Updated advice for people with heart valve disease

More people who need a new heart valve can have a less invasive procedure instead of surgery, according to updated guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. Most valve replacements are in people with a stiff, thickened aortic valve. The less invasive procedure, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, was initially approved only for people who were too weak or frail to undergo surgery. Today, many people ages 65 and older who meet certain criteria can have TAVR. (Locked) More »

What’s for dinner?

Even people who enjoy cooking sometimes need inspiration for heart-healthy dinner ideas. But there are many options, including those for people who follow a vegan, pescatarian, or omnivorous diet. The two main guidelines: include plenty of plant-based foods (especially fruits and vegetables), and choose mostly unprocessed or minimally processed foods. More »

Depression and heart disease: A double-edged sword?

Depression and cardiovascular disease are common conditions that often occur together. People with depression can find it hard to muster the energy to stick to healthy habits, including choosing and preparing healthy foods and taking prescribed medications on schedule. Three lifestyle changes can improve both illnesses: doing regular exercise, getting plenty of high-quality sleep, and practicing mindfulness meditation. Antidepressants such as sertraline (Zoloft) and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors help ease depression in people with cardiovascular disease. So can cognitive behavioral therapy, which is designed to help people recognize and change ingrained, negative thoughts or behaviors. (Locked) More »

Why you should consider hiring a personal trainer

A personal trainer can provide a safe, effective, and well-rounded exercise routine that is customized to a person’s age, health conditions, and goals. Many people who exercise in gyms don’t get any formal instruction about how to use the machines. Learning the correct body posture, body mechanics, and breathing techniques can provide a more balanced workout. A varied routine can help prevent overuse injuries, stave off boredom, and improve a person’s ability to do other activities, from carrying groceries to swinging a tennis racquet or golf club. (Locked) More »

Genetic testing to tailor heart drug prescriptions?

Pharmacogenomic tests can reveal how your body may respond and react to different medications, including some that help lower cholesterol or prevent blood clots. People who have taken direct-to-consumer genetic tests may have information about how they metabolize clopidogrel (Plavix) or simvastatin (Zocor). But so far, there’s no evidence that the results offer any benefit for the average person who has or is at risk for heart disease. (Locked) More »

Why nuts may be good for your heart

Eating a serving of nuts at least twice a week is linked to a lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. Improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels seen among nut eaters may account for part of this benefit. More »