart and brain are also clogged, boosting the odds of having a heart attack or stroke. (Locked) More »

Beware of possible risks from cold and flu remedies

Taking over-the-counter cold and flu remedies that contain phenylephrine plus acetaminophen may lead to high blood levels of phenylephrine. Possible side effects—high blood pressure and a fast heartbeat—could spell danger for people with heart disease.  (Locked) More »