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Exercise Rehab Should Include Stroke Survivors, Study Suggests

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise programs that are standard for heart attack survivors can also benefit people who've suffered a stroke, a new pilot study suggests.

Researchers found that a three-month cardiac rehabilitation program improved fitness levels and muscle strength in 24 stroke survivors.

While the study was small, the researchers s...

Heart Disease Remains No. 1 Killer, But COVID Will Have Big Impact

Heart disease is likely to remain the world's leading cause of death for years to come, partially due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, an American Heart Association report predicts.

Heart disease deaths worldwide rose 17.1% over the past decade, with nearly 18.6 million people dying of heart disease in 2019. There were more than 523.2 million cases of heart disease in 2019 -- up 26.6%...

High Blood Pressure Often Mistaken for Menopausal Symptoms in Women


High blood pressure is often dismissed as part of menopausal symptoms in older women, experts say. And that could raise a woman's risk for heart trouble, European experts warn.

That warning, along with recommendations on how doctors can help middle-aged women avoid future heart problems, is included in a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) consensus document published Jan. 27 in...

AHA News: Reversing Prediabetes Linked to Fewer Heart Attacks, Strokes

People who reverse their prediabetes may lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and death, a new study suggests.

With prediabetes, a person has blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but lower than the threshold for a diabetes diagnosis. Even so, people with prediabetes are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, studies have found.

Prediabetes can be reversed, and sma...

AHA News: Hospice Candidate at 2, She's Now 13 and Thriving

Rosemary "Rosie" Veltz was "medically maxed out." That was the term the doctors used six months after a third surgery to correct a heart defect that left her struggling to breathe while her lungs continued to fill with fluid.

A doctor suggested hospice. Rosie was 2.

Her parents sought second, third and fourth opinions, reaching out to specialists at three other children's hospitals....

AHA News: The Head Is Connected to the Heart – and Can Influence Health

MONDAY, Jan. 25, 2021 (American Heart Association News) --A growing body of research shows good mental health can improve heart health and reduce cardiovascular risks, while poor mental health can increase the risk of heart disease, according to a new scientific report.

Because of the clear link emerging between psychological health and heart health, doctors should assess the mental well-...

AHA News: Anxiety Is Linked With Smoking – But How Is Still Hazy

In these stressful pandemic times, health experts have more reason to circle back to the link between anxiety and smoking: Does anxiety cause people to smoke? Or does smoking cause anxiety?

Like many other aspects of mental health and addiction, there are no cut-and-dried conclusions.

"I think we've generated more questions on the subject than we have answers," said Brian Hitsman, a...

Exercise Doesn't Boost Health If You Stay Obese, Study Finds

The harmful effects of obesity on the heart can't be undone by exercise, and it's not possible to be "fat but healthy," Spanish researchers warn.

"Exercise does not seem to compensate for the negative effects of excess weight," said study author Alejandro Lucia, a professor of exercise physiology at European University in Madrid.

The study findings "refute the notion that a physica...

AHA News: Keeping Your Brain Sharp Isn't About Working More Puzzles

Mental decline is one of the most feared aspects of growing older. People will do just about anything to prevent it, from swallowing supplements touted as memory boosters to spending hours solving Sudoku and crossword puzzles.

But do these things really keep the aging brain sharp? The short answer is, not really.

"It can certainly help you concentrate if you spend an hour or two doi...

Stressed Out By the News? Here's Tips to Help Cope

Be kind to your heart and health and turn off the news, doctors say.

Northwestern University experts suggest checking in on current events a couple of times a day and no more. Constant updates can fuel anxiety and depression, they warn.

"As a practicing preventive cardiologist, one of the most common risk factors for heart disease that I am seeing this year is stress," said Dr. Sadi...

Fried Food a Big Factor in Heart Disease, Stroke

Delicious but deadly: Eating fried food is tied to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, a new study suggests.

The risk rises with each additional 4-ounce serving per week, a research team in China found.

For the study, the investigators analyzed 19 previously published studies. They combined data from 17 studies, involving more than 560,000 people with nearly 37,000 majo...

AHA News: What Heart and Stroke Patients Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Experts have a simple answer for heart and stroke patients questioning whether they need a COVID-19 vaccination. That answer: yes.

"People with all kinds of cardiovascular risk factors and disease should definitely get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19," said Dr. Mitchell Elkind, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Col...

Time to Angioplasty Is Crucial for Better Heart Attack Outcomes

When a heart attack begins, the time it takes until the blockage in a coronary artery is cleared is critical in preventing further damage to the heart, a new study warns.

