The Heart

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Do omega-3 supplements really benefit the heart?

Every day, millions of people from all over the world take fish oil supplements in the hope that they will protect them from heart disease. But do these golden capsules really work? A large systematic review investigates.
fish oil supplements on blue background
Should we believe the hype around these little golden capsules?

Omega-3 is a kind of fat found in fish, seafood, certain nuts, and plant oils.

More specifically, omega-3 fatty acids are of three main types: alpha­linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means that the human body cannot produce it on its own and has to get it from food.

Flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils, as well as chia seeds and walnuts, all contain ALA.

DHA and EPA — also called long-chain omega-3s — can both be found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines, as well as in other kinds of seafood.

Studies have shown that those who consume fish regularly as part of a healthful, balanced diet are at a lower risk of heart problems. But the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explain that research is unclear as to whether these benefits come from fish or omega-3 in particular.

While the jury is still out on the matter, millions of people in the United States have turned to omega-3, or fish oil supplements, due to their alleged heart health benefits.

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In fact, as a survey carried out by the NIH reports, "Fish oil was the most popular natural product used by adults in the United States in 2012," with about 18.8 million U.S. individuals taking it.

But are the supplements actually worth the hype? A new review by researchers at Cochrane, an independent organization that evaluates existing medical research, assesses the benefits of the supplements by looking at the evidence available.

Lee Hooper, the lead author of the meta-analysis, is an expert systematic reviewer and reader in research synthesis, nutrition, and hydration from the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom

The findings are now published in the Cochrane Library.

Reviewing almost 80 clinical trials

Hooper and colleagues reviewed 79 randomized trials, summing up 112,059 participants. The trials assessed the cardiovascular effects of taking omega-3 supplements and compared them with those of normal or lower intake of omega-3.

In most studies, some participants were given fish oil supplements, while others took placebos.

Other studies had prompted participants to increase their omega-3 intake over the course of 1 year, while other participants were asked to keep it the same.

The majority of the trials that assessed the effect of ALA intake gave participants in the intervention group omega-3-enriched foods such as margarine, or foods naturally rich in ALA, including walnuts. The control group had a normal, non-enriched diet.

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Supplements have 'little or no effect'

The review found that taking long-chain omega-3 supplements had "little or no effect" on death risk from any causes, death risk from cardiovascular problems, or death risk from coronary heart disease.

The supplements are also reported to have had "little or no effect" on the risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, or irregular heartbeat.

As for ALA, increasing intake from walnuts or fortified products such as margarine "probably makes little or no difference to all-cause or cardiovascular deaths or coronary events but probably slightly reduce[s] cardiovascular events, coronary mortality, and heart irregularities," the authors conclude.

However, this reduction is so slight that 1,000 people would have to increase their ALA intake in order for one of them to benefit, say the researchers.

This is based on "moderate- and high-quality evidence." Conversely, "Previous suggestions of benefits from EPA and DHA supplements appear to spring from trials with higher risk of bias," write the authors.

Finally, the effects of ALA on stroke risk remain unclear because the evidence was considered to be "of very low quality."

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Diet may help, but supplements do not

Hooper comments on the results, saying, "We can be confident in the findings of this review which go against the popular belief that long-chain omega-3 supplements protect the heart."

"The review provides good evidence," she adds, "that taking long-chain omega-3 (fish oil, EPA, or DHA) supplements does not benefit heart health or reduce our risk of stroke or death from any cause."

"The most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on cardiovascular health," Hooper emphasizes. "On the other hand, while oily fish is a healthy food, it is unclear from the small number of trials whether eating more oily fish is protective of our hearts."

In an expert reaction to the review, Tim Chico — who is a professor of cardiovascular medicine and an honorary consultant cardiologist at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. — says, "Although diet plays an important role in preventing heart disease, this is complex and unlikely to relate much to any single element of the diet."

"Previous experience has shown that although some types of diet are linked to lower risk of heart disease, when we try to identify the beneficial element of the diet and give it as a supplement it generally has little or no benefit."

Prof. Tim Chico

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Large study reviews the cardiovascular benefits of walnuts

In recent years, studies have started pointing to nuts as a way to boost heart health, but most of them were observational with a limited sample size. Now, a systematic review of clinical trials spanning 25 years has confirmed that when it comes to cardiovascular health, nuts are the go-to food.
walnuts
It's official: walnuts are great for your heart.

At Medical News Today, we've been unpacking the health benefits of nuts, one study at a time.

This delicious snack may be key for heart health and healthy aging, slashing the risk of stroke or coronary heart disease.

But the benefits of nuts do not stop here; some studies suggest that a handful of nuts may help us live longer, improve our memory, and strengthen our brain.

Now, scientists led by Marta Guasch-Ferré — a research associate in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA — have carried out a large-scale review of numerous studies covering the link between nut consumption and heart health.

These "natural health capsules," as Guasch-Ferré called them in a study that MNT reported on last year, may do wonders for our cardiovascular system.

This is the main takeaway of the new review, which has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Walnut-enriched diets protect the heart

This review updates the results of a previous meta-analysis that was published in 2009. It included 13 clinical trials.

Now, Guasch-Ferré and team have assessed the trials published since that point; this amounted to 26 randomized trials, summing up 1,059 participants with ages between 22 and 75.

Among the study participants, some were living with conditions such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or obesity.

The scientists evaluated the benefits of a diet rich in walnuts and compared it with low-fat, Western, Mediterranean, and Japanese diets.

Walnut-enriched diets provided a more significant reduction in cholesterol levels and other markers of cardiovascular health when compared with these control diets.

More specifically, a diet rich in walnuts had a 3.25 percent greater reduction in total cholesterol levels, a 3.73 percent greater decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and a 5.52 percent greater reduction of triglycerides.

Also, levels of apolipoprotein B — which is the main protein found in LDL, or "bad," cholesterol — were lowered by 4.19 more percentage points than in control diets.

"Incorporating walnuts into the diet improved blood lipid profile without adversely affecting body weight or blood pressure," conclude the authors.

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Strengths and limitations of the study

Walnuts' benefits may be down to their rich polyunsaturated, or "healthful," fat content, including essential omega-3 fatty acids, as well as to their wide variety of antioxidants.

Dr. Michael Roizen, the chief wellness officer in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, weighs in on the findings.

"This updated review further strengthens the case that enjoying walnuts is a great (and tasty) way to add important nutrients to your diet while supporting the health of your heart."

Dr. Michael Roizen

But the review does have some caveats. The samples in most of the studies reviewed were fairly small, which may weaken the findings.

Also, some trials used a considerable amount of walnuts, which may be hard to stick to in a day-to-day setting, say the researchers.

Still, they highlight the fact that great benefits were noticed with even smaller amounts of walnuts — that is, fewer than 28 grams per day.

Finally, the research was funded by the California Walnut Commission, an agency of the State of California that works together with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop the nut market and support health research.

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What causes a bounding pulse?

A bounding pulse is when a person feels their heart beating harder or more vigorously than usual.

People are often worried that a bounding pulse is a sign of a heart problem. However, anxiety or panic attacks cause many cases and will resolve on their own.

People may notice their heartbeat feels stronger in their chest or when they feel for their pulse in the neck or wrist. They might also notice an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations.

In this article, we look at the causes and symptoms of a bounding pulse. We also discuss ways that people can treat or prevent it from happening.

Causes of a bounding pulse Bounding pulse
A person experiencing anxiety will often feel their heartbeat increase.

A range of medical conditions can cause a bounding pulse. If the symptoms do not go away on their own, people should see a doctor to find out what is causing the symptoms.

Some of the most common conditions linked to pulse rate changes include the following:

Anxiety or panic attacks

Anxiety can cause the heart to beat more strongly and more rapidly. Anxiety is a temporary state, and a person's heartbeat will return to normal when their fear or worry go away.

In cases of extreme anxiety, people might experience a panic attack. Panic attacks usually come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. In some cases, they can feel like a heart attack, which can add more anxiety.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the symptoms of a panic attack include:

heart palpitations, or an irregular heartbeat a pounding heart a rapid heartbeat chest pain or discomfort shortness of breath fear of losing control or dying

Panic attacks are not a sign of any underlying medical condition. Nevertheless, if a person experiences severe anxiety or panic attacks, they should speak to their doctor.

Dehydration

Dehydration can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the body. A person's heart may beat more rapidly to try and correct these imbalances.

A bounding pulse linked to dehydration is more common in people doing intense exercise, experiencing heat-related exhaustion, and those with metabolic disorders that affect their ability to absorb electrolytes.

Fever

People may feel their heart beating more quickly or vigorously when they have a fever.

A person's body heats up when it is trying to fight off an infection, which means the heart has to work harder. This also occurs when people exercise or spend too much time in hot climates.

Some people also become more sensitive to changes in their heart rate when they are sick or have a fever, so they are more likely to notice changes in their heartbeats.

Drugs

Some drugs and medications can cause the heart to beat faster. Some that may cause this effect include:

caffeine and nicotine prescription medications, including Ritalin and other ADHD treatments illicit substances, including cocaine

Hormonal imbalance

Hormones are the body's chemical messengers. Changes in hormone levels can change the heart rate.

Thyroid diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes the body to produce too much thyroid hormone, are a common cause of hormone imbalances.

People who experience a pounding heart and other symptoms, such as exhaustion or unexplained weight gain or loss, may have a thyroid condition.

Allergic reactions

Mild allergic reactions should not cause changes in people's heartbeats. However, a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylactic shock, can produce a rapid, bounding pulse.

Anaphylaxis usually happens within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.

People experiencing anaphylaxis may have:

rapid, pounding heartbeat trouble breathing swollen throat or tongue

Electrical faults in the heart

The heart uses electrical signals to know when to pump and when to relax.

A problem with the heart's electrical system can cause any of the organ's four chambers to beat at an irregular rate, or to pump too fast and too hard. This can create the sensation of a bounding pulse.

One of the most common symptoms of an electrical problem is called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). It often happens during exercise or stress and does not usually mean a person has a serious health problem.

Heart disease

A racing, bounding heart rate may be a sign of heart disease.

Heart disease is more likely in people with cardiovascular risk factors, such as:

smoking cigarettes a family history of heart disease being overweight

When the arteries are clogged, the heart has to beat harder to pump blood through the body. This damages the heart and may cause chest pain. It can also cause some people to experience a faster heart rate.

Problems with the heart valves

Aortic insufficiency, sometimes called aortic regurgitation, is where the heart valves do not close properly. This means that the heart cannot pump the blood as well as it should.

Heart disease and some other health problems, such as a bacterial infection, can weaken the heart and cause problems with the heart valves.

