Recent Blog Articles

Heart Attack Archive


In Brief

Cough and ACE inhibitors. About one in nine people (11.5%) who take an ACE inhibitor such as enalapril or ramipril develops a dry cough. That's about 10 times higher than listed in the fine print of the drug's prescribing information or in the Physicians' Desk Reference, a commonly used resource for drug information (American Journal of Medicine, November 2010). For some people, the cough is a mild nuisance. For others, it is so aggravating they stop taking the drug. If you take an ACE inhibitor and are bothered by a dry cough, ask your doctor about switching to an angiotensin-receptor blocker or another medication.

Waist circumference and longevity. A bigger waist isn't a good sign for living to a healthy old age. Among 105,000 middle-aged men and women taking part in the Cancer Prevention Study II, the larger the waist, the greater the chances of dying over the nine-year study. As expected, the connection was seen among individuals who were overweight or obese. But it was also seen in those with healthy weights (Archives of Internal Medicine, Aug. 9/23, 2010). The increased risk of dying was most pronounced in men with waists greater than 43 inches and women with waists greater than 37 inches.

Is the heart attack going out of style?

Hospitalization rates for heart attacks are going down, so maybe prevention efforts are paying off.

Two studies published in 2010 show that the American heart attack rate is continuing to decline. The first, published in Circulation, was based on Medicare data. The main finding was that hospitalization rates for heart attack dropped by about 23% between 2002 and 2007, which by the authors' calculations might have translated into 100,000 fewer hospitalizations a year for the 45 million Americans enrolled in the Medicare program.

Chest pain: A heart attack or something else?

What makes you worry that chest pain is serious, like a heart attack

When is chest pain serious? That dull burning feeling in your chest doesn't seem to be going away, and even feels like it is getting worse. Is it a heart attack, or something else?

It's a vexing question, one that millions of people — and their doctors — face each year. What's the problem? Chest pain can stem from dozens of conditions besides heart attack, from pancreatitis to pneumonia or panic attack.

High resting heart rate predicts heart risk in women at midlife

A study based on data from the Women's Health Initiative suggests that a high resting heart rate is an indicator of risk of heart attack in middle-aged women.

Ask the doctor: Does exercise help damaged heart muscle?


Q. After my heart attack, my doctor told me that damaged heart muscle cannot be replaced. If this is true, why am I walking on a treadmill five days a week? Is this helping repair the heart muscle damage or strengthen what's left of my heart muscle?

A. Your skeletal muscles can repair themselves after an injury — pull your calf muscle and, after a few days or so, it heals. Until recently, it was believed that the human heart didn't have this capacity. But the heart does have some ability to make new muscle and possibly repair itself. The rate of regeneration is so slow, though, that it can't fix the kind of damage caused by a heart attack. That's why the rapid healing that follows a heart attack creates scar tissue in place of working muscle tissue.

What tests do you recommend for detecting my risk of heart disease?

Learn not only the risk factors doctors look for, but the one area more doctors are taking to heart when detecting your risk for heart disease. Dr. Paula Johnson shares the necessity of this test and what it could mean for you.

Is there such thing as heart attack triggers?

Yes, it is possible to give yourself a heart attack and there are at least a dozen ways to do so. Dr. Paula Johnson tells more about the various heart attack triggers and shares ways to decrease your risk.

What's a normal blood pressure?

Understanding your blood pressure is the beginning of either staving off or managing hypertension. Dr. Paula Johnson explains the numbers and suggests lifestyle changes that can help you take control.

On the alert for deep-vein blood clots

Clots that form in a leg or arm vein can be deadly; prevention is key.

Blood clots are lifesavers when they seal a cut. They can be dangerous, even deadly, when they form inside an artery or vein. A blood clot inside a coronary artery can trigger a heart attack; one inside an artery feeding the brain can set off a stroke. Inside a leg vein, a blood clot can cause deep-vein thrombosis. Never heard of it? You're in good company. In a survey conducted by the American Public Health Association, barely one-quarter of adults were aware of the disease, and even fewer were familiar with its signs and symptoms. That's a sad state of affairs for a circulatory disorder the U.S. Surgeon General and others say is a critical health problem that causes enormous health consequences and numerous deaths each year. To draw attention to this overlooked condition, the Surgeon General has issued a "Call to Action" on it.

Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that forms in a vein that runs deep inside a leg or arm. Pulmonary embolism (PE) is its most serious — and often deadly — complication. One or both strike upwards of 600,000 Americans a year, killing at least 100,000. That's as many deaths as caused by breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. And one-third of the survivors are left with long-term health problems.

Different shades of gray for post-heart attack depression

Depression that develops for the very first time during recuperation from a heart attack affects recovery more than depression that started before the attack.

Recovering from a heart attack is tough enough without facing the fog of depression. Yet that's exactly what happens to nearly half of heart attack survivors. Depression is a painful, isolating, joyless state of mind that interferes with recovery and dulls life. It may even make it shorter "" people with post-heart attack depression are two to three times more likely to have another heart attack or to die prematurely compared with survivors who don't have depression.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.