The amount of damage is directly related to how long it takes from the start of a heart attack to when patients receive an artery-clearing procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, or angioplasty. The biggest ...

Even 1 Drink a Day May Raise Your Odds for A-Fib

Moderate drinking is often touted as heart-healthy, but a large new study finds that even one drink a day might raise the risk of an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, is a common heart arrhythmia where the upper chambers of the heart quiver chaotically, causing a fast and irregular heartbeat. It's not immediately life-threatening, but over ti...

Stopping Common Heart Meds Could Be Risky for Kidney Patients

Patients with chronic kidney disease who stop using a class of common blood pressure medications may lower their risk for dialysis, but they also raise their odds of cardiovascular disease, a new study finds.

The blood pressure medicines in question are called renin-angiotensin system inhibitors (RAS inhibitors), which include both ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB...

AHA News: Is It OK to Exercise When You're Sick?

If you are sick and plan to exercise this cold and flu season, experts say to use your head -- and recognize the body's warnings signs.

It's especially important to take precautions this winter during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consulting a doctor always is a good idea if there are any questions about symptoms or whether to quarantine or isolate.

But in general, physical activity isn't ...

AHA News: Registries Could Offer Insight Into COVID-19's Impact on College Athletes' Hearts

Researchers are soon expected to release initial findings from a national cardiac registry of NCAA athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19, giving hope to health care professionals trying to better understand the impact of the disease on the heart.

The data could help doctors diagnose and treat athletes recovering from COVID-19 who have developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the...

Pandemic Is Tied to Big Rise in U.S. Heart Deaths

In a finding that highlights another health consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers report that the risk of dying from heart disease increased during the coronavirus lockdowns last spring, likely because people were too scared to go to the hospital.

But the dangers of not seeking treatment for a medical emergency far outweigh that of catching COVID-19, especially now that pre...

Calorie-Burning 'Brown Fat' Could Help Keep You Healthy, Even if You're Obese

A special calorie-burning type of body fat appears to help protect against an array of chronic ailments, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Brown fat generates heat by drawing glucose from the bloodstream, as opposed to energy-storing white fat, explained senior researcher Dr. Paul Cohen. He's an assistant professor and senior attending...

Plant-Based Diet Brings Better 'Microbiome,' Healthier Life

A plant-based diet is linked to healthy gut microbes that could lower your risk for conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, a new study finds.

"This study demonstrates a clear association between specific microbial species in the gut, certain foods, and risk of some common diseases," said Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston...

Cold Weather Exercise Could Burn More Fat

If you want to burn fat this winter, take your exercise outdoors, researchers say.

A Canadian study suggests that vigorous exercise in cold weather may burn more fat than working out indoors.

Regular physical activity speeds metabolism and helps regulate fat in the blood ("lipids"), and high-intensity training is better for burning fat than moderate-intensity exercise, the rese...

AHA News: Pandemic Pods Offer Social Relief, But There Are Risks

Patti Ghezzi knows the risks posed by the pandemic. She also knows that her 14-year-old daughter thrives in the company of her friends.

So Ghezzi and her family did something many other Americans have attempted: They became part of a "pod," or "social bubble," with two other Atlanta families. All agreed to limit their exposure to the outside world, and their girls rotate among three homes...

Kids With Congenital Heart Disease Face Higher Odds of Mental Health Issues

Kids born with heart defects may be more likely to develop anxiety, depression and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), regardless of the severity of their heart condition.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting about 40,000 babies a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The defects...

AHA News: Teen's Scars Tell a Story of Her Frightening First 2 Years

Madeline "Maddie" Ramon is used to being asked about the scars that can often be seen poking out the top of her shirt.

"When I was younger, I had a heart problem and I had heart surgery," she tells people. "And I'm good now."

Katie Ramon smiles when she hears Maddie say that. Calling Maddie "my little patchwork baby," Katie considers the scars a source of pride.

"You're a figh...

Heart Risk Factors May Be Especially Unhealthy in People With Psoriasis

People with metabolic syndrome and the skin condition psoriasis are at especially high risk for heart attack and stroke, a new study warns.

Psoriasis has been known to increase the risk of heart disease, but researchers have now pegged metabolic syndrome as a key reason.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure -- al...

AHA News: Ring In the New Year With a 'Mocktail'

At a time when many people are stress-drinking, a New Year's Eve sangria that's alcohol-free is a healthy way to say farewell to 2020.

