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AHA News: What Heart and Stroke Patients Need to Know About COVID-19 in 2022

Two years into the pandemic, researchers have learned a lot about how COVID-19 affects people with heart disease and stroke survivors. But like the coronavirus itself, what everyone needs to know keeps evolving.

"You can't assume that what was true three months ago is true now," said Dr. James de Lemos, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Thanks to the omicron vari...

AHA News: Transplanting Pig Hearts Into Humans Offers Promise – and Peril

Surgeons recently transplanted a genetically modified pig's heart into a man with life-threatening heart failure. The successful surgery became a medical first that is raising hopes of a new, viable alternative for people at risk of dying before limited human cadaver hearts become available and for those too sick or ineligible for human heart transplantation.

But heart failure specialists...

Don't Snow Shovel Your Way to a Heart Attack

Shoveling snow may trigger a heart attack if you're not careful, especially if you already have risk factors, an expert warns.

The combination of shoveling and cold weather can cause your arteries to spasm and constrict, explained Dr. Sam Kazziha, chief of cardiovascular...

AHA News: Today's Hot Topic: Should You Let Chile Peppers Spice Up Your Meals?

For thousands of years, people have picked up chile peppers to provide their diets with pizazz.

There's no doubt chile peppers are packed with flavor. They also provide a little fiber without salt, sugar, saturated fat or many calories, said professor Linda Van Horn, chief of the nutrition division at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Indeed, accordin...

Death During Sex Very Rare Among Those Under 50

It's a familiar trope of TV and movies -- a couple is engaged in passionate sex when the guy's heart suddenly gives out.

"Usually it's a middle-aged man. Usually he's cheating with somebody else. It's funny, there's this myth in our mind that this can happen," said cardiologist Dr. Martha Gulati, who refers to the concept as the "Hollywood heart attack."

But ardor simply isn't that ...

AHA News: Obesity Harms Brain Health Throughout Life -- Yet Scientists Don't Know Why

Anyone who has put on a few too many pounds knows they can slow you down. Over time, if those pounds grow into obesity, they may do serious harm, putting you at risk for a wide range of illnesses.

But too much weight on the body also can harm the brain.

Research shows obesity impacts brain health from childhood well into adulthood, affecting everything from executive function skills...

AHA News: 7-Year-Old With Cancer Had a Stroke. Mom's Rapid Response Saved Her.

"Mommy, I'm tired" became a common refrain from usually peppy 7-year-old Olivia Story to her mother, Jennifer.

Olivia also wasn't eating as much as usual. And she often had a low-grade fever.

The family was about to head from their home in Chino Hills, California, to a lake house in Arizona. So Jennifer texted the pediatrician, "Something is off with Olivia."

This was July 202...

Could Binge Drinking Set Your Heart Rhythm Off-Kilter?

Binge drinking on Super Bowl Sunday or other special occasions could put you at risk for a dangerous heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation (a-fib), even if you've never had it, researchers warn in a new study.

"Worldwide, alcohol is the most popularly consumed drug, and it now is clear that alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for atrial fibrillation," said senior au...

Breastfeeding May Protect a Mom's Heart Years Later

Chloe Jo Davis is a vocal advocate for breastfeeding.

The Wilton, Conn.-based writer breastfed her three sons for years to make sure they reaped all of the benefits associated with the practice.

"Breastfeeding helps build up kids' immune system and keeps colds, virus, ear infection and stomach bugs at bay, and this is more important today than ever before with the spread of COVID-19...

AHA News: Pregnant Women Living Under Negative Social Conditions May Face Higher Heart Disease Risk

Pregnant women in the U.S. who face adverse social conditions where they live, work, learn and play are at higher risk for poor heart health, a new study suggests.

That can lead to early cardiovascular disease and death -- and it can affect their children's health, said senior study author Dr. Khurram Nasir, division chief of Cardiovascular Prevention and Wellness at Houston Methodist DeB...

More Olive Oil May Bring Longer Life: Study

Swapping out the butter or other artery-clogging fats in your diet for heart-healthy olive oil may add years to your life, researchers say.

Folks who consume more than 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil a day are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or lung disease when compared to people who consume less of this

  • Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 11, 2022
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  • Unlucky in Love? It Can Damage Men's Health, Study Finds

    Men who are broken-hearted or just unlucky in love could be more likely to have health-damaging inflammation, new research suggests.

    Serious breakups and solo living for many years may increase the risk of ill health and death — but apparently only for men, according to the researchers behind a new Danish study.

    "Small numbers of breakups or years lived alone is not in itself a r...

    Four Factors in Midlife Predict a Healthy Old Age for Women

    Examining a woman's health in midlife can predict her health decades later, researchers say.

    Four specific factors — higher body mass index (BMI), smoking, arthritis and depressive symptoms — at age 55 are associated with clinically important declines in physical health 10 years later, a new study reports.

