Heart Attack Archive


Can you have a heart attack and not know it?

Silent heart attacks often go unnoticed because they don't produce any symptoms or only mild symptoms that are mistaken for something else, such as heartburn or muscle pain. They are thought to make up from 20% to 60% of heart attacks and can raise risk of a future heart attack or related problem. Both women and men are at substantial risk. Making lifestyle changes and being proactive about managing risk factors for heart disease can help prevent future heart-related problems.

High blood pressure? Treat the risk, not the number

People with a high risk for heart attacks and strokes might benefit from taking blood pressure–lowering medications, even if their blood pressure is in the normal or "high normal" range and they have no clear signs of cardiovascular disease.

Reducing heart risks in the wake of breast cancer treatment

Hormone therapy is a highly successful breast cancer treatment for women, but it can elevate cardiovascular risk. Women can reduce those risks by being vigilant about their heart health and working closely with their doctors. Women who have taken or are taking these medications as part of breast cancer treatment should focus on adopting a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and keeping close tabs on their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.

Look inside your heart

The traditional measures to gauge heart disease risk don’t always tell the whole story. Sometimes more medical information is needed. An increasingly used test to predict a person’s risk for heart attack or stroke is a coronary artery calcium scan. It measures the amount of calcified plaque in the heart’s arteries, high levels of which suggest higher overall plaque buildup. The number can determine if people should begin statin therapy and make additional lifestyle changes.

Why people faint: From common to very rare causes

All episodes of fainting results from insufficient blood flow to the brain. But there are many underlying causes for that diminished blood flow, ranging from common, usually harmless issues to rare, potentially serious problems. Common causes include vasovagal syncope and orthostatic hypotension; rare causes include carotid sinus hypersensitivity and rotational vertebral artery syndrome.

Do I need to take my blood pressure in both arms?

Taking blood pressure readings in both arms can help reveal potential heart risks.

Autoimmune conditions and heart disease

People with systemic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis are more likely to have heart attacks and to die of cardiovascular disease than people in the general public. The 2019 expert guidelines for preventing heart disease says these conditions should be considered "risk enhancers" when estimating heart attack risk. But this added risk may be underrecognized and undertreated.

A new way to take aspirin: Liquid-filled capsules

The FDA approved the first liquid-filled aspirin capsule, Vazalore, which will be marketed in standard and low-dose versions.

Advice about daily aspirin

The heart-protecting benefits of a daily low-dose aspirin have to be weighed against the risk of bleeding, a common side effect that is usually minor but sometimes serious. The calculation depends on age and whether a person has cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or a condition that raises risk of bleeding.

Is a "normal" blood pressure reading too high for women?

A study published Feb. 16, 2021, in Circulation found that women with blood pressure readings in a normal range may still be at higher risk for cardiovascular events. For example, heart attack risk in women rose at a systolic (the upper number) reading of 110 to 119 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and was the same at this level as men with a systolic pressure of 160 mm Hg. But experts say it’s too soon to change blood pressure recommendations for women until more research confirms the results.

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