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Heart Health Archive

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The changing landscape of LDL lowering drugs

Published April 1, 2022

For most people, statins are still the best way to lower harmful LDL cholesterol. But two newer drugs may be promising additions or alternatives for those with stubbornly high LDL levels. Bempedoic acid, which lowers LDL by about 25%, works in a manner similar to statins but may help reduce muscle-related side effects seen with statins. Inclisiran interferes with a protein that’s involved with regulating LDL production in the liver; it lowers LDL by about 50%.

Staving off heart problems in your 80s and beyond

Published April 1, 2022

For people in their 80s and beyond, the advice for preventing and treating heart disease is similar to that for young people, especially with respect to staying physically active. But octogenarians may need to adjust their medication regimens. Low-dose aspirin is not recommended after age 70, and doses of anti-clotting medications may need to be reduced. Some people may also need to dial back their blood pressure medications if they experience side effects such as dizziness.

Stay active as you age to extend your health span

Published April 1, 2022

According to the "active grandparent" hypothesis, humans evolved to be physically active throughout life. That frequent movement helps ward off chronic disease (including heart disease) and promotes longevity. While hunter-gatherers had to be active to survive, they also had a natural instinct to avoid unnecessary activity to preserve energy when food was scarce. Modern humans don’t need to expend physical effort to meet their basic needs for food and survival. Instead, they must exercise (defined as discretionary activity for the sake of health) to stay healthy and live a long life.

Struggling to sleep? Your heart may pay the price

Published March 9, 2022

Growing evidence suggests that poor sleep is linked to a host of health problems, including a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Now, a recent study on people in midlife finds that having a combination of sleep problems may nearly triple a person’s risk of heart disease.

Close relationships with neighbors influence cardiovascular health in Black adults

Published March 3, 2022

A study of Black adults living in the Atlanta area suggests that feeling rooted in community and socializing with neighbors may strongly contribute to better cardiovascular health, which might lower risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Low-level exposure to toxic metals: A risk for clogged arteries?

Published March 1, 2022

Being exposed to even low levels of certain toxic metals, including arsenic, cadmium, and titanium, may raise a person’s risk for clogged arteries.

Adding potassium and subtracting sodium may equal better heart health

Published March 1, 2022

Consuming less sodium and more potassium may be linked to better heart health, according to a November 2021 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. After controlling for other risk factors, the researchers found that for every extra 1,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium detected in the urine, there was an 18% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. For every extra 1,000 mg of potassium in the urine, there was an 18% decrease in risk.

Saturated fat eaten in the short term might not threaten heart health

Published March 1, 2022

People who follow a low-carbohydrate/high-fat diet for weight loss often eat high amounts of saturated fat. Even though saturated fat can contribute to cardiovascular disease, a 2021 study suggests that eating higher amounts might not be bad for heart health in the short term.

Fish linked to lower risk of vascular brain disease

Published March 1, 2022

Older adults who eat fish several times a week may be less likely to develop early signs of cerebrovascular disease, a category that includes strokes, aneurysms, and related problems.

Anger or emotional upset may trigger stroke

Published March 1, 2022

Anger or emotional upset may be linked to an increased risk of stroke within an hour of experiencing those negative emotions.

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