heart health

Heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women, ahead of cancer, diabetes, and accidents. In people with heart disease, blood vessels become narrowed or blocked, reducing blood flow to the heart and brain, and increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. Risks for heart disease include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Preventing or managing these conditions can improve heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

You may not realize you?re at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, because high blood pressure symptoms usually don?t emerge until blood pressure has already reached a dangerous level. That?s why this disease is often termed a ?silent killer.? At the dangerous stage, high blood pressure symptoms can include shortness of breath, nosebleeds, and severe headache.

Having high blood pressure over time forces the heart to work harder. Eventually, the heart begins to grow?a condition known as enlarged heart. If an enlarged heart isn?t treated with medicine, devices, or surgery, it can lead to complications such as heart failure.

Some people with an enlarged heart develop a heart murmur?a whooshing or swishing sound caused by abnormal blood flow through the heart. A heart murmur isn?t necessarily dangerous, but doctors do monitor it because it can be a sign of an underlying heart condition.

In heart disease, a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries. When an area of plaque breaks off and becomes lodged in a blood vessel that supplies the heart, it can block blood flow and cause part of the heart muscle to die. This is a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms include chest pain; discomfort in the arms, back, shoulders, and neck; shortness of breath; and nausea.

Poor blood flow to the heart can produce chest pain called angina. Although angina is not a heart attack, it is a sign of heart disease and can warn of a future heart attack. Other angina symptoms include discomfort in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, and back.

What’s the Healthiest Oil? The Winner Is…

Liquid vegetables oils—for example, olive oil and soybean oil—are celebrated as healthy unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fatty acids, when substituted for saturated fats, support general heart health. But for cooking, baking, or dressing salads, what is the healthiest cooking oil? Many people would probably give the answer that olive oil is … Read More

What’s Causing My Tired Legs?

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Swollen Feet May Require Medical Attention

Swollen feet can be a normal inflammatory reaction due to overuse or a strain—the result of taking a bad step, for example. But swollen feet can also indicate a life-threatening medical condition, such as congestive heart failure. It’s important to determine whether there's a known cause (like stepping in a … Read More

A Healthy, Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe

I never thought that I was a tomato sauce person. That is, until this past summer. My mom’s garden is overflowing with tomatoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors. My mom doesn’t really like fresh tomatoes, and neither do I. So when she ended up with more tomatoes than she … Read More

Coronary Artery Disease: Reduce Your Risk

Those who suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD) struggle to get enough blood to their hearts. The reason? CAD occurs when plaque limits or blocks the flow of blood through arteries that lead to the heart muscle. Some people, because of non-modifiable (unchangeable) risk factors, have a high chance of … Read More

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