Meditation as an integrative medicine program has become popular in hospitals around the nation. Meditation has many benefits that include reducing heart attack and stroke risk, as well as improving cognitive abilities such as memory and attention span. The assistant medical director and primary-care doctor at the Cheng & Tsui Center for Integrative Care said, “I recommend five minutes, twice a day, and then gradually increase,” referring to meditation. Experts do not suggest meditation in place of traditional medicine, but meditation can work in tandem with traditional medicine to achieve maximum results. More here
A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in the U.K has confirmed that eating strawberries and blueberries can benefit the heart. Berries provide an excellent source of anthocyanins that serve as antioxidants that in turn fight stress and prevent damage caused by free radical cells. Women who consume three or more servings of berries a week reduce their risk of heart attack and heart disease by 32%. More here
Symptoms of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks can be brought upon when blockage occurs in the arteries. Every year approximately 610,000 American endure their first heart attack, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study from the University of Missouri discovered a defense to fight arterial blockage. Bilirubin, a drug usually used to treat newborns that have been diagnosed with jaundice may now bring hope for many people who suffer from cardiovascular disease. More here
Danish researchers have found four signs of aging that may signal poor heart health and a higher risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. The research followed 11,000 men and women over the age of 40 for 35 years and discovered that those who had a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of their head, earlobe crease, or fatty deposits around their eyelid were 57 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Fatty deposits around the eyelid were the strongest predictor of heart trouble. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, of the University of Copenhagen, said looking old for your age is a marker of poor health. Individuals in their 70s were at highest risk. Participants over the age of 70 who exhibited three of the four signs of aging had a 40 percent increased risk of heart disease over the next 10 years. More here.
A new study, published in the journal Circulation, found a possible link between the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs and increased risks for heart attack survivors. Among 100,000 survivors of first heart attacks, nearly half filled a prescription for a NSAID, such as Celebrex, Voltaren, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve. Among those who used the anti-inflammatory drugs, there was a 59 percent higher risk of death from any cause within one year of having the heart attack and a 30 percent higher risk of having another heart attack. After five years, the risk of death increased to 63 percent. Though researchers can’t say the use of NSAIDs were directly responsible for the elevated risk, the study highlights the need for caution when using anti-inflammatory drugs following a heart attack. More here.
Partners of heart attack victims are more likely to suffer from depression than husbands and wives of people with other major health issues. New research from Denmark’s Gentofte University Hospital found that, among people whose partner died of a heart attack, three times as many were taking antidepressants in the year after compared to the year before the heart attack. Even among spouses of people who survived a heart attack, prescriptions for antidepressants rose by 17 percent. The researchers suspect that the suddenness of a heart attack may be a factor in the elevated risk of depression. Previous research revealed that heart attack survivors also commonly suffer from depression following the event. More here.
Research from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that 50 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack or heart failure made a mistake with their medication within a month of being discharged from the hospital. Among 851 participants, 50.8 percent had one or more clinically important medication errors, with 22.9 percent of them judged to be serious and 1.8 percent life threatening. Surprisingly, the numbers were as high among people who received guidance from a pharmacist as those who didn’t. Individuals who had a strong support system were least likely to make a mistake with their medication, primarily due to the fact that they were more likely to have a caregiver helping them with their recovery. The study highlights the need for more effective ways to help patients familiarize themselves with their drug names, interactions, and doses. More here and here.
An Italian study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association links daily aspirin use to a higher than expected bleeding risk and questions its benefit among people with a lower risk of cardiovascular trouble. Many people use a daily low-dose aspirin in an effort to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. But despite its effectiveness and beneficial qualities for people with a moderate-to-high cardiovascular risk, researcher Antonio Nicolucci, M.D., says the potential risks associated with taking aspirin daily may outweigh the benefit for people with less risk of a major cardiovascular event. The study followed 186,000 adults who took aspirin daily and an equal number who did not. More here.
After tracking the health of nearly 24,000 people over 11 years, the authors of a new study published in the journal Heart found that taking calcium supplements may increase the risk of having a heart attack. The research also revealed that higher levels of calcium, even from dietary sources, provided no significant protection from heart attack and stroke. The authors wrote that the findings suggest increasing calcium intake from dietary sources may not be of any cardiovascular benefit and supplements should be taken with caution. Participants who took calcium supplements regularly were 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared with those who didn’t use any supplements. Calcium supplements are often recommended to the elderly for help with bone thinning. More here and here.
A study from researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health found that deaths from heart attack and stroke fell 40 percent among diabetics between 1997 and 2006. The research, which compared 3-year death rates for Americans 18 years and older with and without diabetes, also revealed that deaths from all causes fell 23 percent during the same time period. Despite the encouraging results, people with diabetes are still twice as likely to die from heart attack and stroke than people without diabetes. The CDC recommends following a healthy meal plan, getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week, and losing weight if needed to help manage diabetes and prevent cardiovascular disease. More here and here.