How to stick to a low-salt diet when dining out

Most restaurant offerings are very high in sodium, a known contributor to high blood pressure. But people can limit their sodium when eating out by checking online nutrition information, which is required by law in restaurants with more than 20 locations. Other tips include avoiding foods that are smoked or cured, as well as processed or instant food commonly found in fast-food restaurants. Another strategy is to frequent farm-to-table establishments that serve fresh, locally produced foods, and asking the chef to grill, broil, or steam the food with no added sauces or seasonings. (Locked) More »

Is advanced lipoprotein testing useful?

Advanced lipoprotein testing measures the size, distribution, and number of the different types of tiny, protein-covered particles that carry cholesterol through the body. But there is no solid evidence that these tests can improve a person’s heart health. (Locked) More »

Recognizing the most common warning signs of a stroke

The most common symptoms of a stroke—Facial drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulty—are included in the mnemonic “FAST” (the “T” stands for Time to call 911). Balance problems may also occur, but this is less common and often accompanied by other symptoms, such as leg heaviness or trouble seeing. Visual problems can include blurred vision, double vision, or trouble focusing. Rapid recognition of these signs and prompt treatment can prevent a potentially devastating disability or death due to a stroke. More »

Power up your heart health

With age, much of the body’s muscle is replaced by fat. This shift can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Strength exercises increase muscle mass and burn body fat, thus reducing the risk for obesity. This type of workout also helps manage type 2 diabetes by decreasing abdominal fat and improving blood sugar control. In addition, strength training can reduce blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which further lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. (Locked) More »

Do premature heart attacks run in your family?

About 12% of people ages 20 and older have a parent or sibling who had a heart attack or angina (chest pain caused by narrowed coronary arteries) before the age of 50. Over all, these people are roughly twice as likely to have a heart attack than people without that family history. They should be extra vigilant about monitoring and managing their blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Lifestyle habits such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco, and maintaining a healthy weight may be sufficient, but some people need to take medications. (Locked) More »

Putting the brakes on a racing heart

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a rapid heart rhythm caused by an electrical glitch in the upper part of the heart. During an episode, the heart may beat 250 times or more per minute. With a doctor’s approval, people with long-lasting SVT episodes can try coughing, gagging, or other special maneuvers that sometimes help slow down the heart. Some people with frequent, bothersome episodes take medication or opt for catheter ablation. This procedure detects and destroys the area of tissue causing the problem, using instruments passed through a leg vein up to the heart. (Locked) More »