Aortic insufficiency can cause:

a bounding pulse chest pain weakness swelling fatigue

Shock

Shock is a medical condition where the heart does not pump enough oxygen-rich blood around the body. This can happen when a person has one of the following:

too little blood in their body a problem with their heart's pumping mechanism widened blood vessels

Shock can cause the heart to beat faster to compensate. People may go into shock following a severe injury, especially one that causes organ damage or heavy bleeding. A racing heart following an injury is always a medical emergency.

Symptoms During an episode of bounding pulse, a person may experience the following: sudden increase in pulse rate, such that the heart feels as if it is beating very fast feeling like the heart is beating very hard anxiety about the heart heart palpitations or an irregular heart rate Some people also experience dizziness or light-headedness. These signs are often due to anxiety. Anxiety can increase a person's pulse and make the bounding feeling more intense. This change in pulse can make people feel even more anxious. Finding ways to manage anxiety, such as deep breathing or meditation, may help to break this cycle. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today When to see a doctor Bounding pulse can be cause for medical treatment
Seek medical help if chest pain is not linked to exercise and does not reduce with rest. A bounding pulse does not necessarily mean a person has a medical condition, and it usually goes away on its own. People who frequently experience a bounding pulse should consult a doctor, especially if the symptom is not due to anxiety. If a person has other symptoms, it is vital to see a doctor quickly, as a bounding pulse associated with other signs may point to a further medical issue. People should seek emergency medical help if a bounding pulse happens along with: chest pain or pressure not associated with exercise and not improving after rest intense jaw or shoulder pain, especially along with chest pain confusion or changes in consciousness a history of heart disease, stroke, or heart attack starting new medication exposure to a recent allergen, such as a bee sting sweating profusely heavy bleeding or a recent injury spotting during pregnancy a head injury Diagnosis To find out the cause of a bounding pulse, a doctor will ask about a person's symptoms and medical history. The doctor may seek the following information: when the changes in pulse rate began whether a bounding pulse has happened before what triggers the bounding pulse other symptoms, such as an irregular heartbeat or ectopic beats risk factors for heart issues, including family history of heart problems A doctor may then order tests to measure the speed and regularity of a person's heartbeat. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is one of the most common heart tests. It measures heart rhythms over time. Blood testing may also help rule out some causes, such as thyroid disease. Treatment A person with a bounding pulse does not usually require treatment. However, people may need treatment for an underlying medical condition if that is causing their symptoms. Treatment varies depending on the medical condition involved, but it may include medication, lifestyle changes, and ongoing medical monitoring. A doctor may recommend regular stress tests to test how the heart responds to physical stress. When anxiety causes changes in the pulse, people can try various ways to reduce their stress levels. These may include: using deep breathing exercises when anxiety arises learning ways to manage a panic attack practicing meditation or mindfulness Some people may also benefit from anti-anxiety medication and should speak to a doctor about the best options. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Prevention Regular exercise can reduce risk of bounding pulse
Regular exercise will help to keep the heart healthy. The best ways to prevent a bounding pulse depend on the cause. When anxiety causes these symptoms, people can prevent pulse changes by avoiding triggers or developing stress-management techniques. When chronic health conditions cause a bounding pulse, people should speak to their doctor about the best ways to control their symptoms. A number of strategies can prevent heart health issues if people are concerned about these or they have a risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, people can keep their heart healthy by using the following tips: maintaining a healthy body weight eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet exercising regularly managing chronic health conditions keeping anxiety and stress under control limiting foods linked to heart health issues, including sodium and red meat eating heart-friendly foods, such as non-fried fish, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables Outlook For most people, a bounding pulse is temporary and will resolve on its own. Anxiety is often the cause. If a person frequently experiences a pounding heartbeat, they should speak with their doctor to find the causes and triggers. Heart health issues are usually treatable, and treatment can be more effective when people catch the problems early. People should speak to a doctor about any heart rate changes that persist or cause worry.
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Full-fat dairy may actually benefit heart health

Popular belief has it — and even some governmental authorities on nutrition agree — that we should avoid full-fat dairy products due to their high content of saturated fats. But, a new study boldly challenges these claims.
illustration of dairy products
Full-fat dairy products may actually be good for cardiovascular health.

Whole-fat dairy does not raise cardiovascular risk. Conversely, some fats present in certain dairy products might even keep stroke and heart disease at bay.

This is the main takeaway of a recent study led by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, MA.

With their findings, Dr. Mozaffarian and team challenge not only popular opinions, but also the stance of governmental organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The two bodies advise people to avoid full-fat dairy due to its impact on cholesterol levels. The saturated fats found in whole-fat dairy products, warn the USDA, raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the "bad" kind of cholesterol.

In time, high LDL cholesterol may lead to cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease.

However, the new study turns the idea that full-fat dairy is bad for you on its head. The surprising findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Marcia Otto, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is the first and corresponding author of the paper.

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Dairy fat may prevent heart disease, stroke

To study the effect of dairy on mortality risk and cardiovascular health, Dr. Mozaffarian and team examined over 2,900 U.S. seniors, aged 65 and above.

The researchers measured the participants' blood plasma levels of three fatty acids contained by dairy products at the beginning of the study in 1992, 6 years later, and then 13 years later.

Associations with "total mortality, cause-specific mortality, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk" were examined.

During the 22-year follow-up period, 2,428 of the participants died. Of these deaths, 833 were due to heart disease.

However, none of the three fatty acids examined correlated with the risk of total mortality. In fact, high circulating levels of heptadecanoic fatty acid were associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease.

Also, adults with higher levels of fatty acids overall were 42 percent less likely to die from stroke, revealed the analysis.

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Dietary guidelines should be revised

According to the study's corresponding author, the findings suggest that current dietary guidelines need to be amended.

The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommend the consumption of "fat-free and low-fat (1 percent) dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages (commonly known as 'soymilk')."

However, Otto disagrees. "Consistent with previous findings," she says, "our results highlight the need to revisit current dietary guidance on whole fat dairy foods, which are rich sources of nutrients such as calcium and potassium."

"These are essential for health not only during childhood but throughout life, particularly also in later years when undernourishment and conditions like osteoporosis are more common," adds the researcher.

"[D]airy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase [the] risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition [...], the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke."

Marcia Otto

She adds, "Consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats," and she highlights the fact that "a growing body of evidence" suggests that dairy fat is actually good for you.

"It's [...] important to have robust studies, so people can make more balanced and informed choices based on scientific fact rather than hearsay," Otto concludes.

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Gut bacteria and heart health: Is there a link?

An innovative study finds a link between our heart health and the health of our gut, highlighting the importance of physical exercise for keeping both at optimal levels.
woman making heart sign in front of her belly
Exercise is key to maintaining a healthy gut.

If the latest medical research has taught us anything, it's that our gut bacteria hold the key to our health.

The trillions of micro-organisms that live in our gut seem to control every aspect of our well-being, from the size of our belly to the risk of chronic disease and even that of mental health conditions.

So, it's essential that we maintain a healthy gut. The bacteria we host inside us can keep us healthy and happy, but we must return the favor.

Keeping a diverse range of microbes ensures that we have more of the "friendly" bacteria that benefit our body. Having a healthful and varied diet is perhaps the most obvious way to do so, but new research adds a vital ingredient: a good workout.

Keeping our heart healthy and fit through physical exercise may also increase the number of beneficial gut bacteria, suggests the new study.

Ryan Durk, of the Department of Kinesiology at the San Francisco State University in California, is the first author of the new paper, which was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

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Studying gut and heart health

Durk and colleagues examined the cardiovascular fitness of 20 men and 17 women, using a treadmill test.

The researchers also determined the participants' body fat composition by asking them to step inside a so-called BOD POD — a chamber that can measure a person's fat mass and their lean mass, using air displacement plethysmography.

Participants were also asked to keep a food diary for 7 days and to provide the researchers with stool samples at the end of the study period.

Durk and team examined the bacterial composition of the stool samples, focusing on the ratio of a class of bacteria called Firmicutes to another class of bacteria called Bacteroides.

The Firmicutes-to-Bacteroides ratio is a standard measure of gut health, with studies linking an imbalance in this ratio to conditions such as obesity or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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Exercise is key for healthy gut bacteria

The study revealed that people with the highest cardiovascular fitness also had a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroides.

As the researchers explain, a higher number of Firmicutes has been linked with metabolites that stop harmful bacteria in the gut from migrating to the rest of the body.

"These metabolic byproducts help strengthen the intestinal lining and help prevent leaky gut syndrome," says Durk, adding that the findings further support the idea of "exercise as medicine."

"When we say that phrase, we think of it as meaning that exercise will help people stay healthier and live longer. But you don't think about your gut bacteria," says the first author.

"We now know that exercise is crucial for increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut."

Ryan Durk

In the future, the researchers hope that similar studies will replicate their findings, ultimately leading to personalized exercise programs that could be prescribed to improve gut health.

"We're not there yet," says Durk, "but this [study] helps create that foundation."

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What causes clammy skin?

Clammy skin usually refers to skin that is wet from sweating and does not usually indicate an underlying medical problem. However, sweating excessively or for no apparent reason, may be a sign of another health condition.

When the body is too hot, it sweats and uses the moisture it creates to cool the body down. Some people will also sweat when they are nervous. Both of these are entirely natural occurrences.

However, if a person frequently has clammy skin, they may wish to speak to a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Causes Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating on palm of hand.
Excessive sweating is characteristic of hyperhidrosis.

The most likely reason why a person has clammy skin is that they are too hot.

Sweating is part of the body's complex heat regulation system.

The skin stores most of the body's water and when heat activates the sweat glands, some of that moisture comes to the surface.

This moisture cools the body down but can make the skin feel wet.

Sometimes, this mechanism does not work correctly, and a person can be sweaty or have clammy skin when they are not hot.

Medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating and clammy skin include:

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that occurs even when the body does not need to be cooled down.

Many people with hyperhidrosis sweat from just one or two parts of the body, such as the palms, feet, under the arms, or on top of the head. These areas may drip with sweat, while the rest of the body stays dry.

Hyperhidrosis can affect everyday activities and reduce a person's quality of life. The skin in the affected areas can turn soft and white and can even peel off. It can also lead to infections, such as athlete's foot and jock itch.

Doctors can often diagnose hyperhidrosis in a person's childhood or adolescence.

Hot flashes

Some people may experience periods of sweating during perimenopause and menopause. This sweating usually occurs during a hot flash or at night.

Fluctuations in estrogen and other hormone levels typically cause hot flashes and night sweats.

Fever

An illness or infection can lead to a fever if a person's body temperature rises to 100.4°F (38 °C). Fevers often cause sweating.

