4 Ways to Avoid Holiday Heart Syndrome

holiday heart syndrome people drinking Champagne and celebratingThe holidays can often be a time of excess: rich foods, elegant desserts, and an abundance of holiday drinks. If this isn’t how you usually eat—and we hope it isn’t—such indulgence can be damaging to your heart.

Holiday Heart Syndrome is the term used by some doctors to describe the adverse effects caused by unrestrained holiday cheer. People who do not usually drink alcohol may be particularly susceptible to holiday heart syndrome. Holiday heart syndrome refers to the development of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, brought on by over-indulgence of alcohol in a short period of time. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for a variety of heart conditions including stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Read more

Where in the Body are the Carotid Arteries?

disease in the carotid arteriesCarotid arteries are the arteries that supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients. There are two carotid arteries, one on either side of your neck that provide blood to the brain, neck and face.

Carotid arteries can become clogged and blocked with plaque, just like other arteries in your body. However, if blood flow through the carotid arteries is limited, the brain may not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients and there is a higher chance of stroke.

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How Lowering Cholesterol can Reduce Heart Disease

cholesterol blood testing
Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease.

That is the conclusion of a recent meta-analysis, a study that combined data from 49 randomized clinical trials with a total of 312,175 participants. Read more

How Smoking Damages Genes that are Associated with Heart Disease

smoking damages genesCigarette smoke leaves a lasting impact on the smoker by altering genetic information carried on the smoker’s DNA. DNA is altered through a process called methylation, which prevents gene expression by turning off genes.

Within five years of smoking cessation, most damage caused by DNA methylation can be reversed. However, some altered genetic information may remain for at least 30 years, potentially impacting the heart health of both current and former smokers. Read more

Why People With Depression Have a Higher Risk of Heart Disease

depression and heart diseasePeople with depression have an increased risk of stroke and dying from heart disease.

This is the conclusion of a recent study that investigated the association between depression and heart disease. The study began with 22,666 participants without heart disease. Each participant was evaluated for depression by completing a depression screening questionnaire. The average age of participants at the beginning of the study (baseline) was about 63years.

The researchers gathered information on risk factors for heart disease that included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Participants were interviewed at the beginning of the study and 5 and 7 years later. Cardiovascular events included heart attack, stroke, and heart disease-related death. Read more

How Low Blood Pressure Contributes to Coronary Heart Disease

low blood pressure and heart diseaseBlood pressure measures the force or pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

Normal blood pressure for an adult is considered to be 120/80. The first number, 120, represents systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the force with which the heart pumps blood around the body. The second number, 80, represents diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats, when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. A diastolic blood pressure below 60 is considered to be low.

Maintaining normal diastolic blood pressure is important for heart health. This is the conclusion of research studying the effects of low diastolic blood pressure on heart disease. The study followed 11,565 American adults about every 5 years for 21 years. The average age of participants at the beginning of the study was 57 years. Blood pressure and levels of blood troponin, a marker of heart damage, were measured at each visit. Read more

The Impact of Low Health Literacy on Heart Disease

health literacy and heart diseaseOctober is Health Literacy Month. Let’s learn more about the importance of health literacy and how it impacts patients with heart disease.

Health literacy is the ability of patients and the general public to understand health information. This includes information told to patients by healthcare professionals or given to them in writing. This is important because an understanding of health information is necessary in order for patients and their families to make appropriate and informed healthcare decisions.

Health literacy directly impacts the quality of life of all Americans. The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality reports that people who do not understand their medical condition or the health information shared with them use more health resources. Such patients visit the emergency room more often and have a greater risk for hospitalization. These additional healthcare costs are responsible for an estimated 100-200 billion dollars spent annually in the US. Read more

Similarities Between Peripheral Artery Disease, Stroke and Coronary Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease and strokeArteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Blood carries oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other nutrients that are needed for all of your organs to function properly. When blood flow through an artery is decreased or blocked, the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients that reach the tissues decreases, causing damage. The type of damage that occurs depends on the location of the blocked artery. Any artery may become blocked.

Arteries in your legs, arms or brain are called peripheral arteries. This refers to arteries outside of your trunk (in the periphery of your body). Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in peripheral arteries, causing them to become narrow, and limiting blood flow to that part of your body. The legs are a common site for peripheral artery disease. Read more

How to Avoid Potential Complications from PCI

avoid PCI complicationsPercutaneous coronary intervention—or PCI—and Protected PCI™ are nonsurgical procedures for people with blocked coronary arteries. The purpose of both procedures is to open up narrowed arteries and improve blood flow to the heart. PCI is recommended for people who otherwise have a healthy heart.

Protected PCI is recommended for patients with stable blood flow and a combination of severe coronary artery disease, a low ejection fraction, and other conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, advanced age, peripheral vascular disease, complex lesions, history of angina, or prior surgeries. Protected PCI is a PCI procedure performed with extra support from a heart pump. The heart pump such as Impella 2.5® helps maintain heart function, blood pressure, and blood flow, while the blockages in one or more arteries are repaired. Read more

Know the Signs of Stroke and How to Protect Your Heart

signs of a strokeMs. Hernandez was nervous and stressed because she had an important presentation at work. In the middle of her presentation she stopped talking, stared at her coworkers, lost her balance, and the right side of her face drooped. One of her coworkers recognized the symptoms of stroke and called 911. An ambulance came and took Ms. Hernandez to the emergency room.

One of her coworkers called her husband, who met her in the emergency room. In the emergency room, the doctors confirmed that Ms. Hernandez had had a stroke, which occurs more often in women. Ms. Hernandez and her husband want to learn more about stroke and what they can do to prevent future strokes. Read more