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Heart Disease Blog

Related terms: Congenital Heart Disease

Heart Disease Haunted Mummies, Too

Posted 15 days ago by

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 – Though the pyramids are proof of the ancient Egyptians' architectural skills, new research on mummies tucked away inside them unearths a lesser known fact: heart disease was as common then as it is today. Much to their surprise, when scientists did full-body CT scans of 4,000-year-old mummies they discovered evidence of hardening of the arteries. "Atherosclerosis is supposed to be a disease of modern civilization," said study author Dr. Adel Allam, a nuclear cardiologist and professor of cardiology at Al Azhar University in Cairo. "It's supposed to be explained by the fact that we're eating all the wrong foods, not exercising enough, becoming obese and having diabetes. And a lot of people have said that if we could just go back to the way our ancestors were living we could even lose this problem," he added. "So, we wanted to find some way to see if this is ... Read more

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More Research Links Poor Heart Health With Alzheimer's Risk

Posted 18 days ago by

MONDAY, March 31, 2014 – A new study links heart disease with increased odds of developing dementia. Researchers found that artery stiffness – a condition called atherosclerosis – is associated with the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. "This is more than just another example of how heart health relates to brain health. It is a signal that the process of vascular aging may predispose the brain to increased amyloid plaque buildup," said lead researcher Timothy Hughes, from the department of internal medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Plaque builds with age and appears to worsen in those with stiffer arteries, he said. "Finding and preventing the causes of plaque buildup is going to be an essential factor in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and extending brain health throughout life," Hughes added. Alzheimer's ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

Vitamin D Deficiency May Be Linked to Heart Disease

Posted 27 Mar 2014 by

THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 – New research suggests people with lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease and to have more severe forms of the illness. While the findings aren't definitive, they add to recent research that indicates vitamin D – the so-called sunshine vitamin – may play a role in preventing heart disease. The results "suggest vitamin D deficiency to be the cause rather than the consequence of atherosclerosis," said study investigator Dr. Monica Verdoia, a cardiologist at Eastern Piedmont University in Novara, Italy. Clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, can lead to heart attack. While the study showed an association between vitamin D levels and heart disease risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link. The findings are scheduled for presentation Sunday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. ... Read more

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Moms Who Keep 'Baby Weight' May Risk Heart Trouble

Posted 25 Mar 2014 by

TUESDAY, March 25, 2014 – New mothers who gain too much weight in the year after they give birth are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, researchers warn. The study, published March 25 in the journal Diabetes Care, tracked more than 300 women through pregnancy and for a year after they had their babies. About three-quarters of the women lost their so-called "baby weight" during that year and had healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. One quarter of the women gained weight and showed an increase in risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. None of these risk factors was present three months after the women gave birth, according to the researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. "This finding helps us advise women about the importance of losing their excess pregnancy weight in the first year after delivery," Dr. Ravi Retnakaran said in a hospital news ... Read more

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Low-Dose Statins Good Option for Some Heart Patients: Study

Posted 10 Feb 2014 by

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 – A new analysis suggests that people at high risk for heart disease who can't take high-dose statin drugs to lower their cholesterol might benefit from a treatment combination that includes taking a low-dose statin. Scientists at Johns Hopkins reviewed published research to compare the benefits and harms of a lower-intensity statin when combined with one of several other cholesterol-lowering treatments in adults at high risk for heart disease. Study author Dr. Kimberly Gudzune said combining a low-dose statin with either a so-called bile acid sequestrant or Zetia (ezetimibe) – both of which are medications that also work to lower cholesterol levels – lowered "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. Taking a high-dose statin by itself also lowered LDL levels. "At least in the short term, this strategy seems to be as effective as the high-dose statin alone, although there were ... Read more

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Fewer Heart Patients Now Dying From Heart Disease, Study Shows

Posted 10 Feb 2014 by

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 – Americans with heart disease are now more likely to die from cancer, lung disease and neurological causes than from heart problems, compared with 20 years ago. That's the finding of a new Mayo Clinic study that tracked about 20,000 patients who underwent procedures to open blocked heart arteries between 1991 and 2008. The patients were divided into three time periods: 1991 to 1996; 1997 to 2002; and 2003 to 2008. During the entire study period, nearly 7,000 of the patients died. Heart disease was the leading cause of death in the first time period, led to about the same number of deaths as other causes in the middle years and accounted for only 37 percent of deaths in the third time period. Of the heart-related deaths, there was a sharp decline in those caused by heart attack and sudden heart rhythm disorders, but there was no decrease in deaths from heart ... Read more

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Health Tip: Understand Your Risk of Heart Disease

Posted 6 Feb 2014 by

-- Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the vessels and restricts blood flow to the heart. The U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says common risk factors for CAD include: Having high blood pressure, high LDL, or "bad," cholesterol or low HDL or "good," cholesterol. Being a smoker, overweight or obese. Having insulin resistance or being diabetic. Having metabolic syndrome. Getting insufficient exercise. Eating an unhealthy diet that's high in saturated fat, sodium or sugar. Being older. Having a family history of heart disease. Read more

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Many Hispanic Women Unaware of Heart Disease Risk Factors

Posted 6 Jan 2014 by

MONDAY, Jan. 6, 2014 – Hispanic women tend to be less informed than white women about the link between being obese or overweight and increased risk for heart disease, a new study finds. For the study, published recently in the Journal of Women's Health, the researchers reviewed answers provided by almost 400 Hispanic women and more than 300 white women about heart disease and body perception. Although public awareness of heart disease has increased, the researchers found minority women still do not know as much as others about the risk factors for this significant health problem. This discrepancy makes efforts to prevent heart disease more challenging, said the research team from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "Based on these findings, prevention strategies need to target [cardiovascular disease] knowledge and awareness among overweight and obese Hispanic women," ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Diabetes, Type 2, Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Dementia Risk Might Rise for Older Women With Heart Disease

