Stroke Archive

Articles

Enjoy avocados? Eating one a week may lower heart disease risk

Avocados are abundant in healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients that boost heart health. A long-term study has found that people who eat avocado regularly have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, which leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Does a low-salt diet really improve your health?

Using salt substitutes containing potassium chloride instead of using sodium chloride (table salt) may help reduce heart attack and stroke risk. A Harvard study published online Nov. 13, 2021, by The New England Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed the most sodium chloride had a 60% higher risk of a major cardiovascular event (a heart attack, a stroke, cardiac stent placement, or surgery) compared with those who consumed the least. People who consumed the most potassium chloride had a 31% lower risk of a major cardiovascular event compared with the people who consumed the least.

A look at diastolic blood pressure

When it comes to managing blood pressure, doctors tend to focus on lowering the top (systolic) number, but the bottom (diastolic) number also plays an essential role in heart health. Diastolic pressure is the pressure during the resting phase between heartbeats, and helps coronary vessels supply oxygen to the heart muscle. It’s important to keep both blood pressure numbers low per guidelines, but research suggests the diastolic number should not fall too low.

Close relationships with neighbors influence cardiovascular health in Black adults

A study of Black adults living in the Atlanta area suggests that feeling rooted in community and socializing with neighbors may strongly contribute to better cardiovascular health, which might lower risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Adding potassium and subtracting sodium may equal better heart health

Consuming less sodium and more potassium may be linked to better heart health, according to a November 2021 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. After controlling for other risk factors, the researchers found that for every extra 1,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium detected in the urine, there was an 18% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. For every extra 1,000 mg of potassium in the urine, there was an 18% decrease in risk.

Your brain on high blood pressure

High blood pressure not only can raise risk for a heart attack, but also can affect the brain. Keeping blood pressure normal can make brain injury from stroke less likely to happen and perhaps slow the natural decline in cognitive function. Just like with the heart, the best way to protect the brain from high blood pressure is to lower blood pressure if it’s high and keep it as close to a normal level as possible.

Fish linked to lower risk of vascular brain disease

Older adults who eat fish several times a week may be less likely to develop early signs of cerebrovascular disease, a category that includes strokes, aneurysms, and related problems.

Anger or emotional upset may trigger stroke

Anger or emotional upset may be linked to an increased risk of stroke within an hour of experiencing those negative emotions.

The heart-related hazards of air pollution

Air pollution is an often overlooked yet important contributor to cardiovascular disease. Tiny particles known as PM2.5 travel deep into the lungs, where they irritate receptors and trigger nerves involved in the autonomic nervous system. This irritation also contributes to inflammation, which accelerates atherosclerosis. Climate change can worsen the damaging effects of air pollution in several ways, such as by promoting wildfires and dust storms, which creates more PM2.5. To reduce pollution’s harmful effects, people can check air quality information and use portable indoor air cleaners when pollution levels are elevated.

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

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.

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