A fever is part of the body's natural immune response and is not necessarily cause for alarm.

As the body fights off the infection, the fever will usually reduce. If a fever lasts more than 48 hours, a person should see a doctor.

Overactive thyroid

An overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, can cause excessive sweating. This is because the condition increases a person's metabolism, making them feel warm.

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

excitability and hyperactivity problems sleeping heat sensitivity itchiness excessive thirst diarrhea

Heart attack

In rare cases, a cold sweat or clammy skin is a symptom of a heart attack. Heart attacks require immediate medical attention.

Other major warning signs to look out for are:

chest pain or discomfort pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach shortness of breath nausea lightheadedness Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Treatment Botox injection in underarm to treat excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis
Botox injections may treat excessive sweating. If sweating or nervousness causes clammy skin, it does not require any medical treatment. If a doctor diagnoses a person with hyperhidrosis, they may recommend iontophoresis. Iontophoresis, commonly known as a no-sweat machine, works by temporarily shutting down the sweat glands. Iontophoresis is one option for people with hyperhidrosis of the hands or feet. Botox injections are another treatment option. Several prescription medicines can also provide short-term relief from hyperhidrosis. Women who experience hot flashes may decide to start hormone replacement therapy or another treatment. It is best to speak with a doctor about the possible side effects before starting any treatment. Fevers tend to resolve themselves as the body fights off the infection. A person can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease uncomfortable symptoms. Doctors may recommend a variety of treatments for hyperthyroidism, including medications and lifestyle changes to ease symptoms. Home remedies Antiperspirants can reduce sweating, and a person can use them on any part of the body, including the hands and feet. Applying antiperspirant to dry skin before going to bed can help with nighttime sweating. People who have sweaty feet can follow self-care tips to help avoid odors and skin infections, such as athlete's foot. These tips include: wearing sandals where possible wearing shoes made of natural materials rather than plastic avoiding wearing the same shoes 2 days in a row to allow them to dry completely changing socks daily and more frequently if they get wet Thank you for supporting Medical News Today When to see a doctor If sweating causes clammy skin, it is not usually a cause for concern and does not require medical attention. If a person is sweating excessively and for no apparent reason, however, there may be an underlying cause. Someone who has clammy skin along with other signs of a heart attack requires immediate emergency medical and should call 911 or their local emergency number. If someone is experiencing the symptoms of underlying conditions, such as hyperhidrosis or hyperthyroidism, they should speak to a doctor about getting a proper diagnosis. People who experience hot flashes during perimenopause that are interfering with everyday life can speak to a doctor about creating a personalized treatment plan. If a person has a fever, they should seek medical attention, especially if dehydration, dizziness, weakness, or confusion accompany the fever.
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How long does it take to recover from heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery is the most common type of heart surgery performed on adults. Doctors recommend heart bypass surgery when one or more of the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart muscles become partially blocked.

Heart bypass surgery is a complicated procedure that involves a significant amount of preparation and recovery time. Occasionally, someone must undergo emergency heart bypass surgery, but most of the time the operation is planned.

Heart bypass surgery is a relatively safe and effective procedure that reduces the risk of heart attack and death. The procedure might also ease symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain.

What is the procedure? surgeon making heart shape with hands
A heart bypass can lower the risk of a heart attack.

Doctors typically have a range of options at their disposal to fix the blockage. If left untreated, coronary artery disease can lead to heart attack and even death.

When possible, doctors may try to resolve the issue of blocked arteries with medication and less-invasive procedures, such as a stent.

If these options do not work or are not suitable for an individual, surgeons might decide to perform heart bypass surgery.

Heart bypass surgery is one of the most effective weapons against blocked arteries and the problems they cause.

The medical name for heart bypass surgery is coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).

According to the American Heart Association, CABG involves removing a blood vessel from the chest, arms, or legs and using it to create a detour or bypass around the blockage. This allows blood to reach the heart again.

Surgeons can address more than one artery in a single operation. A double bypass involves two repairs, a triple bypass involves three, and a quadruple bypass involves four. The quintuple bypass is the most intricate heart bypass surgery and includes all five of the major arteries feeding the heart.

Removing a blood vessel from another part of the body will not substantially affect blood flow in the area the vessel came from.

Types of heart bypass surgery Heart bypass surgery is typically an open-heart surgery, which means that the surgeon cuts the chest open to reach the heart. The surgeon can then perform the surgery "on-pump" or "off-pump." On-pump surgery involves using a heart-lung machine that circulates blood and breathes for the body. The machine allows doctors to stop the heart, which makes the operation easier. Off-pump surgery, also called "beating heart surgery," takes place while the heart is still beating, but does not use the heart-lung machine. Sometimes, a surgeon can perform heart bypass surgery without opening the chest. Risks and potential complications vary for each person. A doctor can help decide which treatment is the best option for each person. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What should people expect before the surgery? administering medication via iv tube
An IV enables medicines and fluids to be administered directly into the body. Before heart bypass surgery, people should: refrain from taking any drugs containing aspirin for 3 days before the surgery stop smoking immediately, as smoking creates mucus in the lungs that can interfere with recovery arrange for someone to stay with them after returning home avoid eating or drinking after midnight on the night before surgery follow any other instructions provided by the doctor or care team Some people might want to donate their own blood beforehand for use during the surgery. A person undergoing a planned heart bypass operation will have an opportunity to discuss the procedure with their doctor before the operation. The care team will explain the surgery, set up arrival times, and help complete paperwork. Many people may undergo tests before the surgery including an electrocardiogram (EKG), chest X-ray, and blood tests. Before the operation, nurses insert a needle (IV) into the person's arm. The IV will allow fluids and medicines to enter the body as needed. A member of the healthcare team might also shave the areas where a surgeon will make their incisions. Immediately before the surgery, the doctors provide medicine that causes a deep sleep until after the operation. Although times can vary, heart bypass surgery usually lasts between 3 and 6 hours. Success rate Heart bypass surgeries are serious but relatively safe. Surgeons perform hundreds of thousands of heart bypass operations each year and many of those who have the surgery get relief from their symptoms without needing long-term medication. The more severe the heart disease, the higher the risk of complications. However, the mortality rate is low, and according to one report, only 2–3 percent of people who undergo heart bypass surgery die as a result of the operation. Recovery time After waking up, a person will have a tube down their throat that helps them to breathe. It will feel strange and uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Usually, a doctor will remove the tube after 24 hours. On average, a person will remain in the hospital for about a week after surgery. It is normal to experience soreness and night sweats, and there is likely to be some fluid in the lungs, so people should expect a good bit of coughing. People usually start to eat and move around soon after the doctor has removed the breathing tube. Common post-surgery medications typically include drugs called platelet inhibitors, which help prevent blood clots. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today How will life change after the surgery? nurse talking to patient after surgery
Generally, a person will stay in the hospital for about a week after surgery. Complications are possible but unusual. Assuming there are no complications, most people can expect a better quality of life quite soon after surgery. Improvements include reduced chest pain, as well as other symptoms related to blocked coronary arteries. More importantly, successful heart bypass surgery typically means that a person is at a much lower risk of heart attack and death. After having heart bypass surgery, a person will most likely need to take aspirin every day for the rest of their life. Takeaway Heart disease continues to be a top health problem in the United States. There are many options for treating heart disease. For hundreds of thousands of people each year, heart bypass surgery is the best choice to address blocked arteries. Heart bypass surgery is safe and effective and can help people regain the quality of life they experienced before they developed the heart condition.
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What is lisinopril?

Important warnings

Angioedema (swelling): This drug can cause abrupt swelling of your face, arms, legs, lips, tongue, throat, and intestines. This can be fatal. Tell your doctor right away if you have swelling or abdominal pain. You'll be taken off of this drug and possibly given medication to reduce your swelling. Swelling can happen at any time while you're taking this drug. Your risk may be higher if you have a history of angioedema. Hypotension (low blood pressure): This drug can cause low blood pressure, especially during the first few days of taking it. Tell your doctor if you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or like you're going to faint. You may be more likely to have low blood pressure if you: aren't drinking enough fluids are sweating heavily have diarrhea or are vomiting have heart failure are on dialysis take diuretics Persistent cough: This drug may cause a persistent cough. This cough will go away once you stop taking the medication.

What is lisinopril?

Lisinopril oral tablet is a prescription drug that's available as the brand-name drugs Prinivil and Zestril. It's also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It's also used to improve your chance of survival after a heart attack.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug relaxes the blood vessels in your body. This reduces stress on your heart and lowers your blood pressure.

Lisinopril side effects

Lisinopril oral tablet does not cause drowsiness. However, it may cause low blood pressure. This can make you feel faint or dizzy. You shouldn't drive, use machinery, or do other activities that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you. Lisinopril can also have other side effects.

More common side effects

The most common side effects that occur with lisinopril include:

headache dizziness persistent cough low blood pressure chest pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they're more severe or don't go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction. Symptoms include: swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat trouble breathing trouble swallowing stomach (abdomen) pain with or without nausea or vomiting kidney problems. Symptoms include: tiredness swelling, especially of your hands, feet, or ankles shortness of breath weight gain liver failure. Symptoms include: yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes elevated liver enzymes stomach pain nausea and vomiting high potassium levels. This drug can cause dangerously high potassium. This can lead to arrhythmia (heart rate or rhythm problems). Your risk may be higher if you have kidney disease or diabetes, or if you're taking other drugs that increase potassium levels.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Lisinopril may interact with other medications

Lisinopril oral tablet can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or cause the drugs that you take to not work as well.

To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you're taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with lisinopril are listed below.

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Blood pressure drugs

Taking certain blood pressure drugs with lisinopril increases your risk for low blood pressure, high blood potassium, and kidney problems including kidney failure. These drugs include:

angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB). Examples include: candesartan (Atacand, Atacand HCT) eprosartan (Teveten) irbesartan (Avapro, Avalide) losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar) olmesartan (Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, Azor) telmisartan (Micardis, Micardis HCT, Twynsta) valsartan (Diovan, Diovan HCT, Exforge, Exforge HCT) azilsartan (Edarbi, Edarbyclor) angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Examples include: benazepril (Lotensin, Lotrel, Lotensin HCT) captopril enalapril (Vasotec, Epaned) fosinopril (Monopril) lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, Prinzide, Zestoretic) moexipril (Uniretic) perindopril (Aceon) quinapril (Accupril, Accuretic) ramipril (Altace) trandolapril (Mavik, Tarka) renin inhibitors: aliskiren (Tekturna, Tekturna HCT)

Diabetes drugs

Taking diabetes drugs with lisinopril can lower your blood sugar level too much. These drugs include:

insulins oral diabetes drugs

Water pills (diuretics)

Taking water pills with lisinopril can make your blood pressure too low. These drugs include:

hydrochlorothiazide chlorthalidone furosemide bumetanide

Potassium supplements and potassium-sparing diuretics

Taking potassium supplements or potassium-sparing diuretics with lisinopril can increase potassium in your body. These drugs include:

spironolactone amiloride triamterene

Mood stabilizer drugs

Lisinopril can increase the effects of lithium. This means that you may have more side effects.

