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Optimism, heart health, and longevity: Unraveling the link for Black Americans

Published February 14, 2022
Recent findings from the largest and longest-running study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Black Americans suggest that a positive outlook can lead to longer life. But while optimism may boost heart health and overall health, the full picture is more complicated.

Five hours of weekly exercise linked to fewer cancer cases

Published February 1, 2022
A study published online Oct. 4, 2021, by the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that about 46,000 U.S. cancer cases per year can be attributed to getting less than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Drinking both coffee and tea linked to lower risks for stroke and dementia

Published February 1, 2022
A study published Nov. 16, 2021, in PLOS Medicine found that drinking two to three cups of coffee as well as two to three cups of tea per day was associated with substantially lower risks for dementia and stroke, compared with drinking no coffee or tea.

Do older adults benefit from blood pressure treatment?

Published February 1, 2022
A study published online Aug. 26, 2021, by The Lancet found that blood pressure treatment protects against heart attacks, strokes, and other major cardiovascular disease problems in people up to age 85 and possibly older. For people younger than 75, the study confirmed that people taking blood pressure medicines had 10% to 20% fewer cardiovascular disease problems. For people 75 to 84, there still was a 10% reduction. For people older than 85, the results were mixed, but there still appeared to be a benefit from blood pressure treatment.

The facts on fat and heart health

Published February 1, 2022
Dietary fat can both help and hurt heart health, depending on the source. Eating adequate amounts of the "good" fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. "Bad" saturated fat found in many processed foods can have the opposite effect. Following heart-healthy diets like the Mediterranean and DASH diets and making small substitutions in daily eating habits can ensure people get the proper amounts of good fats.

Drinking coffee and tea linked to lower stroke risk

Published February 1, 2022
People who sip several daily cups of both coffee and tea may be less likely to have a stroke than people who don’t drink either beverage.

How stimulants may affect your heart

Published February 1, 2022
Stimulant medications, which are usually prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder in children, are being prescribed increasingly to older adults. These drugs may cause a short-term spike in the risk of heart-related problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and arrhythmias. Dietary supplements that promise weight loss or better physical or mental performance may contain prohibited, unlisted, and potentially dangerous stimulants.

Is there such a thing as a silent stroke?

Published January 1, 2022
It is possible to experience a stroke without symptoms. Addressing cardiovascular risk factors can help lower the risk.

Exercise may heal the heart as well as prevent future problems

Published January 1, 2022
Exercise may help to reverse some types of heart damage. Not only can workouts prevent heart problems, but it may help to improve conditions that may raise risk for cardiovascular events. A 2021 study, for example, showed that a yearlong exercise program helped improve heart health in people who were at increased risk for heart failure.

Gum disease and heart health: Probing the link

Published January 1, 2022
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.

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