    "Age 55 to 65 may be a critical decade," said study co-author Dr. Daniel ...

    AHA News: Device Keeps 35-Year-Old's Heart Pumping as He Awaits a Transplant

    Jeff and Christina Russ -- and their beagle mix, Lacey -- were walking their regular 2-mile loop through their neighborhood in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, when Jeff began to feel winded. It was a warm Sunday evening in early August 2020, and they were headed back home.

    Their house sits on a slight incline that could barely be called a hill. But on this day, Jeff, an active 34-year-old, had to s...

    Pot Use Raises Risks After Severe Form of Stroke

    If you have any risk factors for stroke and you like to smoke pot, a new study suggests you should stop toking.

    Researchers found that people with an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, a rare, severe type of bleeding stroke, who had used marijuana three to 30 days before their stroke were twice as likely to deve...

    AHA News: Elder Shares Stories of Life, Laughter and American Indian Health

    Linda Poolaw loves telling stories. At 79, the Grand Chief of the Delaware Grand Council of North America has a few.

    Some are nostalgic, about growing up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a Kiowa father and a mother who was Delaware (also known as the Lenape). Some are painful, when she talks about American Indians' struggles.

    She tells stories in an Oklahoma twang, skipping from t...

    Dirty City Air Killed More Than 1.8 Million People Globally in 2019

    Cities worldwide are shrouded with air pollution -- and it’s killing people.

    A new modeling study found that 86% of people living in cities throughout the world -- a total of 2.5 billion people -- are exposed to fine particulate matter at levels that exceed the World Health Organization’s 2005 guidelines.

    In 2019, this urban air pollution led to 1.8 million excess deaths, acco...

    AHA News: Higher Ed May Boost Heart Health -- But Not Equally for All Races, Ethnicities

    More education is linked to better heart health, but it may not overcome the effects of race, a new study says.

    The research, which used data from a large national survey to examine the overlapping connections between race, education and cardiovascular health, found that while white people saw a big benefit from higher education, other racial and ethnic groups saw less.

    "Some of the...

    AHA News: From Open-Heart Surgery in High School to Starting Offensive Lineman for the University of Kentucky

    Kenneth Horsey was digging into a pile of baby back ribs with his family after church. It was Easter Sunday 2018 and Kenneth had much to look forward to in the coming months.

    Soon, Kenneth would be headed to his senior prom and graduation from Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida. Then he'd move to Lexington, Kentucky, to attend the University of Kentucky on a full football scholarshi...

    Science Reveals How Red Meat Harms the Heart

    Red-meat lovers may raise their risk of heart disease through a chain of events that plays out in the gut, a new study suggests.

    Many studies over the years have tied diets heavy in red and processed meats to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke. That type of evidence does not, however, prove red meat is the problem -- or, if it is, why.

    The new findings offer more clues ab...

    Shoveling Snow? Beware of Heart Hazards

    Don't let a picture-perfect snowfall turn deadly.

    Shoveling snow can cause heart attacks or sudden cardiac arrest in folks with heart conditions and even in those who are unaware that they have heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) warns.


    When Gums Aren't Healthy, Mind and Body May Follow

    Gum disease isn't just a threat to your teeth. It also increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, mental woes and more, British researchers report.

    "The study reinforces the importance of prevention, early identification and treatment of periodontal disease, and the need for members of th...

    AHA News: 12-Year-Old Is on a Mission to Kick Kawasaki Disease

    Aubrey Virgin was a healthy, active 2-year-old when she developed a high fever.

    Then came a rash that quickly spread over her body. Lymph nodes in her neck swelled. So did her lips, hands and feet. Aubrey cried when her mother, Shannon, touched her.

    Shannon rushed Aubrey to a pediatrician near their home at the time in Anchorage, Alaska. The doctor immediately suspected Kawasaki dis...

    Who's Dying Young in U.S. From Heart Attacks?

    Fewer Americans are dying prematurely from heart attack compared with years ago, but progress has stalled out in the past decade, new research shows.

    For the study, the researchers examined 20 years of data on heart attack deaths among Americans under 65 — deaths that are considered "premature."

    The bigger picture looked good: Between 1999 and 2019, those deaths declined by 52%.

    AHA News: Making a Lifetime of Good Brain Health a Global Priority

    Twenty years ago, the Canadian province of Ontario launched an aggressive campaign to tackle stroke from every angle: It hyped prevention and awareness; beefed up its acute care practices and response times; and increased access to post-stroke rehabilitation.

    It worked. Stroke rates fell 32% within a decade. But that wasn't all. Dementia rates also fell -- by about 7% -- confirming what D...

    COVID Helps Drive Nearly Two-Year Decline in U.S. Life Expectancy

    WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) - - COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death for Americans and has shortened life expectancy by nearly two years, a drop not seen since World War II, a new government report shows.