Pain drugs

Taking certain pain drugs with lisinopril can decrease your kidney function. These drugs include:

Neprilysin inhibitors

These drugs are used to treat heart failure. They should not be used with enalapril. Do not use enalapril within 36 hours of switching to or from a neprilysin inhibitor. Using these drugs together raises your risk of sudden swelling of your face, arms, legs, lips, tongue, throat, and intestines (angioedema).

An example of this drug class includes:

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Lisinopril warnings

Allergy warning

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

trouble breathing swelling of your throat or tongue hives

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms.

Don't take this drug again if you've ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase the blood pressure-lowering effects of lisinopril. This may cause you to feel dizzy or faint. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with kidney disease: If you have kidney disease or are on dialysis, you have a higher risk of getting certain serious side effects from this drug. Your doctor will monitor your kidney function and adjust your medication as needed. Your doctor should start you on a lower dose of this drug.

For people with diabetes: This drug can affect your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may need to change your dose of your diabetes medicines. Your doctor will tell you how often to test your blood sugar levels.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: This drug is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm that may be done to the fetus. This drug should be only used if the potential risk to the fetus is acceptable given the drug's potential benefit.

For women who are breastfeeding: It isn't known if this drug passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors: Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you're a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

For children: This medicine hasn't been studied and shouldn't be used in children younger than 6 years.

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How to take lisinopril

This dosage information is for lisinopril oral tablet. All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your doctor will tell you what dosage is right for you. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

your age the condition being treated how severe your condition is other medical conditions you have how you react to the first dose

Forms and strengths

Generic: lisinopril

Form: Oral tablet Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg

Brand: Prinivil

Form: Oral tablet Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg

Brand: Zestril

Form: Oral tablet Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg

Dosage for hypertension

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

starting dose: 10 mg taken by mouth once per day usual dose: 20–40 mg taken once per day maximum dose: 80 mg taken once per day

Child dosage (ages 6–17 years)

starting dose: 0.07 mg/kg of body weight taken by mouth once per day dose adjustments will be based on your blood pressure response. maximum dose: 0.61 mg/kg, up to 40 mg, once per day

Child dosage (ages 0–5 years)

This medicine hasn't been studied and shouldn't be used in children younger than 6 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you're a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for heart failure

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

starting dose: 5 mg taken by mouth once per day maximum dose: 40 mg taken once per day

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn't been studied and shouldn't be used in children younger than 18 years for heart failure.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you're a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

starting dose: 5 mg taken by mouth within the first 24 hours of when symptoms of heart attack start. Your doctor will give you another 5 mg after another 24 hours. usual dose: 10 mg given 48 hours after heart attack. Then 10 mg taken once per day for at least 6 weeks.

Child dosage (ages 6–17 years)

This medicine hasn't been studied and shouldn't be used in children younger than 18 years for improving survival after a heart attack.

Child dosage (ages 0–5 years)

This medicine hasn't been studied and shouldn't be used in children younger than 6 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you're a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Heart failure: If you have low blood sodium levels, your starting dose may be 2.5 mg taken once per day. Improving survival after a heart attack: If you have low blood pressure, your starting dose may be 2.5 mg for the first 3 days after having a heart attack.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Lisinopril oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. This drug comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all: If you don't take it at all, your blood pressure will stay high. This will raise your risk for a heart attack and stroke.

If you stop taking it suddenly: If you stop taking this drug suddenly, your blood pressure may spike. This can cause anxiety, sweating, and a fast heart rate.

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If you don't take it on schedule: You may not feel any different, but your blood pressure may not be controlled. This can put you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

What to do if you miss a dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's just a few hours until the time for your next dose, then wait and only take one dose at that time. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects.

If you take too much: If you take too much of this drug, you may have a drop in blood pressure. This may cause you to faint. If you think you've taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local Poison Control Center, or go to the nearest emergency room.

How to tell this drug is working: Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and other symptoms of your condition to tell if this drug is working for you. You also may be able to tell this drug is working if you check your blood pressure and it's lower.

Important considerations for taking this drug

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes lisinopril oral tablet for you.

General

This drug should be taken around the same time every day.You can crush or cut the tablet.

Storage

Keep it from 59°F (20°C) to 86°F (25°C). Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag. Don't worry about airport x-ray machines. They can't hurt your medication. You may need to show airport security staff the pharmacy prescription label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you. Don't leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Self-management

Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure at home. To do this, you'll need to purchase a home blood pressure monitor. These are available at most pharmacies. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this diary with you to your doctor appointments.

Clinical monitoring

Before starting and during your treatment with this drug, your doctor may check the following to tell if this drug is working or is safe for you:

blood pressure liver function kidney function blood potassium

Hidden costs

You may need to buy a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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New protein 'regenerates' the heart after an attack

A new study brings us one step closer to "the 'holy grail' of heart research:" heart regeneration. When injected in rodents, a new protein triggers a process that helps the heart to recover following an attack.
woman making heart sign with her hands on pick background
The results of new research may soon help the heart to regenerate itself after a heart attack.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

Almost 800,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack every year, with 1 in 5 people not even being aware that they had one.

During a heart attack, or a myocardial infarction, the oxygen-carrying blood flow does not reach the heart.

Because of the oxygen deprivation, cells begin to die — thereby damaging a person's heart muscle.

This causes the immune system to dispatch immune cells to the "injury site" in an attempt to get rid of the dead cells. However, these immune cells also cause inflammation, which leads to cardiac fibrosis.

In the long-term, the damage caused by the immune cells is greater than their help. The scar tissue in cardiac fibrosis does not contract, impairing the heart's ability to pump blood. Ultimately, this could lead to heart failure.

So far, medical scientists have not managed to find a solution to this problem. But now, a team led by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom may have found a protein that, when injected after a heart attack, reduces heart muscle damage and helps the heart to regain its pumping function.

The new study was led by Paul Riley, a professor of regenerative medicine at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Centre of Regenerative Medicine at Oxford University.

The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Protein helps to 'dismiss' immune cells

Prof. Riley and colleagues designed a mouse model of a heart attack. Then, they injected a protein called VEGF-C in some of the rodents and left another group untreated.

In the treated group, the researchers were able to see that the protein caused the growth of a network of lymphatic vessels.

They noticed that these lymphatic vessels helped to clear the immune cells after having helped with heart repair and cell debris clearing.

So, the immune cells were at the injury site just long enough to help recovery, but not too long so as to cause more damage.

This treatment-induced process allowed the heart to recover its pumping ability almost entirely. And by comparison, the untreated rodents lost almost half of their heart function.

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Closer to the 'holy grail' of heart research

Prof. Riley explains the mechanism behind the findings, saying, "We now know that it's not enough to just get healing immune cells into the heart."

"We need to boost the routes that remove these immune cells once they've done their job, so that they don't start causing more harm," he adds, "and ultimately contribute to the long-term damage that leads to heart failure."

"This research has allowed us to start a drug discovery program to develop drugs to promote the growth of lymphatic vessels and quickly clear immune cells. We hope to get a treatment we could give to people after a heart attack within 5–10 years."

Prof. Paul Riley

Prof. Jeremy Pearson — an associate medical director at the BHF — also chimes in, saying, "Heart regeneration is the 'holy grail' of heart research. [The] findings bring us one step closer to understanding how to turn this into a reality."

"Exploiting the lymphatic system," continues Prof. Pearson, "opens up new opportunities to find treatments that will limit the damage caused by a heart attack and promote regeneration."

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Multivitamins 'of no benefit' to heart health

A comprehensive analysis of published studies and clinical trials has found no benefit to cardiovascular health from multivitamin and mineral supplement use.
heart drawing with some pills
Multivitamins do not benefit heart health, after all.

The study authors hope that this will settle the controversial debate about whether the use of multivitamin and mineral supplements is able to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

A paper on their findings is now published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"Our study," write the authors, "supports current professional guidelines that recommend against the routine use of [multivitamins and mineral] supplements for the purpose of [cardiovascular disease] prevention in the general population."

They suggest that people focus instead on proven ways to promote heart health.

"These include a heart-healthy diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, controlling blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and when needed, medical treatment," explains lead study author Joonseok Kim, an assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Multibillion dollar industry

Since use of multivitamins and mineral supplements in the United States took off in the 1940s, it has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. Estimates suggest that these are now taken by "more than one third" of the U.S. population.

The team attributes the popularity of multivitamins and mineral supplements to a widespread belief that they "may help maintain and promote health by preventing various diseases, including cardiovascular disease."

Many studies have sought evidence to support this idea. The study authors cite several that have followed large groups over long periods as well as randomized controlled trials.

But the results have been inconclusive. Some of the studies that followed people over time have suggested that taking multivitamins and mineral supplements "may be beneficial for certain cardiovascular outcomes," but most others show "no significant cardiovascular benefit."

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Pooled analysis of large dataset

In an effort to settle the controversy, Prof. Kim and colleagues pooled and analyzed data from 18 "clinical trials and prospective cohort studies in the general population."

Pooling the results of the studies gave the team a dataset that was equivalent to following more than 2 million participants for an average of 12 years.

The analysis examined associations between multivitamin and mineral supplement use and several "cardiovascular disease outcomes," including stroke and coronary heart disease.

Overall, it found no association between multivitamin and mineral supplement use and death from cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Neither did it find a link to "stroke incidence."

Use of the supplements "did seem to be associated with a lower risk of [coronary heart disease] incidence," but this was found to be non-significant when tested only with data from the randomized controlled trials.

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'Decrease the hype'

In the U.S., dietary supplements are not regulated to the same extent as drugs. The law does not require them, for instance, to pass clinical trials of safety and effectiveness before they can be offered to consumers.

In addition, dietary supplement manufacturers and sellers are not obliged to back up "most claims" that they make on product labels.

"It has been exceptionally difficult," Prof. Kim explains, "to convince people, including nutritional researchers, to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent cardiovascular diseases."

"I hope our study findings help decrease the hype around multivitamin and mineral supplements and encourage people to use proven methods to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases — such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, and avoiding tobacco."

