Treating heart attacks: Changes from Eisenhower’s era to the present day

Treatments for heart disease have changed dramatically since President Eisenhower’s heart attack in 1955. Highlights of the advances include techniques to restore a normal heart rhythm and to repair blocked heart arteries, the development of medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and advice about lifestyle habits. (Locked) More »

What is heart rate variability?

Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between heartbeats. Low HRV is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, whereas people with high HRV tend to have higher fitness levels and be more resilient to stress. (Locked) More »

Put a song in your heart

Music’s mood-enhancing ability may have cardiovascular benefits. Listening to energizing music may help people exercise, while listening to calming music may help people before, during, and after heart-related procedures by reducing pain and anxiety. Certain songs (such as "Stayin’ Alive") can help bystanders responding to a cardiac arrest remember the correct rhythm for doing chest compressions. (Locked) More »

Migraine: A connection to cardiovascular disease?

People who get migraines with aura have a slightly higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease than people who get migraines without aura or no migraines. But migraines are most common in younger women, whose baseline risk of cardiovascular problems is very low in the first place. Still, those who get migraine with aura should be sure to tell their primary care provider or gynecologist. Taking estrogen-containing birth control pills or hormone therapy may further raise stroke risk in these women. More »

Omega-3 fats and your heart

Higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids—specifically, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from plants—may help lower the odds of a poor prognosis in the years following a heart attack. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are good sources of EPA. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are good sources of ALA, which is also found in soybean and canola oil. (Locked) More »

Can meditation help your heart?

About 10% of American adults say they practice meditation, a mind- calming technique that may improve factors linked to cardiovascular health. Many forms slow down a person’s breathing rate, which may partly explain meditation’s ability to trigger physiological effects. These include lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. Similar meditative techniques such as guided imagery, tai chi, yoga, prayer, or even knitting can also induce those changes. (Locked) More »

Fruit of the month: Bananas

One of the most popular fruits in the United States, bananas are affordable and available year-round. They’re a good source of potassium, a mineral linked to lower rates of high blood pressure and stroke. More »

The benefits of brief bursts of exercise

Doing vigorous exercise for just 12 minutes triggers changes in blood levels of substances linked to cardiovascular health. The patterns of these substances may provide a way to gauge a person’s fitness level. More »