    Life expectancy dropped from 78.8 in 2010 to 77 in 2020 as the age-adjusted death rate increased 17%, going from 715 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019 to 835 d...

    More Evidence Heart Risk From COVID Vaccine Is Very Low

    There's a very low risk of heart inflammation after getting the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, according to a new study that adds to previous research supporting the safety of the shots.

    The two mRNA vaccines had been linked in some studies with an increased risk of

    Many Overweight Kids Already Have Hardened Arteries, Diabetes

    If your children struggle with their weight, new research suggests they may also suffer from diseases once seen only in adults.

    Stiffening of the arteries, which can lead to early heart attacks and strokes, and type 2 diabetes were found in many of the more than 600 obese children, adolescents and young adults studied. And the problem is only getting worse: According to the U.S. Centers f...

    AHA News: Her Best Friend Died Suddenly at 31. Now, She Spreads the Word About Heart Health.

    On a steamy July afternoon in Fort Scott, Kansas, 16-year-old Lindsey Lewis, dressed in a swimsuit and shorts and driving her well-loved convertible, picked up her friend Jill Overstake. They stopped for sodas on their way to the local rock quarry. A group of friends they called "the boys" were jumping off the rocks into the water.

    Once there, Lindsey gave her friend a look that implied, ...

    AHA News: Can the Cold Really Make You Sick?

    Zip up your coat or you'll catch a cold!

    Most people have probably heard some variation of that parental plea while growing up, or even directed such advice to their own children. It's a sensible request, though when it comes to avoiding illness when temperatures dip, it's not quite so simple.

    "It's multifactorial. Just given cold weather alone doesn't make you sick," said Dr. Virgi...

    AHA News: An Undetected Heart Attack Led to an Urgent Triple Bypass

    For more than three years, Gary Saunders struggled with heartburn. Antacids helped -- if he took a handful of them.

    He figured it was stress or the "12 to 15 cups of coffee" he drank each day to fuel his long hours managing a busy 24-hour retail store. In his mid-50s, he was exhausted all the time.

    Nagging from family members and frustration with the constant heartburn finally sent ...

    Heart Transplant Successful in Young Man Who Survived Severe COVID-19

    After nearly dying from a severe case of COVID-19, a young male patient received a successful heart transplant even as he was recuperating from his infection while on a ventilator, a new case study reports.

    The transplant was performed on the 31-year-old patient at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May.

    It's one of the first cases of its kind in the wor...

    Global Rate of Stroke Cases, Deaths Still Too High

    While strokes and related deaths have declined in rich nations, they remain stubbornly high worldwide, a new study says.

    Author Liyuan Han attributed the overall decreases to "better medical services in high-income countries, which may offer earlier detection of stroke risk factors and better control" of them.

    “But even in these countries, the total number of people with

  • Robert Preidt
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  • December 16, 2021
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  • AHA News: Revised Scale Could Lead to Timelier Treatment for Strokes in the Back of the Head

    A tool widely used by doctors to help determine who needs clot-busting therapy after a stroke has some missing pieces, according to new research that suggests adding a few simple tests could help improve treatment for people who have less common strokes in the back of the brain.

    Published Wednesday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, the study shows modifying the National In...

    AHA News: Stroke Survivor's Friend Took All the Right Steps and Found Just the Right Words

    A few days after her 42nd birthday, Elizabeth Hindinger woke up with a searing headache. A doctor gave her a prescription to treat migraines, though she'd not had them before.

    A couple days later, the headache unabated, Hindinger drove herself to the medical clinic in her small town of Ludlow, Vermont. While there, she collapsed unconscious. She was flown by helicopter to a medical trauma...

    AHA News: The Risks and Rewards of Caregiving for Loved Ones With Dementia

    Every night before bed, Pat and John Sullivan list at least three things for which they are grateful that day. Their 40 years together, each better than the last. The joy they get from art and music. Their ability to keep loving and supporting each other through all the challenges they face.

    "John started the practice, but he doesn't remember doing it," said Sullivan, whose husband was di...

    People Living With HIV Face Higher Odds for Heart Failure

    People with HIV have an added risk of heart failure, so they and their health care providers need to be alert for early signs such as shortness of breath, fatigue, leg swelling, coughing and chest pain, according to a new study.

    “Cardiovascular disease has been an important concern for people with HIV for many, many years,” senior author Michael Silverberg said in a Kaiser Permanente ...

    AHA News: Seattle Nonprofit Offers Chance at a Good Life and Good Health After Prison

    After four years in a Washington state prison for first-degree burglary, Chelsey Johnson learned she was eligible for a work-release program that would shave the final year off her sentence.

    She was excited by the prospect, but also scared. Then 31, she had spent half her life either doing drugs or doing time.

