Keep tabs on your drinking

Over time, a single drink per day may slightly increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (afib). This risk may be related to an enlargement of the heart’s upper left chamber (atrium). And binge drinking—defined as consuming about four to five drinks over a two-hour period—can also trigger afib.  (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Reversing atherosclerosis?

Some people may be able to reverse the buildup of plaque inside their heart’s arteries by taking high-dose cholesterol-lowering drugs or by following a strict, plant-based diet combined with exercise and stress reduction.  (Locked) More »

How to trim your medication costs

People may be able to save on prescription costs by choosing generic drugs or in some cases, splitting pills. They can also find out if they could substitute a less expensive brand-name drug in the same medication family. Consumers should also review all their medications with their physician to make sure they aren’t taking any unneeded drugs. Finally, they should compare prices at different pharmacies, as retail drug prices vary a lot from store to store.  (Locked) More »

Thinking about sex after a heart attack

After a heart attack, most people want to get back to their everyday life as quickly as possible. While driving, exercising, and returning to work are routinely discussed in the doctor’s office, the struggle many heart attack survivors encounter when trying to resume their sex lives is rarely mentioned. However, the people who do have this conversation are more often able to return to sexual activity than those who don’t. (Locked) More »

Depression and heart disease: A two-way street

Depression is about twice as likely to occur in people with heart disease compared with the general population. Both conditions have been linked to inflammation, which may damage the heart and blood vessels. And people with depression face a heightened risk of heart disease, possibly because they have a hard time getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods. Antidepressant medications (which a primary care provider can prescribe) combined with talk therapy with a mental health professional can help.  (Locked) More »

Blood pressure: Can it be too low?

Blood pressure readings of 140/80 mm Hg and higher can increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke. But a blood pressure that drops to 120/70 mm Hg or lower because of medications may also be dangerous. This phenomenon is known as the “J curve,” where the bottom of the J represents the ideal range for blood pressure, and values higher or lower are undesirable. When systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) gets too low, people may develop symptoms such as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure (the second number in a reading) by itself does not cause any symptoms.  More »

To keep your heart working well, stay active as you age

As people grow older, their hearts tend to become thicker and stiffer and not pump as effectively. But those who stay physically active as they move from middle age into their 70s may be less likely to develop age-related declines in heart function. More »