Prof. Joonseok Kim

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Gene editing shown to lower cholesterol in monkeys

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, posits that people who are at a high risk of heart disease due to their excessive levels of cholesterol may soon have a safe and effective alternative treatment in gene editing.
gene editing concept
Gene editing may be the future of cholesterol-lowering treatment.

Hypercholesterolemia, which is a cardiovascular condition, puts people at an extremely high risk of coronary artery disease due to the high buildup of cholesterol in their blood.

Most people with hypercholesterolemia take statins to treat their condition, but for others, these drugs are not enough to lower their cholesterol.

According to some research, 1 in 7 people with inherited hypercholesterolemia might have to resort to another type of drug called PCSK9 inhibitors.

However, treatment with PCSK9 inhibitors may often be inconvenient because it requires repeated injections, and some patients simply do not tolerate the drug.

For these people, gene editing may be the solution, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The new study — led by first author Lili Wang, Ph.D., a research associate professor of medicine at the university — shows that genome editing can lower cholesterol levels in rhesus monkeys.

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In a healthy body, the PCSK9 gene breaks down low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors that are responsible for removing excess cholesterol from our blood.

PCSK9 inhibitors help to lower levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. But for people who do not tolerate these drugs, Wang and colleagues have found a workaround.

"Most often," explains Wang, "these patients are treated with repeated injections of an antibody to PCSK9 [...]."

"But, our study shows that with successful genome editing, patients who cannot tolerate inhibitor drugs might no longer need this type of repeat treatment."

Lili Wang

The researchers designed an enzyme that targets and deactivates the PCSK9 gene. They used an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector to transport this enzyme into the monkeys' livers. The liver carries most of the responsibility for removing excessive cholesterol.

Animals that received the treatment were found to have lower PCSK9 and LDL cholesterol levels.

Specifically, the middle and high doses of the treatment decreased PCSK9 levels by 45–84 percent and cholesterol levels by 30–60 percent.

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These AAV vector doses were previously shown to be safe and effective in human clinical trials of gene replacement therapy for treating hemophilia.

"Our initial work with several delivery and editing approaches," notes senior study author Dr. James M. Wilson, who is the director of the Gene Therapy Program at the university, "produced the most impressive data in nonhuman primates when we paired AAV for delivery with the engineered [enzyme] for editing."

"We leveraged," he goes on to say, "our 30-plus years of experience in gene therapy to progress the translational science of in vivo genome editing, and in doing so, reinforced the importance of early studies in nonhuman primates to assess safety and efficacy."

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Blood thinning foods, drinks, and supplements

Natural blood thinners are substances that reduce the blood's ability to form clots. Blood clotting is a necessary process, but sometimes the blood can clot too much, leading to complications that can be potentially dangerous.

People who have certain medical conditions, such as congenital heart defects, may require blood-thinning medications to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

It is essential to speak with a doctor before trying these remedies, as they may not work as well as medication and may interfere with some prescription drugs.

Best natural blood thinners Some foods and other substances that may act as natural blood thinners and help reduce the risk of clots include the following list: 1. Turmeric Natural blood thinners tumeric
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning properties.

People have long used the golden spice known as turmeric for culinary and medicinal purposes. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning or anticoagulant properties.

A study published in 2012 suggests that taking a daily dose of turmeric spice may help people maintain the anticoagulant status of their blood.

People can add turmeric to curries and soups or mix it with hot water to make a comforting tea.

2. Ginger

Ginger is another anti-inflammatory spice that may stop blood clotting. It contains a natural acid called salicylate. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a synthetic derivative of salicylate and a potent blood thinner.

To get the anticoagulant effects of natural salicylates, people may want to use fresh or dried ginger regularly in baking, cooking, and juices.

It is unlikely, however, that natural salicylates are as effective as blood-thinning medications.

A 2015 analysis of 10 studies also suggests that ginger's effects on blood clotting are unclear. It indicates that more research is needed to understand the potential blood-thinning properties of ginger fully.

3. Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are also high in salicylates and can act as powerful blood-thinning agents. Cayenne pepper is quite spicy, however, and many people can only tolerate it in small amounts.

Capsules containing cayenne pepper are available in health food stores and online. Other benefits of this spice include lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and reducing pain sensations.

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4. Vitamin E

Natural blood thinners almonds
Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, which may reduce blood clotting.

Vitamin E reduces blood clotting in a few different ways. These effects depend on the amount of vitamin E that a person takes. The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements suggest that people who are taking blood-thinning drugs should avoid taking large doses of vitamin E.

It is unclear how much vitamin E thins the blood, although it is likely that people would need to take more than 400 International Units (IU) per day. Taking high doses of vitamin E supplements, for example, above 1,500 IU daily, on a long-term basis, may have negative effects.

It may be safer to get vitamin E from foods rather than supplements. Foods that contain vitamin E include:

almonds safflower oil sunflower oil sunflower seeds wheat germ oil whole grains

5. Garlic

Besides its often desirable taste in food and cooking, garlic has natural antibiotic and antimicrobial properties.

Some research reports that odorless garlic powder demonstrates antithrombotic activities. An antithrombotic agent is a substance that reduces blood clot formation.

Another review of several studies on garlic suggests that it may thin the blood, although the effects are small and short-lived.

The American Academy of Family Physicians nonetheless recommend that people stop taking high doses of garlic 7 to 10 days before a planned surgery because of its antithrombotic properties.

6. Cassia cinnamon

Cinnamon contains coumarin, a powerful blood-thinning agent. Warfarin, the most commonly used blood-thinning drug, is derived from coumarin.

Chinese cassia cinnamon contains a much higher coumarin content than Ceylon cinnamon. Taking coumarin-rich cinnamon on a long-term basis can, however, cause liver damage.

It may be best to stick to small amounts of cinnamon in the diet in addition to using other natural blood thinners.

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7. Ginkgo biloba

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree for thousands of years. Ginkgo is also a very popular herbal supplement in the United States and Europe. People take it for blood disorders, memory problems, and low energy.

Gingko thins the blood and has fibrinolytic effects, according to some sources. This means it may dissolve blood clots. One study reports that ginkgo extract has similar effects to streptokinase, a drug used to treat blood clots.

The research was, however, done in a laboratory, and not carried out on people or animals. Further research is necessary to see if gingko has the same effects in the human body.

8. Grape seed extract

There is some evidence to suggest that grape seed extract may have potential benefits for several heart and blood conditions. It contains antioxidants that may protect the blood vessels and prevent high blood pressure.

Grape seed extract may also act as a natural blood thinner. Because of these effects, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggest that people with blood disorders, those taking blood-thinning medications, and people about to have an operation should not take grape seed extract.

9. Dong quai

Natural blood thinners dong quai
Dong quai is a traditional Chinese herb that increases the length of time it takes blood to clot.

Dong quai, also known as female ginseng, is another traditional Chinese herb that may reduce blood clotting.

Studies on animals report that dong quai significantly increases the length of time it takes blood to clot (prothrombin time).

This effect may result from dong quai's coumarin content, the same substance that makes cinnamon such a potent anticoagulant.

Dong quai is taken orally, and can be consumed as part of a herbal tea or soup.

10. Feverfew

Feverfew is a medicinal herb that comes from the same family as daisies or the Asteraceae family. People take feverfew for migraines, some digestive disorders, and fever.

Feverfew may also act as a blood thinner by inhibiting the activity of platelets and preventing blood clotting. Feverfew is available in capsule or liquid form.

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11. Bromelain

Bromelain is an enzyme that people extract from pineapples. It may be an effective remedy for cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

Research suggests that bromelain can thin the blood, break down blood clots, and reduce clot formation. The enzyme also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Bromelain is available in supplement form from health stores and drug stores.

Takeaway Many natural substances may reduce clotting to some degree. But natural remedies are unlikely to be as effective as blood-thinning drugs and people at risk of blood clots should not use them instead of prescription medications. Government authorities do not monitor herbs and supplements as closely as food and drugs. People should research the different brands carefully before buying to ensure they are known for quality and purity. People taking prescription blood thinners should not use natural remedies without talking to their doctor first. Even though they are natural, some substances and foods may thin the blood too much, especially when taken in conjunction with medications. This can increase the risk of bleeding. While people can usually consume foods with potential blood-thinning properties safely in reasonable amounts, it is essential to speak to a doctor before trying herbal remedies, such as dong quai and grape seed extract.
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New potential risk factor for heart failure

A body measure that can be taken in a painless and noninvasive way as easily as stepping onto scales might predict a person's risk of future heart failure.
senior woman holding chest
Heart failure affects millions of people around the world.

The measure is called leg bioimpedance. Body composition machines use bioimpedance to calculate body fat by measuring how easily weak electrical currents can pass through tissue.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California proposed the measure as a new risk factor for heart failure after analyzing data on over half a million United Kingdom residents aged 49–69.

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, they report how they found that lower leg bioimpedance was tied to a higher risk of heart failure.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart continues beating but fails to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the needs of organs in the body.

In the United States, the condition affects around 5.7 million adults and has an estimated annual cost of $30.7 billion.

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Predicting heart failure

Should the new finding be confirmed by analyzing data from a different population, it could lead to earlier diagnosis and potentially even prevention of heart failure.

The Stanford team also developed a formula that accurately predicts a person's risk of developing heart failure in the next 8 years. It brings together leg bioimpedance, age, sex, and whether or not the individual has a history of heart attack.

Senior study author Erik Ingelsson, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, says that he would like to see manufacturers of body composition analyzers add the formula to their calculations.

"The ideal scenario," he explains, "would really be that you stand on the scale, and in addition to getting your body fat percentage, you also get your risk for heart failure within the next 8 years."

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'Easily measurable' risk factor

For the new study, he and his colleagues sifted through more than 3,500 factors relating to health, lifestyle, and disease that have been collected on each person enrolled in the UK Biobank project.

They used an approach called "machine learning" to search for risk factors tied to heart failure. This revealed some expected results, such as having or having had diabetes, having had a heart attack, or having chronic heart disease.

Leg impedance was high on the list of unexpected results. Prof. Ingelsson says that one of the reasons they "homed in" on it is that it "is easily measurable."

Measures of leg impedance were taken as part of body composition measurement. People were invited to stand on equipment that resembles "a standard scale but with handlebars."

The machine sends a weak electrical current through electrodes under the feet and measures the extent to which tissue in the legs resists or impedes the current. The more water and fluid in the tissue, the more easily the electricity passes through it and the lower the impedance.

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An early indicator of fluid buildup

Prof. Ingelsson suggests that people with low leg impedance in their study may have been starting to build up fluid in the legs. Fluid buildup in the legs happens often in heart failure.

He and his colleagues wondered if they may have come across a way of identifying water retention that is present but not high enough to be spotted before shortness of breath, fatigue, and other more obvious signs of heart failure.

