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Heart Health Archive

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A safer way to diagnose coronary artery disease?

Published August 1, 2022

Cardiac CT angiography (CCTA), a noninvasive test to check for clogged heart arteries, is now considered a first-line test for people with suspected heart disease. This test uses a CT scanner, which takes multiple, rapid x-rays that are merged together to create a detailed, three-dimensional view of the heart’s arteries. CCTA appears to be just as effective as traditional angiography for detecting and preventing heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease, but with fewer procedure-related risks.

Stroke risk rises in people who develop depression after a heart attack

Published July 1, 2022

A 2022 study found that people who have depression after a heart attack are nearly 50% more likely to suffer a stroke compared with heart attack survivors who don’t develop depression.

The ABCs of atrial fibrillation

Published July 1, 2022

About one in 11 men ages 65 and older has atrial fibrillation (afib), a heart rhythm disorder that causes an irregular and often faster-than-normal heartbeat. Afib can be persistent and chronic, or it can happen intermittently. People might have no symptoms with either variety, or afib can cause lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or extreme fatigue. But the biggest worry is a fivefold increased risk of stroke. The main treatment choices for people are rate control with medication, or rhythm control, done with medication or a procedure such as electrical cardioversion or catheter ablation.

Meal of the month: A plate of pasta

Published July 1, 2022

Healthier alternatives to standard white pasta include spiralized vegetable "zoodles" (made from zucchini or yellow squash) as well as pasta made from whole-wheat flour, buckwheat flour, edamame (soybeans), chickpeas, or red lentils.

The ever-evolving message about eggs and heart health

Published July 1, 2022

A 2022 study found that egg consumption equal to about one per day and greater dietary cholesterol intake were linked to a slightly higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Smartwatch monitoring after a heart valve procedure

Published July 1, 2022

A 2022 study suggests that using a smartwatch capable of estimating blood oxygen levels and recording an electrocardiogram could be an effective way to remotely monitor people at home following a minimally invasive heart valve replacement.

Presidential elections: Hard on the heart?

Published July 1, 2022

Emotionally stressful events that affect large numbers of people have been linked to an increase in heart attack rates. A 2022 study found the same correlation with a contentious political election.

Do you really need that heart test or procedure?

Published July 1, 2022

Low-value care (tests or procedures that offer no clear benefit) is a particular problem for people with cardiovascular disease. Low-value care may happen because certain tests are widely available and may provide financial benefit to the health care center. But for patients, these tests may be a waste of time and money and lead to anxiety and risky complications. Up to half of all exercise stress tests and 15% of stent placements done in the United States may be inappropriate.

How COVID-19 can compromise your heart health

Published July 1, 2022

COVID survivors—even those with mild infections—appear to face a higher risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart failure, heart attack, and stroke for up to one year after their initial infection. People who were hospitalized (especially those who ended up in the intensive care unit) may have the highest risk. The virus that causes COVID can injure blood vessels and triggers an immune response that promotes the formation of blood clots in arteries and veins throughout the body and brain.

Get a leg up to avoid complications from PAD

Published July 1, 2022

Regular walking—for at least 30 minutes a day, three days per week—is the best treatment for peripheral artery disease. This condition is characterized by fatty deposits that accumulate in arteries outside the heart and brain (usually the legs). Walking encourages blood flow in the leg’s smaller arteries and also creates new channels that move blood around the blocked areas, which eventually helps ease the pain.

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