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Heart Health

An Avocado a Day . . . Keeps the Cardiologist Away?

Good news for avocado lovers: Eating one avocado a day may have beneficial effects on the heart, according to a randomized, controlled study published in the Journal of Nutrition last fall. But don’t forget to compensate for the calories.

Is Coronary Artery Calcium Screening Right for You?

Coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening is a test in which a computed tomography (CT) scan is used to detect calcium-containing plaques in the coronary arteries. Findings from a study in the European Journal of Preventive Medicine add to a growing body of evidence that CAC screening can help pinpoint who will most benefit from statins—and who…

Who Should Be Screened for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm? Questions Remain

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) goes hand in hand with heart disease. But it rarely causes symptoms until it ruptures and becomes a life-threatening emergency. Ultrasound screening can catch aneurysms early, before they burst, but a lack of good research has made it hard for experts to offer comprehensive screening guidelines—especially for women. Although the U.S.…

Getting a Handle on Heart Failure

Heart failure—also known as congestive heart failure—occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood with adequate force to meet the body’s needs. It’s a common condition, affecting about 6.5 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although life expectancy after a heart failure diagnosis varies, medical treatment…

Women Less Likely than Men to Receive Life-Saving Heart Pump

Women who have advanced heart failure are less likely than men with the condition to receive a potentially life-saving heart pump known as a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, according to a study published online in Circulation Heart Failure.

Is the Price Right for the Newest Cholesterol Drugs?

When the newest cholesterol-lowering drugs, PCSK9 inhibitors, first became available in 2015, the cost was about $14,000 per year—which strictly limited their use. But according to the National Lipid Association (NLA), major reductions in the prices of these non-statin medications make them a more reasonable option for some people at high risk of a heart attack.

Stopping Statins After Age 75: A Bad Idea?

For people older than 75 with no known cardiovascular disease (CVD), it’s been unclear whether statins are beneficial. A recent study published in the European Heart Journal suggests, but doesn’t prove, that they face an increased risk of a first-time heart attack or stroke when these cholesterol-lowering drugs are discontinued. Here’s a look at the findings.

Adhering to Statins Tied to Longer Life

Sticking with your statin prescription may help prolong your life, suggests a large study of U.S. veterans reported in JAMA Cardiology. Researchers found that of more than 347,000 older vets with coronary heart disease (CHD), those who were most adherent to their statin prescription were the least likely to die over the next three years.

Can PTSD Damage Your Heart?

Psychological stress is an unavoidable part of life, and the ways in which it might affect heart health are complicated. But growing evidence suggests that stress-related disorders— psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—can precipitate heart attacks or other cardiovascular conditions in vulnerable people.

The Other Bad Cholesterol

Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), is the bad cholesterol you’ve probably heard little about. But under new guidelines, your doctor may start measuring it. Elevated levels of this type of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle are linked to a heightened risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and other cardiovascular complications.