Heart Attack Archive


Gum disease and heart health: Probing the link

About two-thirds of people over 65 have periodontal disease, which is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Shared risk factors such as smoking and an unhealthy diet may explain the association, but bacteria and inflammation could be a common thread. The bacteria responsible for periodontal disease can travel to blood vessels throughout the body and have been found in the fatty debris (atherosclerosis) that clogs arteries located far from the mouth—and in blood clots from people who have experienced heart attacks.

What’s the best blood pressure target for older adults?

For people over 60, aiming for a blood pressure target below 130/80 mm Hg may prevent more cardiovascular problems than aiming for the higher target suggested by some physicians. Some feared that the more intensive treatment required to reach the lower target might cause more adverse side effects (such as dizziness and falls) in older people. But side effects do not appear to differ among people taking intensive versus standard therapy.

Salt substitute associated with lower rates of stroke, death

A large study published online Aug. 29, 2021, by The New England Journal of Medicine found that people who used a salt substitute on their food had a lower risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death, compared with people who used regular salt.

Saturated fat and low-carb diets: Still more to learn?

Low-carbohydrate diets have been popular for many years, but due to the high amounts of saturated fat, doctors and nutritionists worry about possible increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A study comparing three diets found that eating a high-fat diet did not necessarily raise heart risk, but the types and quantities of food make a difference.

COVID-19 diagnosis raises risk of heart attack, stroke

A Swedish study suggests that risk of a heart attack or stroke at least triples in the week following a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Could high calcium intake damage my heart?

Past research hinted at a link between heart disease and a high intake of calcium from supplements, but more recent analyses have not found a connection between the two.

Different types of tachycardia

A rapid heartbeat may be due to supraventricular tachycardia or ventricular tachycardia. The former is usually harmless, while the latter is more serious and more likely to occur in older people with heart disease.

Drug therapy needs time to treat heart-related chest pain

Chest pain with exertion affects about one-quarter of people with stable coronary artery disease. A 2021 study found that these individuals can often eliminate their symptoms by following conservative drug therapy, without needing a stent or bypass surgery.

The danger of a "silent" heart attack

So-called silent heart attacks (marked by unexplained weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, or nausea) often go unrecognized. But they may be almost as concerning as regular heart attacks and have been linked to a higher risk of stroke. Some of this heightened stroke risk stems from shared risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol levels. But heart attacks can also damage the heart’s lower chambers. This may prevent the heart from contracting normally, which can lead to formation of a clot that then travels to the brain, causing a stroke.

Experimental wireless pacemaker dissolves when no longer needed

A wireless, battery-free device that naturally absorbs into the body within two months may one day be a safer alternative to temporary pacemakers.

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