Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. If not controlled, this generally symptomless silent killer can lead to serious consequences, including stroke, kidney disease, heart attack, and blindness. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be prevented-and controlled-through healthy lifestyle choices.
Q. I have high cholesterol and my doctor told me to eat more beans. Why?
A recent study by Tufts researchers published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that regaining some or all of lost weight diminished the cardiometabolic benefits of that weight loss. It is known that losing weight improves cardiometabolic risk factors, such as HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, HbA1c, and blood pressure. Weight regain after weight loss is common, but up until now the impact on cardiometabolic risk factors was not well established.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that middle-aged adults with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or history of stroke could be at high risk for early death if they sleep less than six hours per night.
A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that sleeping between six and nine hours a night, compared to less, is associated with 20 percent lower risk of heart attack.
In March of 2019, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released updated guidelines recommending against routine low-dose aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people older than 70 and in those with increased bleeding risk (such as those with peptic ulcer disease).
A study recently published in the American Diabetes Associations journal, Diabetes Care, suggests that high night-to-night differences in sleep schedules may be associated with higher risk of having metabolic syndrome (a cluster of health problems-including high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, high blood sugar levels, and/or excess body fat around the waist-that increase risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes). The study assessed nighttime movements and sleep-wake cycles of over 2,000 participants for one week using home-based sleep studies.
We cannot survive without cholesterol in our bodies. It is an essential part of cell walls, is used to make bile acids (which are critical in fat digestion), and is necessary for the production of vitamin D and a number of hormones. But too much LDL cholesterol and not enough HDL cholesterol in the blood is associated with increased risk for heart attack and stroke. While the liver can produce all the cholesterol the human body needs, we also consume it in the form of animal-based foods like meat and dairy.
An analysis published recently in the American Heart Associations journal, Circulation, adds another piece to the puzzle of omega-6 fatty acids and heart disease.
Q. Is there anything I can do to address my frequent heartburn besides medications?