Simple swaps to eat less salt

The top 10 sources of sodium in the American diet include processed foods that contain several high-sodium ingredients, such as cheese and cured meats. Examples include pizza, sandwiches, and burritos and tacos. The leading source of sodium is bread and rolls, not because these foods are especially high in salt but because people eat them frequently. More »

Narrowed aortic valve with no symptoms

People diagnosed with aortic stenosis (when the valve in the heart’s largest vessel stiffens and narrows) may not have any noticeable symptoms. An exercise stress test may help detect early symptoms or signs that warrant more attention. (Locked) More »

Getting the most out of your heart medications

Medications used to treat cardiovascular disease can help prevent life-threatening events, so people should make sure they’re taking them correctly. Understanding the reasons behind specific prescribing instructions may help. Examples include finding the best the timing for blood pressure medications, taking medications with food, and avoiding or minimizing alcohol use while taking certain medications. (Locked) More »

Radiation from heart imaging: What you need to know

Some tests to diagnose heart disease involve small amounts of radiation, and these tests are being used with increasing frequency. Examples include coronary artery calcium scans, computed tomography angiography, and nuclear stress tests. But the theoretical increased risk of cancer from these tests is minimal, especially considering that radiation-induced cancers don’t occur for decades. (Locked) More »

Does loneliness play a role in cardiovascular problems?

Many older adults are at risk for social isolation because they’re divorced or have lost a partner. But loneliness may slightly raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, perhaps by increasing stress hormones that can harm the cardiovascular system. One explanation for this phenomenon is that solitary people don’t have anyone to help them manage stress and cope with difficult situations. Ways to increase social connectivity include signing up for a class, joining a group (such as a book club), or volunteering. (Locked) More »

Aldosterone overload: An overlooked cause of high blood pressure?

An imbalance of the hormone aldosterone, which helps the body manage water and sodium, may be responsible for about one in 15 cases of high blood pressure. A benign tumor on one of the adrenal glands (which produce several hormones, including aldosterone) is the most common cause of excess aldosterone. This condition, called aldosteronism, may also contribute to coronary microvascular disease, in which the walls of the small arteries in the heart are damaged. (Locked) More »

Vegetable of the month: Tomatoes

Eating tomatoes and tomato products may help lower cholesterol and improve blood vessel function. In addition, tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps eliminate cell-damaging free radicals in the body. (Locked) More »

Duration of atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke

Even intermittent (paroxysmal) atrial fibrillation may increase a person’s risk of stroke. Measuring afib burden (the amount of time spent in afib) may help doctors to better assess a person’s need for stroke prevention strategies. More »

Exercise: Better starting later than never

Exercising regularly throughout life is the best way to preserve heart health. But starting to exercise even in late middle age may lessen the risk of heart failure, a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. More »