    "I knew I needed to make massive changes," Johnson said. "The whole time ...

    Holidays Are Peak Time for Heart Attack: Protect Yourself

    This time of year can be hard on the heart.

    The United States has more heart attack deaths between Christmas and New Year's Day than at any other time of year, so the American Heart Association (AHA) offers some holiday health tips.

    "The holidays are a busy, often stressful, time for most of us," said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, volunteer president of the

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  • December 12, 2021
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  • AHA News: The Pandemic Made It Hard to Stay Connected. Here's How to Reestablish Healthy Relationships.

    The holidays are a time to share home-cooked meals, reconnect with far-away loved ones and contemplate what the next year has in store.

    But for nearly two years, the coronavirus pandemic has affected our ability to safely get together in person. With vaccines now widely available in the U.S. for everyone ages 5 and up -- and with federal health officials encouraging everyone 16 and older ...

    AHA News: When a Stroke Limited College Professor's Voice, He Turned to Writing

    Bob Parker was waiting for a parking spot at his neighborhood coffee shop when he suddenly saw a flash. His foot slipped off the break and he crashed into a pole. The café window shattered.

    Inside his crumpled car, Parker couldn't speak or move.

    A bystander called 911 and Parker, then 72, was taken to a local hospital. Testing showed he'd had a stroke caused by a clot in his caroti...

    Breathlessness With 'Long COVID' May Point to Heart Damage

    Shortness of breath in people with "long COVID" might not just be about the lungs — it may indicate heart damage from the disease, new research suggests.

    "The findings could help to explain why some patients with long COVID still experience breathlessness one year later, and indicate that it might be linked to a decrease in heart performance," explained study author Dr. Maria-Luiza...

    AHA News: Life Experiences, Outlook Influence How People Are Harmed -- Or Helped -- By Pandemic Stress

    When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down New York City in March 2020, Jose Montanez, like millions of others in the service industry, lost his source of income. A hair stylist who also ran karaoke drag shows, he made his money closely interacting with people. Even his third business -- wedding planning -- had to close shop. And then his husband, David Tingle, got laid off from his decades-long job ...

    AHA News: Diagnosed With a Heart Defect in the Womb, Baby Had Two Heart Surgeries and Then Got COVID-19

    Samantha Snell drove to her doctor's office in Uniontown, Ohio, for a routine ultrasound. Already the mother of three, she was 23 weeks along and eager to get a glimpse of her new baby boy.

    "Getting an ultrasound is fun and cute," said Snell, who at the time was working as a phlebotomist. "But this was a totally different experience."

    In the exam room, the technician got quiet and w...

    Pandemic Sent Americans' Blood Pressure Numbers Skyward

    Yet another pandemic-related health woe has come to the fore: rising blood pressure.

    Data covering almost half a million middle-aged Americans shows that about 27% saw their blood pressure go up significantly in 2020 after COVID-19 restrictions unfolded compared to the prior year. Women appeared to be particularly vulnerable.


    AHA News: This Nonprofit Builds Strong 'Ground Game' for Community Mental Health

    When belongings pile up on the curb from an eviction in Maryland's western Anne Arundel County, Abraham Shanklin Jr. sees more than a housing crisis. When people with low incomes can't find a reliable way to get to work, he sees beyond transportation problems.

    Since 1994, when he became a pastor there, Shanklin has traced the roots of a common struggle.

    "The consistent thread in all...

    High Heart Rate Linked to Dementia Risk

    Checking older adults' resting heart rate could help identify those who are more likely to experience a decline in mental function, a Swedish study suggests.

    The researchers found that a high resting heart rate was associated with a greater risk of dementia.

    "We believe it would be valuable to explore if resting heart rate could identify patients with high dementia risk," said lead ...

    Young People Recover Quickly From Rare Heart Side Effect of COVID Vaccine

    It happens very rarely, but most teens and young adults who do experience heart inflammation (myocarditis) after a COVID-19 shot have mild symptoms and recover quickly, new research shows.

    “Overwhelmingly, data continue to indicate that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinat...

    Gene Found in Amish Helps Protect Their Hearts

    A rare gene variant discovered among Amish people may help lower "bad" cholesterol and protect against heart disease, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that among nearly 7,000 Amish people, the gene variant was tied to reductions in both LDL cholesterol and fibrinogen -- a protein that is a marker of inflammation and linked to heart disease risk.

    There was also evidence of pro...

    AHA News: Teen With Three Heart Conditions Aims to Become a Pediatric Cardiologist

    In second grade, Emily Meister was performing as Gretl Von Trapp in the local high school production of "The Sound of Music" when she felt her heart beating unusually fast. She also sensed pressure in her chest.

    The youngster from Wichita, Kansas, had consumed an energy drink to stay awake for the late-night show. Her physician suggested the overload of caffeine in the drink may have caus...