Filled with vitamins and fiber, this fresh fruit "mocktail" recipe is a nutritious alternative to what people usually drink before and after singing "Auld Lang Syne."

"It's got benefits that make it a better choice than a glass of wine or beer or a m...

AHA News: Here's to a Healthy 2021, With Resolutions From Heart Doctors

Deep in their hearts, everyone has to be looking forward to a fresh start in 2021.

And who would know better about matters of the heart than a cardiologist? We asked some of the nation's best about resolutions -- what they're planning for themselves, and what they wish their patients would focus on for a healthy and happy new year.

Their advice begins with a reminder that the threat...

Neurologists Much Tougher to Find in Rural America

A shortage of neurologists in rural parts of the United States means that people in those areas are less likely to receive specialized care for conditions such as stroke, dementia and back pain, a new study claims.

"Neurologists in the United States are not evenly spread out, which affects whether patients can see a neurologist for certain conditions like dementia and stroke," said study ...

Blood Pressure Often Differs Widely Between Two Arms: Study

Blood pressure readings between the two arms can be different, and that disparity can sometimes be a warning sign of heart trouble down the road.

That's the finding of an analysis of 24 past studies: When people have at least a 5-point difference in blood pressure between the two arms, their risk of heart attack, stroke or premature death inches up. And the greater the difference, the mor...

Weight-Loss Surgery Lowers Long-Term Heart Risks for Diabetic Teens

Weight-loss surgery significantly reduces the risk of heart problems in obese teens with type 2 diabetes, a new study finds.

Teens who have the surgery can see their long-term risk for heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke and coronary death lowered nearly threefold, compared with obese teens whose diabetes is medically managed, researchers say.

"The mitigation in risk does...

AHA News: Keep Your Holiday Drinking on the Moderate Side With This Advice

If you're ready to toast -- a lot -- to the end of 2020, you're in good company. But for your health, find ways to moderate that, experts say.

Even in normal years, people find lots extra reasons to raise a glass, or two, at this time of year, said Joanna Buscemi, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. "It's already a very risky period for people," ...

Black Women at Higher Heart Risk During Pregnancy

Although heart problems are rare complications of pregnancy, Black women face a heightened risk -- even if they have comfortable incomes and health insurance, a new study finds.

It's well established that the United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than other wealthy nations, and Black women are at greater risk than white women.

Less has been known about whether Black wom...

Type 2 Diabetes in Youth Is Especially Unhealthy: Study

The earlier in life type 2 diabetes arises, the deadlier it is, a new analysis finds.

The study, which pooled the results of 26 previous ones, revealed a clear pattern: The younger people were when they developed type 2 diabetes, the greater their risk of complications like heart disease and stroke.

For each year type 2 diabetes was delayed, the risk of blood vessel diseases fell by...

AHA News: 'Athlete's Heart' Differs Between Men and Women

The hearts of female athletes adapt differently to the rigors of sports training compared to their male peers, according to a new study that could change the way doctors evaluate women's heart health.

"Athlete's heart" describes physical and electrical changes, or remodeling, to the heart as a result of intense training. While it's not a medical condition that requires treatment, research...

AHA News: Teatime Can Be Good for Your Health

Next to water, tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and at just a couple of calories per serving, it's loaded with flavonoids that make it one of the world's healthiest beverages as well.

"There are really only three drinks that I ever recommend humans consume," said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of clinical cardiology and cardiovascular prevention and wellness at Nationa...

AHA News: Feeling Stressed About Your Role in Life? For Women, That Could Be a Health Risk

How a woman feels about her roles at home and at work during midlife can affect several factors that influence her heart health, new research shows.

The study, published Dec. 11 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found women who felt more stressed at their jobs or in their roles as caregivers, mothers and spouses had greater odds of having high blood pressure, bein...

'Stairs Test' Quickly Measures Your Heart Health

If you can climb four flights of stairs in less than a minute, your heart's likely in good shape, a new study says.

Researchers set out to find a simple and inexpensive way to assess hearth health that can help doctors identify who requires more extensive testing, explained Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña in Spain.

Trying to dash up the stairs cou...

AHA News: Dance Show Alum Gets Her Groove Back After Stroke

As a teenager, Sandi Thomas appeared for several years on "Dance Connection," a popular television show in Washington, D.C. For decades, she continued busting a move for the sheer joy of it.

"I loved dancing around the house and that sort of thing," Sandi said. "But all that stopped when I had the stroke."

It happened on Mother's Day in 2015. While driving home from the boarding sch...