This point was taken up by Barry Borlaug, a cardiologist and medical professor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, who was not involved with the study.

He explains that, subject to further research, he can see how leg impedance might be used as a predictor of heart failure — especially in those who are less physically active.

"A number of people might have the abnormalities in their hearts and lungs that cause symptomatic heart failure, but they don't experience these symptoms because they are so sedentary."

Prof. Barry Borlaug

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How to stop heart palpitations during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body's blood volume increases. The heart needs to pump faster to circulate the extra blood, and this can lead to a faster resting heart rate. Sometimes, the extra exertion on the heart can lead to palpitations.

A heart palpitation may feel as though the heart is:

skipping beats racing flopping in the chest

Heart palpitations are usually harmless. However, in some cases, they can indicate a problem in the heart or elsewhere in the body.

What are the symptoms? Heart palpitations during pregnancy
Heart palpitations can cause a person to experience dizziness, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat.

Heart palpitations can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Pregnant women may experience one or any combination of the following:

dizziness or lightheadedness a feeling of uneasiness a feeling that the heart is pounding a rapid heartbeat sweating a fluttering or flopping feeling in the chest a sensation of the heart skipping beats Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Causes A variety of factors can cause heart palpitations during pregnancy. Most are not serious. In some cases, however, the underlying cause of the palpitations requires medical treatment. Some harmless causes of heart palpitations during pregnancy include: the heart reacting to the increase in blood volume stress and anxiety reactions to certain food or drinks, especially those that contain caffeine reactions to cold or allergy medications More serious causes include: Pregnant women and healthcare providers may find it difficult to distinguish the cause of palpitations. Many symptoms of heart problems occur during a normal pregnancy, making it hard to know whether an underlying condition is causing the symptoms. Diagnosis Caffeine can cause heart palpitations during pregnancy
Drinking caffeinated drinks while pregnant can cause heart palpitations. Only a doctor can correctly diagnose the cause of heart palpitations. The doctor will usually begin by asking about symptoms and medical history. If a woman has any of the following, it is important to tell the doctor: a history of heart palpitations a history of heart disease a history of other problems that affect the heart a family history of heart disease The doctor will usually then perform an exam and listen for abnormalities of the heartbeat. They will often perform additional tests to pinpoint the underlying cause of the palpitations. The doctor may use any of the following to make a diagnosis: blood tests to look for imbalances and check the functioning of the thyroid an electrocardiogram to measure the heart's electrical activity a Holter monitor test, which involves wearing a device that measures the heart's rhythms for an extended period Thank you for supporting Medical News Today When to see a doctor A woman attends several scheduled visits during pregnancy. The frequency of these visits will increase as the due date approaches, or if the doctor suspects that there are complications. If heart palpitations occur more frequently between visits, become more intense, or last for increasingly long periods, a woman should contact the doctor. Seek emergency medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur with heart palpitations: a bloody cough an irregular pulse labored breathing when not exerting effort trouble breathing pain in the chest a rapid heart rate How to stop heart palpitations Heart palpitations during pregnancy may require medical attention
Seek medical attention if heart palpitations occur regularly during pregnancy. Heart palpitations do not necessarily require treatment. When symptoms are mild and do not result from an underlying condition, a doctor will usually not recommend treatment, and a woman can expect the palpitations to end with the pregnancy. If symptoms are severe, a doctor may prescribe medication to regulate the heartbeat. The doctor will discuss the risks to the woman and fetus before prescribing medication. The risks are higher during the first trimester, and a doctor is unlikely to prescribe medication then. If a woman has an arrhythmia, a doctor can use a timed electrical current to return the heart to its normal rhythm. This procedure, called cardioversion, is considered safe during pregnancy. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway Many pregnant women experience heart palpitations. They may be disconcerting, but most heart palpitations are harmless. However, they can result from underlying problems that require medical treatment. Any pregnant woman who experiences heart palpitations should report her symptoms to her doctor for further evaluation because of this. Heart palpitations during pregnancy often do not require treatment. For those who need treatment, many safe options are available.
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Exercise, the 'best antidepressant,' also prevents heart disease

Depression is a risk factor for heart disease. New research now explores the link between these two conditions, finding that for many who have depression, exercise is the best treatment that can keep both the heart and the mind healthy.
people of all ages stretching
The earlier in life you start exercising, the better your chances of staving off both depression and heart disease.

Depression raises the risk of heart disease in people who haven't had a history of cardiovascular problems.

For those who have already been diagnosed with heart disease, depression raises their mortality risk.

In fact, some studies have revealed that people with depression are at high risk of arrhythmia.

Others, meanwhile, have pointed out that people who develop depression after being diagnosed with heart disease are twice as likely to die from it.

So, what can be done to prevent this bleak scenario? The solution might lie in exercising more, say researchers, as studies have continuously pointed out that in some cases, working out can be as effective as antidepressant medication.

But, when the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that characterize depression seep into every aspect of your life, it may seem impossible to find the motivation to exercise.

A new study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, shows the many ways in which depression negatively affects health and highlights the benefits of exercise for relieving depression and keeping the heart healthy.

Also, study co-author Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, the director of the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, lays out some useful tips for overcoming the problem of finding the drive to exercise when you're depressed.

Dr. Benjamin Willis, the director of Epidemiology at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, is the first author of the paper.

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Exercise halves heart disease mortality risk

Dr. Willis and colleagues examined data on almost 18,000 participants, whose cardiorespiratory health was measured when they were 50 years old, on average.

Using administrative data from participants' Medicare files, the researchers analyzed correlations between their cardiorespiratory fitness at the age of 50 and the prevalence of depression and heart disease in later life.

Overall, they revealed that participants with high fitness levels at midlife had a 56 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease after receiving a diagnosis of depression.

The scientists also found correlations with other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease.

Such illnesses, the authors point out, can affect the efficacy of antidepressants. For these people, exercise may be the best treatment for depression.

"There is enough evidence to show that the effect of low fitness on depression and heart disease is real," Dr. Trivedi says. "But further study is needed to establish the mechanism by which this effect happens."

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Regular exercise difficult, but it can be done

Dr. Trivedi cites studies that showed that people with depression can frequently do three quarters of the amount of physical activity that they're recommended.

"Maintaining a healthy dose of exercise is difficult, but it can be done," he says. "It just requires more effort and addressing unique barriers to regular exercise."

So, what are some of the ways in which one can address such barriers?

Try dedicating the same amount of time to working out each day, at the same time. Try not to get discouraged if you miss a few days. Instead, just resume exercise as soon as you're able to. Track your progress. Keep the workout activities varied and fun by trying something new every day. You can also charge a friend with the task of keeping you accountable if you don't exercise.

"The earlier you maintain fitness, the better chance of preventing depression, which in the long run will help lower the risk of heart disease," urges Dr. Trivedi.

"There is value to not starting a medication if it's not needed [...] Being active and getting psychotherapy are sometimes the best prescription, especially in younger patients who don't have severe depression."

Dr. Madhukar Trivedi

Dr. Willis also chimes in here, saying, "These new insights demonstrate the ongoing importance of fitness throughout the lifespan."

"Now we know that the long-term benefits, and the connection between mind-body wellness, are more significant than we thought. We hope our study will highlight the role of fitness and physical activity in early prevention efforts by physicians in promoting healthy aging."

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Fifteen good foods for high blood pressure

Changing the diet can significantly reduce high blood pressure. Research has shown that certain foods can lower blood pressure, both right away and in the long term.

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults in the United States.

Medications, dietary changes, and other lifestyle modifications can reduce high blood pressure while lowering the risk of associated conditions. Having high blood pressure increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

In this article, we discuss foods that can help to reduce high blood pressure and provide the scientific evidence.

Fifteen foods that help to lower blood pressure Many researchers have found that certain foods can lower high blood pressure. We look at which foods work and how to incorporate them into a healthful diet. 1. Berries berries are good food for high blood pressure
Blueberries and strawberries contain anthocyanins, which can help reduce a person's blood pressure.

Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid.

Researchers conducted a large study with more than 34,000 people with hypertension.

They found that those with the highest intake of anthocyanins — mainly from blueberries and strawberries — had an 8 percent reduction in the risk of high blood pressure, compared to those with a low anthocyanin intake.

Enjoy berries as a snack or sweet treat after meals, or add them to smoothies and oatmeal.

2. Bananas

Bananas contain plenty of potassium, a mineral that plays a vital role in managing hypertension.

According to the American Heart Association, potassium reduces the effects of sodium and alleviates tension in the walls of the blood vessels.

Adults should aim to consume 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium daily. Other potassium-rich foods include:

avocado cantaloupe and honeydew melon halibut mushrooms sweet potatoes tomatoes tuna beans

People with kidney disease should speak to their doctors about potassium, as too much can be harmful.

3. Beets

Drinking beet juice can reduce blood pressure in the short and long terms.

In 2015, researchers reported that drinking red beet juice led to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension who drank 250 milliliters, about 1 cup, of the juice every day for 4 weeks. The researchers noticed some positive effects within 24 hours.

In this study, those who drank 1 cup of the beet juice every day had an average drop in blood pressure of around 8/4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). For many, this change brought their blood pressure within the normal range. On average, a single blood pressure medication reduces levels by 9/5 mm Hg.

The researchers suggested that beet's high levels of inorganic nitrate caused the reduction in blood pressure.

It may help to drink a glass of beet juice each day, add beets to salads, or prepare the vegetables as a healthful side dish.

4. Dark chocolate

This sweet treat may lower blood pressure. A review of 15 trials suggests that cocoa-rich chocolate reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension or prehypertension.

Choose high-quality chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa, and consume a single square, or a piece measuring about 1 ounce, each day.

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5. Kiwis

A daily serving of kiwi can reduce blood pressure in people with mildly elevated levels, according to results of one study.

The researchers compared the effects of apples and kiwis on people with slightly high blood pressure.

They found that eating three kiwis a day for 8 weeks resulted in a more significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared with eating one apple a day for the same period. The authors suspect that the bioactive substances in kiwis caused the reduction.

Kiwis are also rich in vitamin C, which may significantly improve blood pressure readings in people who consumed around 500 mg of the vitamin every day for about 8 weeks.

Kiwis are also easy to add to lunches or smoothies.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which may help to manage high blood pressure.

Citrulline helps the body to produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels and encourages flexibility in arteries. These effects aid the flow of blood, which can lower high blood pressure.

In one study, adults with obesity and prehypertension or mild hypertension who took watermelon extract showed reduced blood pressure in the ankles and brachial arteries. The brachial artery is the main artery in the upper arm.

