Run for a longer life? Just a short jog might make a difference

Small amounts of jogging or running may lower the risk of heart disease and help people live longer. Even running just once a week, for less than 50 minutes ‌each time and at a speed below 6 mph, seems to have benefits. Experts recommend starting low and slow, such as by adding short periods of running during a brisk walk. Each week, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (such as running) or a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity. (Locked) More »

Understanding triglycerides

Triglycerides are the most common form of fat both in food and in the bloodstream. Growing evidence suggests that above-normal triglyceride levels can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. More »

Home cooking with less salt

Home cooking using fresh, unprocessed foods and eating lower-sodium versions of dressings and condiments can help people eat less sodium. Most Americans still consume far too much of the mineral, which raises blood pressure. Other tips to lower sodium include rinsing canned beans, vegetables, and tuna fish before using; not adding salt to the water when cooking pasta, rice, or other grains; and using fresh herbs, spices, citrus juice, or vinegar to enhance flavor instead of salt. When baking, people can use baking powder made with potassium bicarbonate instead of sodium bicarbonate. More »

What causes a leaky mitral valve?

The mitral valve controls blood flow between the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. Some people are born with a faulty mitral valve, which can cause blood to leak backward across the valve, a problem known as mitral regurgitation. But most people acquire mitral regurgitation in response to a different heart ailment, such as a heart attack, heart failure, or heart muscle disease. People with a moderate amount of mitral regurgitation should see their physician twice a year and get a yearly echocardiogram, or sooner if they develop symptoms. These include shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, palpitations, and swollen feet or ankles. (Locked) More »

Cardiology specialists: When you need extra expertise

Seeing a cardiologist is standard practice following a heart attack. But some people—such as those with a family history of early heart disease—may want to consult a cardiologist even if they haven’t experienced a heart-related scare. People who have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, also may want to consider an evaluation by a heart disease expert. General cardiologists have broad knowledge about managing atherosclerosis, as well as diagnosing and treating heart rhythm disorders, heart valve problems, and other blood vessel disorders. (Locked) More »

New hope for an inherited form of heart disease

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common form of inherited heart disease, is thought to affect one in 500 people. It can be challenging to diagnose because the symptoms vary widely and are sometimes mistaken for other disorders. Many people with HCM have no symptoms or only mild ones for most of their lives. Others notice breathlessness, fatigue, or chest pain, or they have episodes of fainting or near-fainting (particularly during exertion). The disease is passed from one generation to the next by way of dominant-acting mutations in genes that govern the structure of the heart muscle. (Locked) More »

Seed of the month: Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are shiny, reddish or golden-brown seeds that have a slightly nutty taste. They contain healthful nutrients such as linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. (Locked) More »

How noise pollution may harm the heart

Long-term exposure to traffic noise may lead to heightened activity in the amygdala, the brain region involved in processing stress, anxiety, and fear. This link may explain why chronic noise appears to raise cardiovascular risk. More »