Realizing the promise of Life's Simple 7

Minute specks of calcium in the walls of the heart’s arteries signal a higher risk of future heart attack or stroke. Doctors can detect these deposits using an imaging technique known as a coronary artery calcium scan. Making positive changes to reduce cardiovascular risk in seven key areas as outlined in the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 program may prevent the development of heart disease. (Locked) More »

Battling breathlessness

Shortness of breath is one of the most common problems people bring to their doctors. The most obvious causes such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery disease are relatively easy to uncover with a battery of standard tests. For some people, however, the source of the problem remains frustratingly elusive. Advanced cardiopulmonary testing that measures heart and lung function during exercise can often provide answers. (Locked) More »

The downside of too much sitting

More than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. But all that sedentary behavior may put people at a higher risk for heart disease, as well as shortening their lives—even if they exercise up to one hour a day. Experts recommend taking steps to sit less throughout the day, such as standing while talking on the phone and doing light exercise during television commercials. (Locked) More »

Weight-loss drugs and your heart

Medications to aid weight loss may be helpful for people with obesity, a condition that puts a heavy burden on the heart. Some early weight-loss medications proved risky for the heart, but the approval of four new drugs in the past two years has expanded the options for treating obesity. However, the benefits are modest at best, helping people lose an average of about 5% of their body weight over six to 12 months. People may need to try several different medications before finding one that works for them. (Locked) More »

Angina and its silent cousin

When the heart temporarily gets less blood than it needs, it’s known as cardiac ischemia. Often the result of clogged heart arteries, ischemia can cause the chest discomfort called angina. But most of the time, ischemia causes no symptoms. In people with heart disease, this so-called silent ischemia may occur up to 10 times as often as angina. Silent ischemia is most often diagnosed during a stress test to check for possible heart disease. Treatment may include medications similar to those used to treat angina, which ease the heart’s workload and widen blood vessels. More »

The future of heart rhythm monitoring?

Small skin patches may offer a more convenient way to diagnose heart rhythm problems than the portable electrocardiogram (ECG) devices known as Holter monitors. Unlike the bulky Holter monitors, the Band-aid–sized patches, which are placed on the chest, have no wires, are waterproof, and can record data continuously for up to two weeks. For now, their biggest role is for people with frequent palpitations, which make people feel as though their heart is pounding, racing, or fluttering. Often, the patch reveals a normal heart rhythm, which lets the person avoid more testing that can be stressful and costly. (Locked) More »

Heart disease risks common in people with eczema

Eczema, an itchy, scaly skin disease, may make people more prone to heart disease and stroke. A number of factors that raise heart disease risk, including obesity and lack of exercise, are more common among people with eczema than those without it. (Locked) More »

Easy-does-it jogging may lead to a longer life

In one study, people who took a leisurely jog just a few times a week lived longer than those who avoided jogging. The joggers who reaped the longevity benefit ran for a total of one to 2.5 hours per week at a pace of about 5 mph. (Locked) More »