Unscrambling the message on eggs

Advice about eating eggs has changed over the years, ranging from a limit of three to seven per week. Although eggs are high in cholesterol, dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol very much in most people. Saturated fat from meat and full-fat dairy products likely plays a bigger role. However, some people are more affected by dietary cholesterol than others. People with high blood cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease should eat no more than two eggs a week. Focusing on overall diet quality, rather than one particular food, is also important. (Locked) More »

Pacemaker concerns

The latest pacemaker models not only help people stay active later in life, they’re also more compatible with today’s technology. But people with pacemakers should take precautions when lifting weights and in certain airport security situations. (Locked) More »

Even light physical activity may help your heart

Growing evidence suggests that any type of activity—even low-intensity activity such as light housework or gardening—may help to lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Historically, light activity hasn’t been accurately reported in studies, but new research that uses a device to track body movements can assess light activity more precisely. The cardiovascular benefits of light activity may result in part from decreasing time spent sitting, a known contributor to poor heart health. (Locked) More »

Hands-only CPR: A lifesaving technique within your reach

Hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) appears to be just as successful as standard CPR, which uses mouth-to-mouth breathing. Learning the simpler, hands-only version seems to make people more likely to perform the potentially lifesaving technique. Doing hands-only CPR eliminates the fear of contracting a disease, one of the main reasons people say they hesitate to perform CPR. Other barriers people cite include fear of injuring a person by doing compressions incorrectly and not knowing how to perform the technique. The American Heart Association, American Red Cross, and other organizations offer classes in CPR and the use of a public-access defibrillator, another critical step in the chain of survival if someone needs CPR. (Locked) More »

Replacing a failing aortic valve: No surgery needed?

A technique called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may soon replace surgery as the best way to replace a failing aortic valve. The procedure delivers a new valve to the heart through a catheter that’s passed through an artery in the upper leg. Most valve replacements are done to treat aortic stenosis, which usually results from an age-related buildup of calcium deposits on the valve. TAVR offers an easier, shorter recovery than surgery and is also more cost-effective. But TAVR has some disadvantages, including a higher risk of needing a pacemaker after the procedure, and it might not be appropriate for everyone who needs a new aortic valve. (Locked) More »

New insights about inflammation

Inflammation plays a key role in the development of atherosclerosis, the root cause of most heart disease. A blood test for inflammation, known as the hsCRP test, can predict heart disease just as well as LDL cholesterol testing. Two recent studies of different anti-inflammatory medications in people with heart disease are helping researchers zero in on new ways to prevent heart attacks and related problems. But the quest for effective treatments to lower inflammation is still a work in progress. More »

Legume of the month: Mung beans

Many Asian cuisines use olive-green mung beans in soups, curries, and savory pancakes. Americans may be more familiar with slender, white mung bean sprouts, which are used in Chinese and Thai stir-fries. More »

For most people, no need for niacin

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is unlikely to provide any heart-related benefit for most people. Its only possible role is for people who cannot tolerate statins, but other, newer medications would likely offer greater benefits. More »