Recent Blog Articles
When — and how — should you be screened for colon cancer?
Got expendable body parts?
How to help your child get the sleep they need
What color is your tongue? What's healthy, what's not?
Immune boosts or busts? From IV drips and detoxes to superfoods
The new RSV shot for babies: What parents need to know
Dealing with thick, discolored toenails
Prostate cancer: A new type of radiation treatment limits risk of side effects
Harvard Health Ad Watch: Why are toilets everywhere in this drug ad?
Will miscarriage care remain available?
Heart Attack Archive
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.
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!