Posted 18 Dec 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 – Older women with heart disease might be at increased risk for dementia, according to a new study. Researchers followed nearly 6,500 U.S. women, aged 65 to 79, who had healthy brain function when the study started. Those with heart disease were 29 percent more likely to experience mental decline over time than those without heart disease. The risk of mental decline was about twice as high among women who'd had a heart attack as it was among those who had not. Women who had a heart bypass operation, surgery to remove a blockage in a neck artery or peripheral artery disease also were at increased risk for mental decline. Heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes also increased the risk for mental decline, but obesity did not significantly boost the risk, according to the study, which was published in the Dec. 18 issue of the Journal of ... Read more

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Mild Heart Disease May Pose Equal Risks for Men and Women

Posted 3 Dec 2013 by

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 – Men and women with mild heart disease share the same risks, at least over the short term, a new study suggests. Doctors have thought that women with mild heart disease do worse than men. This study, however, suggests that the rate of heart attacks and death among men and women with heart disease is similar. Meanwhile, both men and women who don't have buildup of plaque in their coronary arteries have the same good chance of avoiding severe heart-related consequences, said lead researcher Dr. Jonathon Leipsic. "If you have a normal CT scan, you are not likely to have a heart attack or die in the next 2.3 years – whether you're a man or a woman," said Leipsic, director of medical imaging at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. "That's an important new finding." Leipsic said the ability to use a CT scan to diagnose plaque in the coronary arteries ... Read more

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Fizzy Drugs May Pose a High-Salt Danger, Study Suggests

Posted 26 Nov 2013 by

TUESDAY, Nov. 26 – The high salt content of fizzy medications like Alka-Seltzer could pose a threat to people with heart disease, according to a new study. The researchers want consumers to be aware of how much salt certain over-the-counter drugs contain. In some cases, the salt content of a day's worth of tablets exceeds American Heart Association guidelines for daily salt intake – and that's without taking a single bite of food. "There is a significant risk in taking these effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications over the long term," said lead researcher Dr. Jacob George, a senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in clinical pharmacology at the University of Dundee, in Scotland. Excessive salt intake is linked to high blood pressure, stroke and kidney disease. George said people with heart conditions or those who are at risk for cardiovascular disease should stay ... Read more

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Quitting Smoking May Help Seniors' Hearts Sooner Than Thought

Posted 20 Nov 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20, 2013 – Seniors who quit smoking cut their risk of death by heart disease much more quickly than previously thought, particularly if they were light-to-moderate smokers, a new study says. Past estimates held that it takes smokers about 15 years after they quit to lower their risk of heart attack, heart failure or stroke to that enjoyed by people who never smoked, said lead author Dr. Ali Ahmed, senior study researcher. Ahmed is a professor of cardiovascular disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Medicine. But a new examination of 853 former smokers aged 65 and older found that many with a light-to-moderate smoking history can cut their risk in eight years or less, Ahmed said. "Even though they quit only eight years ago, because they smoked less they were able to become like never-smokers in half the time," Ahmed said, citing findings he is ... Read more

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Fitness Linked to Lower Heart Attack Risk in Heart Disease Patients

Posted 17 Nov 2013 by

SUNDAY, Nov. 17, 2013 – Being physically fit can help prevent heart attacks and increase survival in people with stable coronary artery disease, a new study finds. This was true whether or not the patients underwent a procedure to open blocked heart arteries. Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,800 adults with coronary artery disease who underwent a treadmill stress test. They were also followed for 11 years to see if they suffered a heart attack, had undergone a procedure to open blocked heart arteries or had died from any cause. "We measured exercise capacity, expressed as metabolic equivalents, or METs, from the patients' stress test results," study co-investigator John McEvoy, a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release. The researchers found that each increase of one MET in a person's exercise capacity "was ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Myocardial Infarction

Heart Disease No. 1 Cause of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in California: Study

Posted 17 Nov 2013 by

SUNDAY, Nov. 17, 2013 – Heart disease is the top cause of pregnancy-related deaths in California, but almost one-third of those deaths could be prevented, a new study suggests. "Women who give birth are usually young and in good health. So heart disease shouldn't be the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, but it is," lead researcher Dr. Afshan Hameed, an associate professor of clinical cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Irvine, said in an American Heart Association (AHA) news release. From 2002 to 2005, there were 2.1 million live births in California. Hameed and her colleagues analyzed the medical records of 732 women in the state who died from all causes while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy, and found that 209 of those deaths were pregnancy-related. About one-quarter (52) of the pregnancy-related deaths were from some form of heart ... Read more

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Your Flu Shot May Also Help Your Heart

Posted 22 Oct 2013 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 22 – If avoiding an achy, feverish week or so laid up with the flu doesn't motivate you to get a flu shot, a new study linking flu shots to a lower incidence of heart disease might persuade you to roll up your sleeve. People in the study who got flu shots were one-third less likely to have heart issues, such as heart failure or a heart attack, compared to those who opted against vaccination. The flu shot was associated with an even greater reduction of heart problems if someone had heart disease to start with, according to the study. "This is one further piece of evidence to convince patients to go out and get their flu shot," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiology and clinician scientist, at Women's College Hospital at the University of Toronto. Results of the study are published in the Oct. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical ... Read more

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