Hormones and your heart

Age-related drops in sex hormone levels sometimes cause undesirable symptoms in both women and men. For women, hormone therapy (estrogen and progestins) can address those symptoms but should not be used for the purpose of reducing cardiovascular risk. A free mobile app called MenPro can help women understand their treatment options, based on their risk of heart disease. For older men, testosterone therapy may moderately improve sexual function but does not appear to improve mood or walking speed. But because there are no large, long-term studies of testosterone therapy in men, the heart risks are unknown. (Locked) More »

Recovering from bypass surgery

Recovering from heart bypass surgery usually takes at least six weeks. Common challenges include feeling weak and tired, a loss of appetite, constipation, and depression. Also, heavy lifting and driving should be avoided.  (Locked) More »

Prescription drug and supplement use on the rise among seniors

Older Americans are taking more prescription drugs and dietary supplements than in years past. More than a third of adults ages 62 to 85 take five or more prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, or dietary supplements. Polypharmacy—taking multiple medications—could put one in six seniors at risk for drug interactions. But the most commonly reported examples of these combinations are not necessarily dangerous. For example, aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) are often prescribed in combination for people who’ve had a heart attack or received an artery-opening stent.  More »

Is your heart healthy enough for surgery?

Common, noncardiac surgeries in older people, such as hip replacement or gallbladder removal, can stress the heart. Certain people at risk for heart disease (such as people with high cholesterol or high blood pressure) may need additional testing prior to major, noncardiac surgery to make sure their hearts are healthy enough for surgery. Such testing is referred to as “clearance for surgery” and is designed to detect any undiagnosed coronary disease.  (Locked) More »

Gut reaction: How bacteria in the belly may affect the heart

The trillions of microbes found in the human gut, known as the gut microbiota, interact with the foods people eat and may influence their risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Altering the gut microbiota might one day lead to personalized diet recommendations or other therapies to lower heart disease risk. For now, experts say that eating a plant-based diet tends to create a healthier, more diverse gut microbiota than eating a typical American diet.  (Locked) More »

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Who has an inherited risk?

 A family history of heart disease, especially when it shows up at a young age, is a warning sign that a strong genetic component is at play. Common heart conditions such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease most likely result from mild changes in a wide variety of genes combined with lifestyle and environmental factors. However, a few rare diseases are caused by changes with powerful effects in a few key genes. The most common of these is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Now, doctors can use genetic testing to help guide individuals and families at risk for this condition. (Locked) More »

Dance your way to better heart health?

Regular, moderate-intensity dancing may lower the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. Aside from the exercise benefits, dancing is often a lifelong habit and provides stress-lowering social connections.  More »