Heart Health

Stress and the heart: Lessons from the pandemic

Doctors have begun to study the effects of COVID-related stress and anxiety on people. A recent study suggests that stress caused by the pandemic may already be affecting heart health.

Treating mild hypothyroidism: Benefits still uncertain

More than 10 million adults in the US have hypothyroidism — when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs — but the vast majority of these cases are considered mild. Whether or not to treat mild hypothyroidism is an ongoing debate. There is a possible link between mild hypothyroidism and coronary artery disease, but researchers found that treating it in older people did not provide any benefit.

Worried about sleep apnea? Home-based testing is now the norm

Sleep apnea robs people of high-quality sleep, increases the risk of heart problems, and puts people at higher risk of accidents. While an overnight stay in a sleep lab used to be required to diagnose sleep apnea, now this testing often can be done at home.

Lifestyle changes are important for managing atrial fibrillation

Many lifestyle factors can influence the development of atrial fibrillation, and doctors now better understand the importance of these factors in treating afib. Those who are at risk of developing afib can take action to improve their health, and in some cases they may be able to reduce their symptoms.

Metabolic syndrome is on the rise: What it is and why it matters

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Because metabolic syndrome boosts the risk of developing several serious health problems, a troubling rise in rates of occurrence of metabolic syndrome among certain segments of the US population is of great concern.

Gender differences in cardiovascular disease: Women are less likely to be prescribed certain heart medications

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of both women and men in the US, but despite the significant impact it has on women, awareness and education for women’s heart disease has historically been low. A recent meta-analysis found that women were significantly less likely to be prescribed common medications for CVD.

Marijuana may be risky for your heart

Growing numbers of Americans are using some form of marijuana, including edibles and other products. But evidence is emerging that it can be harmful to the heart: it can cause a faster heartbeat and a rise in blood pressure, and chemicals in it can affect medications used to treat heart disease.

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?

An analysis of multiple studies looking at the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive health –– abilities like thinking, memory, and attention –– found that older people who lower high blood pressure are slightly less likely to develop cognitive impairment or dementia.

How to stock a plant-based pantry (and fridge) on a budget

Uma Naidoo, MD

Contributor

Given the economic stresses stemming from the current pandemic situation, many of us are trying to maintain healthy eating habits while also spending less. Adjusting your food purchases to include more plant-based choices can help your health and your budget.

Better heart health in eight weeks? Double down on fruits and veggies

Want to improve heart health? New research based on blood samples from the original DASH diet shows the DASH diet and another diet high in fruits and veggies can lower measures of heart strain and heart muscle damage within eight weeks.