The Nutrition Facts label finally gets a makeover

Upcoming changes to the Nutrition Facts panel may help consumers choose more nutritious foods and drive the food industry to make products healthier. One important update is the inclusion of added sugars, because excess sugar in the diet can contribute to heart disease. Other label changes may help stem weight gain, which raises the risk of heart disease. Some serving sizes will change to more closely reflect what people typically consume, and the number of calories per serving will be easier to read.  More »

Bypass surgery after a stent?

After an artery-opening angioplasty plus a stent, a person may need bypass surgery in the future. Likewise, some people who have bypass surgery may later need a stent. Neither procedure stops atherosclerosis, the disease that clogs heart arteries.  More »

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency, which happens when veins don’t work properly, can cause swelling, pain, and a sense of heaviness in the legs. Elevating the legs when sitting or lying down can help; so can support stockings.  (Locked) More »

Stroke after a heart attack: What’s the risk?

In the first year after a heart attack, survivors face an elevated risk of both types of stroke: those caused by a clot blocking a brain artery (ischemic) and those that occur when a blood vessel leaks or ruptures (hemorrhagic). But in the following years, only the risk of ischemic stroke remains higher than average. Heart attacks and ischemic strokes have nearly identical risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, unhealthy cholesterol levels, lack of exercise, obesity, and cigarette smoking.  (Locked) More »

5 warning signs of early heart failure

Heart failure occurs when something damages the heart muscle or reduces the heart’s ability to pump effectively. Therefore, the body’s demands for oxygen-rich blood go unmet. The earliest indicators of heart failure can easily be confused with natural aging. However, a collection of symptoms including fatigue, breathlessness, chest congestion, and ankle swelling should be heeded as a warning to seek medical advice. More »

Take a hike!

Hiking—especially on a trail with hills—can be a good way to improve cardiovascular fitness. Being outdoors in nature (such as a forest or even an urban park) may also ease stress, possibly reducing blood pressure and heart disease risk. On flat or slightly hilly terrain, using special poles that help propel the body forward can also help tone the arms, shoulders, and back. This so-called Nordic walking workout increases the number of calories people burn without making them feel as though they’re working harder.  (Locked) More »

Fatty liver disease and your heart

Up to one-third of adults in the United States have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A leading cause of chronic liver disease, NAFLD appears to increase the risk of heart disease independent of diabetes and high blood pressure. A fat-afflicted liver releases inflammatory compounds and other substances that might promote fatty buildup within the arteries (atherosclerosis) and make blood more likely to clot, both of which may boost the risk of heart attack and stroke. Exercise (even without weight loss) can improve NAFLD; so can a healthy diet and medications such as cholesterol-lowering statins.  (Locked) More »

FDA approves first absorbable stent

The FDA approved the first artery-opening stent made from a substance that biodegrades in about three years. The new stents appear to work as well as older metal stents, but blood clots may be more likely to form inside the absorbable stents.  More »