Heart Health

Heart Health

Heart Health
Treat your heart right by eating healthy, staying active and managing your stress. Although some heart conditions are heredity, you can reduce your risk by keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels, avoiding tobacco products and losing some pounds if you are obese or overweight. A diet high in fiber, veggies and fruits is essential for a healthy heart. Vitamins and supplements, such as fish oil, may help reduce your cholesterol, which if too high can cause blockage in your arteries and lead to a heart attack. If you arteries are blocked, you may need a stent or cardiac angioplasty device to open your blood vessels, which can help prevent a heart attack. Because heart disease is the number one killer of adults in the U.S., taking care of your heart is essential for a long life. If you have a family history of heart disease, it is especially important for you to manage your hearts health.

Recently Answered

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    A resting radionuclide angiogram (RNA) is a type of nuclear medicine procedure that evaluates the heart's chambers in motion. Before the procedure:
    • Your physician will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
    • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the test. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
    • Generally, no prior preparation, such as fasting or sedation, is required. In some cases, smoking cigarettes may be restricted two or three hours before testing.
    • If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician.
    • Notify your physician of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking.
    • Notify the technologist or physician if you are allergic to or sensitive to medications, local anesthesia, contrast dyes, iodine, or latex.
    • Notify your physician if you have a pacemaker.
    • Based upon your medical condition, your physician may request other specific preparation.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    A nuclear cardiology test is typically performed in a stress test format, with an exercise component together with the "nuclear" imaging. If you cannot exercise, then drugs that stress the heart will be infused, along with the "nuclear" component. 

    The nuclear imaging portion of the test is related to the injection of a minimally radioactive tracer that will circulate through the heart arteries, and "light up the heart". We use the added nuclear portion to more sensitivity detect reductions in blood flow (which may not be identified with a standard stress test without imaging) and to localize where the trouble may be.

    Nuclear stress tests are more sensitive and specific for the presence of a blocked up artery, but they are more expensive and do come with the exposure to radiation. The choice of a nuclear procedure is usually based on some factor that dictates that "imaging" is necessary. Sometimes it's because your electrocardiogram is abnormal and hard to interpret on the treadmill; sometimes it's because the doctor wants a more sensitive "view" of the heart.
    Alternatives to the nuclear cardiology test include stress echo, as well as stress MRI.
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    Strenuous physical exertion could certainly increase the demands of the heart muscle for oxygen -- one way in which angina attacks occur. Rises in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the force of heart action with extreme effort or emotion, might also promote rupture of atherosclerotic plaques, considered a common cause of heart attacks. With respect to stent thrombosis, some hormones that are elevated during physical and other stresses may make blood platelets more "sticky," potentially precipitating blood clot formation in stents.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    New research has found that regular exposure to sound above 65 decibels (that's merely a loud conversation) can up the risk of a heart attack by 10%. Chronic exposure to louder noise -- from a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner, for example -- bumps heart attack risk by 20%, and constantly being around anything on par with a garbage disposal (common in many factories) increases the risk by 50%.

    What's the link between loud noise and heart damage? Relentless racket activates your nervous system and increases stress levels, which throws off your heart rate, blood pressure, bad cholesterol and blood sugar, increasing heart attack risk. Constant clatter has also been linked to cognitive impairment, sleep problems and tinnitus (persistent ringing in your ears).

    So, if silence makes only a rare golden appearance in your day-to-day life, find ways to turn down the volume. Simple $2 ear plugs can help if the noise isn't that bad. If it is, invest in ear- and heart-protecting noise-cancellation headphones. They make a huge difference. Wear them on airplanes, when using power tools and possibly at weddings, bar mitzvahs and family reunions.
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    When you are having a heart attack, it is like having an overturned tractor trailer parked in your coronary arteries - which are just like highways that wrap around your heart, similar to a crown, and supply blood to different parts of the heart muscle.

    Only, in the case of a heart attack --- it is not a truck that is stuck there, it's a piece of plaque - which is a buildup of cholesterol and fatty material that is lodged within your coronary artery. When the plaque gets pushed around and nicked, blood platelets rush to rescue - forming a clot that blocks the flow of blood.

    The blood that is trying to flow through instead gets backed up and begins looking for alternative routes.

    In the meantime, the heart muscle may be dying. The longer it takes to get to the hospital, the more damage that will occur.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    When talking about heart disease, you often hear the word calcification. That has little to do with dietary calcium. Calcification in arteries is the body's attempt to heal those inflammatory plaques in your body. The calcium stabilizes the plaque like cement reinforcement of a plaster wall.
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    Healthy hearts expand and contract like a rubber band. When the heart tissue stiffens up, the heart does not pump blood like it should, which is called fibrosis. A study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine included 800 adults. It found that people who are depressed are more likely to suffer from fibrosis.

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    A Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, answered on behalf of
    What medical procedures test heart function?
    The most common medical procedure to test heart function is an echocardiogram. In this video, Ravi K. Sureddi, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Riverside Community Hospital, describes other procedures to test patients with heart rhythm problems.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Two simple physical tests can tell you a lot about the health of your heart. Both of them involve how your heart deals with vigorous exercise-how hard you can work out, and how quickly you recover. Each of these tests independently can predict your risk of death or disability in the next 10 years, from all causes, not just heart disease or arterial aging.

    Here's how to carry out your own personal exercise stress test (only do these to the maximum exercise level you normally do, or if your doctor says you can do them). You will need to have a method of measuring your heart rate, such as a device that is built into the handles of an exercise machine or a heart-rate monitor that straps on your wrist.

    Maximum Heart Rate: After exercising as hard as you can for three minutes, check your heart rate: How close does it come to 80 or 90 percent of the maximum for your age? (Calculate the maximum by subtracting your calendar age from 220: If you're 40 years old, your maximum heart rate should be about 180 beats per minute-80 percent would be 144; 90 percent would be 162.)

    Recovery Time: Right at the end of the most strenuous workout you do, note your heart rate. Then stop all exercise (just this once, don't cool down), and check your heart rate two minutes later.

    If you achieved at least 80 percent or greater of your maximum heart rate, or if your heart rate declined by 66 or more beats in the two minutes after you stopped, your RealAge is at least five years younger than your calendar age.
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    A answered

    We often think of cheese as that artery-clogging no-no on top of pizza. But a new study suggests cheese might actually be good for your heart -- if you choose low-fat.

    Yep. In a study of middle-aged adults, frequent servings of low-fat dairy products appeared to significantly reduce levels of heart-hampering inflammatory compounds.

    The researchers measured blood levels of three inflammatory markers: C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. And all three compounds were significantly lower in people who got 11 to 14 servings of low-fat dairy products each week compared with people who got fewer than eight servings. It's good news for your taste buds and your heart, because reducing the number of inflammatory compounds in your body may help protect you from heart disease.

    Full-fat versions of dairy products are rich in saturated fat, and that means trouble for both your heart and your waistline. But low-fat and nonfat versions are rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals that have been credited with everything from reducing the risk of high blood pressure to lowering homocysteine -- a protein linked to heart disease. In the recent study, a cup of low-fat milk or yogurt or an ounce of cheese each counted as a serving. And every little serving helped. Eating just one extra serving of low-fat dairy per week resulted in a measurable decrease in inflammation.