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Time for a diabetes tune-up
Heart Health Archive
Don’t buy into dietary supplements for heart health
Statins were more effective at lowering cholesterol levels compared with six dietary supplements touted for heart health benefits, including managing cholesterol.
Better blood pressure control after a stroke may reduce risk of falls
Stroke survivors who take their blood pressure drugs as prescribed may be less likely to experience a serious fall compared with those who don’t take their medications on schedule.
To lower heart risk, pump up your exercise efforts
Increasing the volume or intensity of daily physical activity helps lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Boosting both appears to lower risk even further.
Sugary drinks may raise levels of unhealthy blood fats
Sugary drinks—the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet—have been linked to higher levels of LDL cholesterol and other unhealthy fats in the bloodstream.
Coronary microvascular disease: Trouble from tiny vessels
Microvascular disease refers to problems in the network of tiny blood vessels in the heart. Doctors suspect this condition in people who have angina (chest) pain with no evidence of blockages in the heart’s larger arteries. In the most common form of microvascular disease, the inner walls of small arteries thicken, and the layer of cells closest to the blood lose their ability to expand and contract in response to the demand for increased blood flow, such as during exercise. In another form of the problem, vasospastic angina, muscles within the heart’s arteries suddenly clamp down, causing a temporary spasm that blocks blood flow to heart muscle.
When cancer treatment affects the heart
Side effects from both older and newer cancer therapies can affect the heart and blood vessels, possibly causing serious, sometimes life-threatening complications. People diagnosed with any type of cancer should ask their doctor whether their planned treatment might lead to cardiovascular problems. Those ages 65 and older and anyone with risk factors for heart disease (such as high blood pressure or diabetes) may want to request a referral to a cardio-oncologist. These specialists focus on preventing and managing cardiovascular problems in people who are undergoing (or have completed) treatment for cancer.
The latest on lipoprotein(a), an inherited cause of early heart disease
About 20% of people have high blood levels of lipoprotein(a)—Lp(a) for short—a fatty particle that’s like the evil twin of the more familiar LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Elevated Lp(a) which can double or triple risk of a heart attack and raise stroke risk, and is linked to problems with the heart’s aortic valve. With new treatments that can lower Lp(a) on the horizon, cardiologists are now testing more people for this biomarker, which is not included in standard cholesterol tests.
Choosing heart-healthy oils for home cooking
Some social media posts suggest that seed oils (such as canola, safflower, and sunflower oils) are responsible for a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. But there’s scant scientific evidence to support these claims. Seed oils are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease when substituted for saturated fats (found mainly in animal-based foods such as butter, cheese, and meat).
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