Researchers have also found that animals given a diet rich in watermelon had better heart health. In one study, mice who drank a solution containing watermelon juice had 50 percent less plaque in their arteries than the control group.

The mice who drank the solution also had 50 percent less low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which many describe as bad cholesterol, and they showed 30 percent less weight gain than the control animals.

To boost watermelon intake, add the fruit to salads and smoothies, or enjoy it in a chilled watermelon soup.

7. Oats

Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan may also lower blood pressure, according to some research.

A review of 28 trials concluded that higher consumption of beta-glucan fiber may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Barley also contains this fiber.

Start the day off with a bowl of oatmeal, or use rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs to give texture to meat or vegetarian burger patties.

8. Leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates, which help to manage blood pressure. Some research suggests that eating 1–2 servings of nitrate-rich vegetables every day can reduce hypertension for up to 24 hours.

Examples of leafy greens include:

cabbage collard greens fennel kale lettuce mustard greens spinach Swiss chard

To consume a daily dose of green vegetables, stir spinach into curries and stews, sauté Swiss chard with garlic for a tasty side dish, or bake a batch of kale chips.

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9. Garlic

garlic is a good food source for high blood pressure
Eating garlic can increase a person's nitric oxide levels.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and antifungal food. Its main active ingredient, allicin, is often responsible for associated health benefits.

Some research suggests that garlic increases the body's production of nitric oxide, which helps the smooth muscles to relax and the blood vessels to dilate. These changes can reduce hypertension.

One study reported that garlic extract reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive people.

Garlic can enhance the flavor of many savory meals, including stir-fries, soups, and omelets. Using garlic instead of salt can further promote the health of the heart.

10. Fermented foods

Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that play an important role in maintaining gut health. Eating probiotics can have a modest effect on high blood pressure, according to a review of nine studies.

The researchers reported more enhanced effects when study participants consumed:

multiple species of probiotic bacteria probiotics regularly for more than 8 weeks at least 100 billion colony-forming units a day

Fermented foods to add to the diet include:

natural yogurt kimchi kombucha apple cider vinegar miso tempeh

Some people prefer to take concentrated probiotic supplements every day.

11. Lentils and other pulses

Lentils are a staple of many diets around the world, as they are an excellent source of vegetarian protein and fiber.

In 2014, researchers who studied the effects of a diet rich in pulses on rats reported decreased levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. A total of 30 percent of the rats' diet comprised pulses, including beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.

Lentils are very versatile. Many people use them as a vegetarian alternative to minced beef or to add bulk to salads, stews, and soups.

12. Natural yogurt

The America Heart Association has reported that yogurt may reduce the risk of high blood pressure in women.

The researchers found that middle-aged women who consumed five or more servings of yogurt each week for 18–30 years showed a 20 percent reduction in the risk of hypertension when compared to similarly aged women who rarely ate yogurt.

The men in the study did not appear to have the same benefits, but their yogurt intakes tended to be lower.

It is important to note that the National Dairy Council in the U.S. funded this research.

Unsweetened yogurts, such as natural or Greek yogurts, tend to have more benefits. Enjoy them with fruit, nuts, or seeds for a healthful snack or dessert.

13. Pomegranates

Drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days can lower high blood pressure in the short term, according to the findings of a study from 2012. The researchers attributed this effect to the fruit's antioxidant content.

While pomegranates can be enjoyed whole, some people prefer the juice. When buying pre-packaged pomegranate juice, check to ensure that there is no added sugar.

14. Cinnamon

Cinnamon may also help to reduce blood pressure, at least in the short-term.

An analysis of three studies showed that cinnamon decreased short-term systolic blood pressure by 5.39 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.6 mm Hg. However, more research is needed.

Add cinnamon to the diet by sprinkling it over oatmeal or freshly chopped fruit, as an alternative to sugar.

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15. Pistachios

pistachio nuts are a good food source for high blood pressure
Consuming pistachio nuts may decrease a person's risk of hypertension.

Pistachios are healthful nuts that may decrease hypertension.

One study reported that including pistachio nuts in a moderate-fat diet may reduce blood pressure during times of stress. This may be because a compound in the nuts reduces the tightness of blood vessels.

It is important to note that the California Pistachio Commission of Fresno and the American Pistachio Growers funded this small-scale study.

Other studies have found that other nuts, such as almonds, had a similar effect.

Snack on plain pistachios, toss them into salads, or blend them into pestos. Unsalted nuts are more healthful.

Foods to avoid While some foods may relieve hypertension, others can cause substantial increases in blood pressure. People can prevent or reduce high blood pressure by avoiding the following: Salt Sodium can significantly raise blood pressure. According to the findings of a review from 2013, lowering salt intake by 4.4 grams daily substantially reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Caffeine The caffeine in coffee, tea, cola, and energy drinks can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure. A review of five trials found that drinking up to 2 cups of strong coffee can increase both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for 3 hours after consumption. These findings do not suggest that coffee increases blood pressure or the risk of cardiovascular disease in the long term. Alcohol Consuming moderate amounts of red wine may have some health benefits, but larger amounts of alcohol can cause dramatic increases in blood pressure. Heavy alcohol use also increases the risks of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and obesity. Outlook A healthful diet and lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of hypertension. Foods that may lower blood pressure include fruits, vegetables, oats, nuts, lentils, herbs, and spices. Incorporate these into a balanced diet and engage in adequate physical activity to treat hypertension and improve overall health.
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Why do I get heart palpitations after I eat?

Heart palpitations occur when the heart starts to beat faster, and they feel like a fluttering in the chest, neck, or throat. Palpitations can make people feel short of breath and anxious.

If people experience heart palpitations after eating, the foods or beverages they have consumed recently may be responsible. Something in the diet might also cause a person to have heart palpitations after lying down, although this could also occur due to an underlying medical condition.

Below we explain why a person may experience heart palpitations after eating and also consider other causes.

What causes heart palpitations after eating? The foods and beverages that a person consumes can lead to heart palpitations. Some possible causes include: Alcohol Heart palpitations after eating
A person may experience heart palpitations after consuming certain foods or beverages.

Alcohol is a common cause of a racing heart or heart rhythm changes.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco found that alcohol was likely to trigger heart palpitations in people with cardiac arrhythmia.

In particular, it was a common trigger for people with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the top part of the heart, comprising the atria, to quiver out of rhythm with the ventricles, or lower part of the heart.

Doctors are not sure exactly why alcohol affects the heart in this way, but they do know that some people are more vulnerable to its effects than others.

Caffeine

Caffeine is another food that many researchers believe may cause heart palpitations. Caffeine occurs in:

coffee espresso-based drinks sodas teas chocolate some energy drinks

However, a 2016 study that the Journal of the American Heart Association published found no correlation between caffeine consumption and irregular heart rhythms.

Individual reactions

People can also have individual reactions to specific foods or beverages, which may result in various symptoms. These could include heart palpitations.

A doctor will often recommend that anyone noticing symptoms after consuming certain products keeps a journal to monitor what they eat and drink and when they experience symptoms.

This might help them to link their symptoms to specific elements in their diet.

Medications for asthma, diabetes, and other conditions

People should also consider any medications that they take with meals. Some cold, allergy, and asthma medicines contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, which can raise the heart rate.

People with diabetes may use insulin to lower their blood sugar. If their blood sugar gets too low after eating due to excess insulin, they may experience heart palpitations.

Supplements

Some people take dietary supplements before or after eating, which could affect their heart rate. Examples of nutritional supplements that can affect the heart rate include:

bitter orange ephedra ginseng hawthorn valerian

Smoking

Some people may smoke a cigarette before or after they eat, which can also cause heart palpitations.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Causes of heart palpitations after lying down Heart palpitations after eating could be related to anxiety
Anxiety is a common cause of heart palpitations. Common causes of heart palpitations that do not relate to specific foods and beverages include: People can also experience heart palpitations due to underlying heart diseases, such as heart failure, cardiomyopathy, or valve disorders. During pregnancy It can be common for pregnant people to have heart palpitations when they are lying down on their backs. This is because the fetus can press on major blood vessels, which causes the heart to pump faster and harder to keep up with blood flow demands. As a pregnancy advances, it may be more comfortable to lie down on the left side, as this puts less pressure on the blood vessels. Treatment and prevention A doctor will begin to diagnose possible causes of heart palpitations by taking a person's medical history. If the doctor identifies a particular food or beverage that causes heart palpitations, they are likely to recommend excluding it from the diet where possible. Other methods to reduce heart palpitations include: quitting smoking drinking plenty of fluids maintaining a healthy blood sugar level taking steps to reduce stress and anxiety, such as exercising or participating in meditation or yoga People should not stop using medications that cause heart palpitations unless a doctor instructs them to do so. They should also let their doctor know if they are taking non-prescription medications, including dietary supplements and herbs. Medical treatments Doctors rarely recommend medical treatments to reduce the incidence of heart palpitations. However, they may suggest medications called beta-blockers or a procedure called a heart ablation. A heart ablation involves burning, or ablating, the areas of the heart that are sending irregular electrical signals and causing the heart palpitations. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today When to see a doctor Persistent heart palpitations after eating require medical attention
A person should see a doctor if they experience heart palpitations regularly. People should not ignore heart palpitations, including those that occur after eating, and should visit a doctor if they regularly experience them. It is best to seek emergency medical attention for the following symptoms: pain or tightness in the chest difficulty breathing dizziness feeling faint Takeaway Heart palpitations can be an uncomfortable and concerning symptom. There are several dietary causes of heart palpitations. Other causes can include anxiety, smoking, and certain medications. If people often experience palpitations after eating or lying down, they should visit their doctor to ensure that the symptoms are not due to an underlying condition.
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Five hot baths per week may be good for the heart

A new study shows that taking at least five hot baths every week can improve cardiovascular health for seniors.
senior woman taking a bath
For those of us who enjoy indulging in hot baths, a new study has some good news.

Several new studies have pointed to the health benefits of saunas.

From slashing the risk of high blood pressure in men to drastically lowering the risk of stroke in both men and women, relaxing in steamy, hot rooms seems to do wonders for one's cardiovascular health.

Specifically, one study revealed that those who enjoyed a sauna four to seven times per week had a 60 percent lower chance of stroke than those who only had one sauna per week.

Another study found a 46 percent lower risk of hypertension among people who had four to seven weekly sauna sessions compared with those who had just one.

But, for those of us who perhaps cannot afford to go to the sauna so regularly, could we derive the same health benefits from hot baths?

A team of Japanese-based scientists led by Prof. Katsuhiko Kohara, of the Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation at Ehime University in Matsuyama, set out to find an answer to this question.

Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Studying the benefits of hot baths for seniors

Prof. Kohara and team asked 873 study participants aged between 60 and 76 years old to fill in a questionnaire regarding their hot water bathing practices.

"Hot" water was defined as having a temperature of over 41°C, and a single hot bath lasted 12.4 minutes, on average.

To assess cardiac health, the researchers took several measures, including brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, which is a measure of atherosclerosis, and plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide, which is a standard measure of cardiac loading.

Of the 873 participants, the researchers had access to longitudinal data on 164 people who had undergone a minimum of two medical examinations, averaging a follow-up period of almost 5 years.

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Five hot baths may improve heart health

Overall, the study found that "[h]ot water bathing showed a favorable effect on atherosclerotic and central hemodynamic parameters."

More specifically, people who took at least five hot baths every week had significantly lower markers of atherosclerosis and cardiac loading. Prof. Kohara and his colleagues conclude:

"Based upon these findings, it is conceivable that hot water bathing could have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system in the general population."

Reacting to the study, Prof. Jeremy Pearson — an associate medical director with the British Heart Foundation in the United Kingdom — explains that "there are [...] plausible reasons for why a long soak could be beneficial for a person's heart health."

"This study," Prof. Pearson adds, "shows an association between having regular hot baths and some indicators of better heart and circulatory health."

"However," he cautions, "this is just an observation and might be related to other lifestyle factors, such as people who have regular baths may also be more likely to live a low-stress lifestyle, or have a healthier diet."

"Far more research is needed," concludes Prof. Pearson, "to understand the link before doctors start prescribing a hot bath to the elderly."

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Targeting 'microtubules' could prevent heart failure

Researchers publish a study in the journal Nature Medicine that determined the cause of "stiff heart." The findings could help to prevent future cases of heart failure.
Microtubule illustration
Microtubules (depicted here) may be key to the future treatment of heart failure.

One of the most common causes of congestive heart failure is "stiff heart syndrome."

According to Dr. Jerry Sokol — a cardiologist in Deer Park, NY — this causes fluid to build up and back up into the lungs.

This occurs "usually in patients older than age 60," he says.

At the microcellular level, they revealed that stiff heart appears to be related to microtubules in the cells of the heart muscle.

By treating these microtubules with newly developed research and medications, cardiac surgeons will soon be able to more effectively treat patients with this type of congestive heart failure.

The new study was led by Dr. Ben Prosser — an assistant professor of physiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia — and is a "continuation" of research carried out 2 years ago into how microtubules help to regulate heartbeat.

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Investigating microtubules

"These findings provide compelling evidence from human samples for a new therapeutic target for heart disease," says Dr. Prosser; his team aims to "develop therapies that seek out the damaged microtubules to reverse their harmful influence."

Normally, microtubule cells in the heart have diverse structural and signaling roles. When these microtubules are altered, the result is believed to trigger heart disease.

Recent studies have suggested that chemical changes to the microtubules called detyrosination — that is, the removal of a tyrosine chemical group — control a person's heartbeat.

Detyrosinated microtubules provide resistance that could "impede the motion of contracting heart muscle cells." Dr. Prosser and his team tested single heart muscle cells to identify changes to the cell's microtubules network and their consequences for normal heart function.

The analyzed tissues from the left ventricle of heart transplant patients revealed a consistent level of proteins that resulted in the stiffening of microtubules.

Thanks to super-resolution imaging, the researchers also found a "dense, heavily detyrosinated microtubule network in the diseased heart muscle cells."

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The researchers used a drug to suppress the detyrosinated microtubules, successfully restoring around 50 percent of the lost contractile function in the diseased cells. They also revealed that genetically lowering the microtubule detyrosination "softened" any diseased cells, therefore enhancing their ability to contract.

According to Dr. Sokol, unlike the usual type of congestive heart failure — typically caused by a weakened heart muscle (when the heart doesn't contract well after pumping) — a stiff heart resulting in heart failure occurs because the heart doesn't "relax" well after contracting.

"Also," he says, "the more damaged [microtubules] one has, the weaker the heart. When the damaged microtubules are compressed, the heart functions better."

Prior clinical data from the institution identified a "direct correlation between excess microtubule detyrosination and a decline in heart function" in patients who are living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

In this condition, thickened heart muscle can lead to problems in maintaining both proper blood pressure levels and blood flow through one's heart.

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Information from transplants

For this study, the team cited research conducted by transplant cardiologist and study co-author Dr. Ken Margulies, a professor of cardiovascular medicine.

Dr. Margulies compared human heart tissue donated by heart transplant patients with normal heart tissue from other donors. The result was that detyrosination was greater in diseased hearts.

Therefore, cells from diseased hearts contain more microtubules, and these microtubules possess greater detyrosination.

This process meant impaired function in this patient population; their hearts, prior to transplant, had a lower ejection fraction (a marker of heart health designed to measure the blood pumped out of heart ventricles with every contraction) that matched up with greater detyrosination.

Currently, the team is seeking ways to target only heart muscle cell microtubules. By utilizing the Penn Gene Vector Core, the scientists are refining gene therapy approaches to transport "an enzyme to the heart that reverses detyrosination within heart muscle cells."

Dr. Sokol adds, "Congestive heart failure is one of the most serious types of heart disease and increasingly common with age in both men and women."

"This new research from Penn is in infancy stages," he concludes, "but will hopefully prevent congestive heart failure in patients, resulting in healthier lives."

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What are the symptoms of heart disease in men?

Heart disease is one of the most common health problems that men face. By knowing some of the signs and symptoms of heart disease, they may be able to reduce their risk of developing serious complications, such as a heart attack.

Heart disease is a term referring to a range of heart health issues. These include:

coronary artery disease arrhythmias heart failure angina other heart-related irregularities, infections, and birth abnormalities

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease affects more than 1 in 3 men in the United States.

In some cases, a person may have evident signs of heart disease that are easily recognizable. It is possible, however, to develop heart disease without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.

Read on to discover some of the common signs and symptoms of heart disease in men.

Are symptoms different in men and women? Man with chest pains and heart disease
Men may experience a crushing pain or squeezing sensation in the chest.

Men and women share many of the same symptoms for heart disease and heart attacks.

However, men are more likely to experience the well-known heart attack symptoms such as:

crushing chest pain squeezing, discomfort, or fullness in the chest pain in the arm, jaw, or back shortness of breath cold sweat nausea

Women are less likely to experience crushing chest pain. They have a higher chance of having the following symptoms instead:

pain in the jaw, neck, or chest feeling faint or lightheaded squeezing on the upper back fullness, pressure, or squeezing in the center of the chest

As a result, women are more likely to ignore their cardiac symptoms as it is less obvious that they relate specifically to the heart.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Signs of heart disease in men In some cases, a heart attack or another severe heart-related event may be one of the earliest signs of heart disease that a man notices. However, there are often some earlier symptoms and signs that they can look for, which may help to prevent a heart attack, stroke, or other complications of heart disease. These include the following: Symptoms of heart arrhythmias Heart arrhythmias occur when the heart beats irregularly, or too quickly or slowly. Some symptoms to look for include: fainting or dizziness a sensation of the heart racing, or beating too slowly or irregularly discomfort or pressure in the chest that can last for up to 30 minutes difficulty catching the breath after moderate exercise such as walking up stairs unexplained pain in the jaw, neck, or torso Symptoms of blood vessel problems Blood vessels can constrict or narrow over time. When this occurs, it is more difficult for blood to pass through the veins and arteries and this puts greater strain on the heart when it pumps. Some early symptoms of narrowing blood vessels include: shortness of breath extreme fatigue an irregular heartbeat chest pain or angina a feeling of pain, numbness, swelling, tingling, coldness, or weakness in the outer extremities Symptoms of a heart attack Men generally experience a combination of the following symptoms when they have a heart attack: chest pain pain in the arm, neck, jaw, or back squeezing or a sensation of chest pressure or fullness unexplained excessive sweating shortness of breath lightheadedness nausea Diagnosis Man on treadmill in physical therapy clinic with trainer monitoring.
Diagnosis may involve monitoring a person while they walk or run on a treadmill. Diagnosing heart disease often begins with a physical examination. During the examination, a doctor will discuss any symptoms that a person is experiencing and any risk factors they may have for developing heart disease. After assessing a patient's physical health, symptoms, and risk factors, a doctor may run several diagnostic tests to determine if a person has any form of heart disease. Many doctors will order a stress test that looks at how the person and heart respond to moderate exercise. A doctor will monitor a person as they walk or run on a treadmill to gauge whether or not they are likely to have narrowing of the blood vessels. A doctor may also use an MRI scan to check for blockages that could be causing a restriction in blood flow. If they confirm a blockage, the doctor will need to determine its exact location. The method for this is invasive but should not be painful. A cardiologist will use a long, thin tube to insert a dye into the blood vessels of the heart, in a procedure called cardiac catheterization. A radiologist will then take a series of X-ray images of the heart and arteries, called an angiogram. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Treatment There are several potential treatment options for heart disease. A doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications: nitrates diuretics warfarin or other blood thinners digoxin, which helps the heart work more efficiently medication to break up blood clots aspirin antiarrhythmic drugs angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors medication to inhibit platelets, which help blood to coagulate beta-blockers calcium channel blockers In addition to medication, a doctor may also recommend therapies and other medical interventions. Potential therapies include: CPR, in the case of heart attack heart bypass surgery stents valve disease treatment that uses either surgery or balloon valvuloplasty a pacemaker a cardioverter defibrillator to help maintain a regular heartbeat heart transplant a left ventricular assist device to aid in pumping blood enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP), which may open up small bypass channels around constricted arteries cardioversion to restore a regular heartbeat angioplasty to open up blocked arteries Prevention Man shopping for vegetables and salad in supermarket.
Eating a healthful diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of heart disease. There are several lifestyle changes that men can make to help reduce their risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Some potential lifestyle changes include: quitting smoking exercising three or more times per week eating a diet low in processed sugars increasing the amount of fiber, vegetables, and fruit in the diet lowering salt consumption reducing stress through meditation or yoga establishing a baseline of health through regular checkups to help identify problems earlier being aware of snoring as a potential sign of heart disease maintaining a healthy weight Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women, though they may experience different signs and symptoms. It is important for people to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms most likely for their sex. Every adult should also schedule regular visits to their doctor to establish baseline health metrics against which it will be possible to identify changes that may signal heart disease. There are many lifestyle changes that men can make to help prevent heart disease and avoid a heart attack. There are also treatments available for heart disease before it becomes a problem and during and after a heart attack. If a person suspects that they are having a heart attack, it is vital to call 911 immediately to get emergency medical help.
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