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Heart Health Archive

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Your guide to taking statins

Published October 1, 2022

Statins continue to be a first-line treatment for many people at risk of heart attacks and strokes. They help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce plaque build-up, and protect against plaque rupturing, and fight inflammation. Possible side effects are often mild, if they occur, and go away after a brief period. Otherwise, people can manage them by changing the dosage or switching to another type of statin, per their doctor’s direction.

Light during sleep linked to conditions that harm the heart

Published October 1, 2022

Older adults exposed to light while sleeping at night may be more likely to have obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes compared with adults who sleep in darkness.

A virtual approach to healing the heart

Published October 1, 2022

Cardiac rehabilitation, which teaches heart-healthy habits coupled with supervised exercise, can help people with heart conditions prevent future problems. Some parts of the program can be done at home, delivered through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Known as virtual cardiac rehab, this approach offers several advantages over conventional rehab, such as avoiding the time and expense of traveling to multiple sessions during the week.

More protection for your heart? It’s just a shot away

Published October 1, 2022

A yearly influenza vaccine may help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular complications, especially among people who’ve had a recent heart attack. Pneumonia and shingles vaccines also help reduce heart attack and stroke risks. Early fall is a good time to get back on track with these vaccines. Several different types of flu shots are available; experts advise getting whichever one is most readily available. For those ages 65 and older who have a choice, three vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublock Quadrivalent recombinant, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted) may offer slightly better protection than the regular-dose shot and are the preferred choice.

Hearts and minds

Published October 1, 2022

Vascular dementia, which arises from longstanding, cumulative damage to small blood vessels in the brain, may cause or contribute to up to half of cases of dementia. The vessels may thicken or become blocked by blood clots, causing tiny strokes that damage specific parts of the brain important for various thinking abilities. Keeping blood pressure in the recommended range of 120/80 or lower is the best way to prevent vascular dementia.

Bleeding problems: Know your risk

Published October 1, 2022

Anti-clotting medications have a well-known and fairly common effect: a heightened risk of bleeding. Being older, having certain health conditions, and taking certain drugs (including popular over-the-counter pain relievers) can increase this risk. Minor bleeding includes bleeding gums after toothbrushing or flossing and nosebleeds that take longer than usual to stop. Signs of more serious bleeding (which requires immediate medical care) include tea-colored, pink, or red urine; blood in the stool or black, tarry stools; or a sudden, severe headache.

Meal of the month: Vegetarian chili

Published October 1, 2022

Vegetarian chili is a filling, heart-healthy meal that can be dressed up with various toppings. Leftovers can be frozen in single-serving containers for simple dinners or lunches later.

The dirt on soil and water pollution

Published October 1, 2022

Soil and water pollution from heavy metals, pesticides, and microplastics may affect a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. These pollutants can enter the body when people eat crops grown in dirty soil, drink water contaminated by dirty soil, or inhale soil dust. Lead, cadmium, and arsenic are among the most pressing concerns. Potentially helpful actions include testing one’s drinking water, buying organic foods, and minimizing plastic use.

What is a bubble study?

Published October 1, 2022

A bubble study is a test done in conjunction with an echocardiogram to check for the presence of a tiny opening between the heart’s upper chambers called a patent foramen ovale. Such an opening could explain how an unexpected stroke happened.

Heart health guidelines get updated

Published October 1, 2022

The American Heart Association recently revised its checklist for achieving optimal heart health. Adequate sleep was added, and updates were made to previous recommendations for diet, cholesterol and blood sugar measurements, and nicotine exposure.

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