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Heart Attack Archive
Polypill may help prevent repeat heart attacks
For heart attack survivors, taking a polypill that contains a blood pressure drug, a cholesterol-lowering statin, and low-dose aspirin may help prevent more future heart attacks and serious heart problems than usual care that includes several separate drugs.
Wintertime can pose challenges to cardiovascular health. Cold temperatures can cause arteries to narrow, which can leave people with heart disease vulnerable to angina or heart attacks, especially during physical exertion. Changes in sleep, eating, and exercise habits related to the season may also affect the heart. Crowded indoor gatherings also raise a person’s risk for respiratory infections, which can exacerbate heart disease.
Sleep added to list of essential healthy heart habits
The American Heart Association added sleep to its list of factors for cardiovascular health. The others are a healthy diet; physical activity; low levels of nicotine exposure; and healthy levels of weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
Your guide to taking statins
Statins continue to be a first-line treatment for many people at risk of heart attacks and strokes. They help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce plaque build-up, and protect against plaque rupturing, and fight inflammation. Possible side effects are often mild, if they occur, and go away after a brief period. Otherwise, people can manage them by changing the dosage or switching to another type of statin, per their doctor’s direction.
A virtual approach to healing the heart
Cardiac rehabilitation, which teaches heart-healthy habits coupled with supervised exercise, can help people with heart conditions prevent future problems. Some parts of the program can be done at home, delivered through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Known as virtual cardiac rehab, this approach offers several advantages over conventional rehab, such as avoiding the time and expense of traveling to multiple sessions during the week.
More protection for your heart? It’s just a shot away
A yearly influenza vaccine may help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular complications, especially among people who’ve had a recent heart attack. Pneumonia and shingles vaccines also help reduce heart attack and stroke risks. Early fall is a good time to get back on track with these vaccines. Several different types of flu shots are available; experts advise getting whichever one is most readily available. For those ages 65 and older who have a choice, three vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublock Quadrivalent recombinant, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted) may offer slightly better protection than the regular-dose shot and are the preferred choice.
Bleeding problems: Know your risk
Anti-clotting medications have a well-known and fairly common effect: a heightened risk of bleeding. Being older, having certain health conditions, and taking certain drugs (including popular over-the-counter pain relievers) can increase this risk. Minor bleeding includes bleeding gums after toothbrushing or flossing and nosebleeds that take longer than usual to stop. Signs of more serious bleeding (which requires immediate medical care) include tea-colored, pink, or red urine; blood in the stool or black, tarry stools; or a sudden, severe headache.
Women’s heart attacks more strongly connected to different risk factors than men’s
A 2022 study found that women under 55 experiencing heart attacks have different leading risk factors than men in this age group. For women, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and low household income are strong risk factors for heart attack.
The lowdown on "good" cholesterol
Long touted as beneficial for heart health, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is more complicated than experts once thought. Some forms of HDL grab cholesterol from the bloodstream and other tissues and transport it to the liver, where it's recycled or disposed, but other types are neutral or perform the opposite action. Most drugs that raise HDL don't seem to prevent heart disease, and very high HDL levels may even be linked to a higher risk.
The heart disease gender gap
Women don't fare as well as men when it comes to getting treatment for coronary artery disease. Social and cultural factors may help explain this discrepancy. Women tend to downplay their symptoms and delay seeking treatment. But health care providers may be contributing to this problem, too A major underlying issue may be the underrepresentation of women in clinical trials of heart-related conditions.
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