Baby Boomers are the “Stroke-Healthiest” Generation

baby boomer generationBaby boomers born between 1945 and 1954 have the lowest rates of stroke when compared to both their younger and older peers.

This is the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that examined the incidence of stroke across generations. Researchers looked at over 225,000 records of stroke between 1995 and 2014 and divided stroke patients into 10-year intervals, based on their age at the time of stroke. Older baby boomers—now in their 60s—had the lowest rates of stroke compared with those born in the twenty years prior to them—or the twenty years after. Read more

Better Heart Safe Than Sorry When It Comes to Daily Aspirin

senior woman taking Aspirin pillsMany doctors recommend a daily dose of aspirin to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancers, and other conditions. The daily aspirin is not without risks, however, most notably increased incidence of stomach bleeding.

Does the risk outweigh the benefit?

This is the focus of a meta-analysis published in Public Library of Science that examined the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding associated with a low-dose aspirin regimen. After an extensive review, the researchers found that daily aspirin increased the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding by 60% but that such events were almost never fatal. Moreover, the researchers concluded that, compared to conditions like heart disease and cancer, the potential benefits associated with a daily aspirin regimen far outweigh the risks. Read more

This Essential Mineral Keeps Your Heart Healthy

iron rich foodsAnemia, which is a decreased number of red blood cells, may increase the risk of death after stroke.

This is the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that investigated the connection between anemia and stroke. The study examined the hemoglobin levels of 8,000 stroke patients with an average age of 77 years. Hemoglobin is a key component of red blood cells. Read more

How Obesity Alone is a Risk Factor for Heart Disease

obesity risk factorsObesity is a known risk factor for heart disease. One reason for this is that many people who are obese also exhibit other risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. But even after accounting for risk factors for heart disease that are often associated with obesity, something doesn’t quite add up. It turns out that severe obesity is its own independent risk factor for heart failure. Read more

How Daily Bike Rides Protect Your Heart

senior couple riding their bikes outsideExercise is important for heart health, but it can be difficult to squeeze exercise time into our daily routine. One simple way to make sure you get your heart rate up is to ride your bike instead of using a car or public transportation. In fact, biking from place to place as part of your daily routine may decrease your risk of heart disease.

This is the conclusion of two longitudinal studies that followed 65,000 participants for ten to twenty years. A Danish study published in the journal Circulation found that people who bike on a regular basis had between 11 and 18% fewer heart attacks over a 20 year period. This study found that biking as little as thirty minutes per week protected people from coronary artery disease. Compared to non-bikers, people who started biking during the first 5 years of the study had a 25% lower risk of developing heart disease over the length of the study. Read more

Cooking at High Temperatures May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

deep fried food being cooked at high temperaturesWhy do some ethnic groups have increased rates of heart disease? It may be related to food preparation.

This is according to a recent study published in the journal Nutrition that investigated one reason for increased rates of heart disease in South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lankan) populations living in South Asia and abroad. The researchers observed that known risk factors for heart disease did not explain why South Asians have increased rates of heart disease compared with other Asian populations, like the Chinese. They hypothesized that the method of cooking may be the key to understanding these differences. Read more

Drinking Till Your Heart’s Content

two older men drinking alcohol

Long-term alcohol consumption can simultaneously protect and damage your heart.

This is the conclusion of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. This study examined the effects of long-term alcohol use on the heart. The researchers examined the heart health of patients admitted to hospitals based on whether or not the local county allowed alcohol sales. They found that counties that allowed alcohol sales had fewer patients admitted to hospitals for heart attack and heart failure. In contrast, in these same counties with fewer admissions for heart attack and heart failure, more patients had an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for stroke. Read more

This is Your Heart on New Year’s Day

older man in a bar Heavy drinkingDrinking any alcohol may increase your risk of a cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke, within the first 24 hours after consumption.

This is the conclusion of a meta-analysis published in Circulation that examined the results from 23 studies with over 29,000 participants. This meta-analysis evaluated the immediate effects of drinking alcohol on the risk of heart attack and stroke. The researchers found that in both moderate and heavy drinkers, the risk of a cardiovascular event increased for 24 hours immediately following drinking. In heavy drinkers, the increased risk lasted for an entire week. Read more

4 Ways to Avoid Holiday Heart Syndrome

holiday heart syndrome people drinking Champagne and celebratingThe holidays can often be a time of excess: rich foods, elegant desserts, and an abundance of holiday drinks. If this isn’t how you usually eat—and we hope it isn’t—such indulgence can be damaging to your heart.

Holiday Heart Syndrome is the term used by some doctors to describe the adverse effects caused by unrestrained holiday cheer. People who do not usually drink alcohol may be particularly susceptible to holiday heart syndrome. Holiday heart syndrome refers to the development of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, brought on by over-indulgence of alcohol in a short period of time. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for a variety of heart conditions including stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Read more

Genetic Heart Disease Risk Eased by Healthy Habits

decrease risk of heart diseaseA heart-healthy lifestyle can cut your genetic risk for heart disease in half.

This is the conclusion of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The investigators looked at data from 55,000 participants who were at high risk for heart disease due to genetic factors. A genetic predisposition to heart disease can double your risk of heart disease, the study found, but a heart-healthy lifestyle can cut that risk in half. They also found that an unhealthy lifestyle can cancel the benefits of good genetics.

The researchers examined data from four separate studies in distinct populations of people aged 45 to 80 years and achieved the same results. The investigators created metrics for genetic risk based on fifty genes known to be associated with the development of heart disease. Read more