Sizing up 'superfoods' for heart health

“Superfoods” are rich in heart-healthy nutrients such as soluble fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids that can help keep your arteries clear. They include oatmeal, oranges, beans, spinach, kale, salmon, extra-virgin olive oil, quinoa, avocados, nuts, berries, and dark chocolate. But experts say it’s best to eat a wide range of fresh, unprocessed foods, which will give you a combination of nutrients and micronutrients that occur together in food. More »

Ask the doctor: Blood pressure drugs and potassium

People who take a potassium-sparing diuretic such as spironolactone (Aldactone, generic), should not use salt substitutes that contain potassium, and limit their intake of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, orange juice, and potatoes. (Locked) More »

5 Action Steps for Early Heart Failure

Heart failure may start with injury from a heart attack, develop as a result of damaged valves, or be brought on by underlying disease. Many times, it is the product of years of toil against high blood pressure and clogged arteries. Regardless of what sets the process in motion, recognizing the problem early and taking appropriate action can help you live longer and better.  (Locked) More »

New techniques for treating atrial fibrillation

A malfunction in the heart’s internal electrical system can disrupt the normal beating sequence and send the two upper chambers into a fast, irregular quiver known as atrial fibrillation. Episodes of atrial fibrillation can cause distressing symptoms or go unnoticed. Either way, untreated atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for stroke. Medications are the first avenue of treatment to control symptoms and reduce risk. However, a host of new devices and technologies offer promise to people who are not helped by drug treatment. (Locked) More »

Borderline hypertension: When do you need treatment?

Hypertension, defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or above, is a primary risk factor for stroke and heart attack. But the perils of hypertension do not suddenly appear as blood pressure readings cross that threshold. Many people fall into the murky zone of borderline hypertension, in which blood pressure is higher than ideal but not yet at a point where medications are recommended. Making diet and lifestyle changes proven to lower blood pressure can prevent or delay the need to take high blood pressure medicines in the future.  (Locked) More »

Understanding angioplasty: When you need it and when you may not

Angioplasty and stent placement—a procedure that widens a narrowed coronary artery—is done most often in people experiencing a heart attack or unstable angina. But some are done after  a stress test suggests a possible blockage in one or more of the heart’s arteries. However, nonemergency or elective angioplasty is usually not necessary in people who don’t have angina. Medical therapy (including drugs and lifestyle changes) is just as effective for preventing a heart attack or death as angioplasty. (Locked) More »

Stroke and migraine: What's the link?

Individuals who experience painful migraine headaches that are preceded by the visual disturbances known as aura may be more vulnerable to stroke. The connection between migraine and stroke is complex, and researchers are still piecing together the many possible explanations for the connection. In the meantime, migraine suffers should be aware they may have a higher-than-average stroke risk and look for ways to minimize other factors that could increase their likelihood of stroke.  (Locked) More »