Heart Palpitations Can Be Common During Menopause

An older woman's heart races and flutters. Is it a sign of cardiovascular problems or is it maybe a symptom of menopause?

New research shows that the palpitations are a distressing problem for roughly 25% of women during menopause, but those feelings of a pounding heart or skipped heartbeat have been the subject of very little research, said study author Janet Carpenter. She'...

High-Dose Flu Shot No Better for Heart Patients

Getting a high-dose flu shot instead of a regular dose doesn't further reduce the risk of serious flu-complications, hospitalization or death in people with heart disease, new research shows.

The findings don't change established guidelines. Heart disease patients and other people with chronic illnesses do benefit from flu shots and should get one every year, according to the authors...

Even in Moderate Cases, COVID-19 Is Causing Long-Term Neurological Harm

COVID-19 can cause a wide range of neurological complications, even in patients who are not critically ill, a new study shows.

Since the start of the pandemic, it's become clear that infection with SARS-CoV-2 can affect organ systems throughout the body. That includes problems affecting the brain and nervous system -- ranging from altered mental states to seizures to strokes.

In the...

Loss of Smell, Taste a Hallmark of COVID-19

Loss of taste and smell are common in COVID-19 patients, and it often occurs before other symptoms, a new study says.

It included 93 people, average age 63, with COVID-19 who were admitted to an Italian hospital in March. None of them ended up in intensive care.

Loss of smell and taste was reported by nearly two-thirds (63%) of the patients, and lasted an average of 25 to 30 days a...

Heart Disease Is World's No. 1 Killer

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide -- accounting for one-third of deaths in 2019 -- and the death toll continues to rise, a new paper says.

China had the highest number of heart disease deaths last year, followed by India, Russia, the United States and Indonesia. Heart disease death rates were lowest in France, Peru and Japan, where rates were six times lower than in 19...

AHA News: Two Kids, Same Heart Defect: 'Like Having Lightning Strike the Same Place Twice'

Stephanie Harris was six months pregnant and in the hospital with excruciating pain. But it wasn't the baby, it was kidney stones.

However, when doctors checked on her unborn daughter, an ultrasound revealed a problem: a hole in the baby's heart.

Though the news was frightening, doctors said not to worry because the hole might close. All went well for the next two months. Then, duri...

Get Rid of Red Meat to Help Your Heart: Study

Another study has confirmed what scientists have long known -- eating a lot of red meat may be bad for your heart.

On the other hand, opting for plant-based proteins instead of ordering a steak may boost your cardiovascular health.

In a new study, researchers followed more than 40,000 men in the United States over a 30-year period. The investigators looked at how red meat consumpti...

AHA News: Few Clinical Studies Examine High Blood Pressure Treatments for Black Americans

High blood pressure affects Black adults in the U.S. more than any other group. But studies exploring its impact on them remain scant, an analysis of clinical trials over the past decade shows.

The analysis, published Monday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that of the 956 U.S.-based clinical trials investigating interventions for high blood pressure between 2009-20...

Your Microbiome & Vitamin D Levels May Be Linked: Study

The diversity, and therefore the health, of the microbes in your gut is linked to your levels of vitamin D, a new study suggests.

The gut microbiome is composed of bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live in our digestive tracts and are important factors in our health and risk for disease.

In this study, researchers analyzed stool and blood samples from 567 men in six U.S. cit...

AHA News: Here's an Idea to Float -- a Space-Ready Sleeping Bag to Keep Blood Moving

A sleeping bag attached to a vacuum cleaner might not sound like the stuff giant leaps are made of. But researchers using just that have taken at least a small step toward solving a serious problem for space travelers.

The problem is the way blood behaves in the absence of gravity.

When you're standing up on Earth, gravity pulls blood and fluid down into your feet and away from your...

AHA News: After 3 Strokes, This Young Pop and R&B Singer Is at Work Again

Chelsea Keenan began singing in church when she was 7, and it was clear from the beginning she had a gift.

Indeed, shortly after her family relocated to California when she was 14, she signed with an independent record label and began booking gigs. She performed at AIDS Walk L.A., at the Relay for Life and in front of 4,000 people at the Los Angeles Special Olympics in 2015.

"I like...

AHA News: Heart Disease, Stroke More Deadly in 'Socially Vulnerable' Counties

Your chances of dying from heart disease or stroke are higher if you live in a county considered socially vulnerable due to factors such as poverty, crowded housing and poor access to transportation, new research shows.

"The findings confirm what we might have imagined -- that social and place-based factors play a key role in cardiovascular mortality," said lead investigator Dr. Quentin R...

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