American Heart Month, atrial fibrillation, heart disease mortality risk, heart health after menopause, heart attacks and pneumonia

We continue to raise awareness on the heart disease risk, the dangers of atrial fibrillation, and the effect of menopause and pneumonia on heart health, in the context of the American Heart Month. It is no wonder that heart health is one of the most talked-about medical topics. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., causing 1 in 4 deaths annually. While people from all ethnicities can be at risk for a heart condition, African American men are the highest risk group, particularly the residents of the southeast region of the U.S.

If you haven’t started on your journey to the heart health, February, the Heart Month, is a good time to do so. Schedule a check-up on the current status of your cardio health. If you are taking any prescription medications for blood pressure or cholesterol, talk to your doctor about your progress and make sure to mention any side effects that you experience. Start exercising every day, gradually adding more physical activity into your schedule. Commit to a healthy menu and cut on salt. If you are a smoker, make a plan to quit – ask your doctor if you need assistance.

Heart disease and stroke mortality risk reduced by eating whole grain foods


heart-disease-and-stroke-mortalityWhole grains have been closely associated with reduced blood cholesterol and improved weight maintenance. Knowing this, the Harvard School of Public Health recently looked at data from two large studies: The Nurses’ Health Study, from which 74,341 women were examined between 1984 and 2010, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, from which 43,744 men were assessed between 1986 and 2010. All study participants were free of cancer and CVD, and their age, body mass index (BMI) and physical activity were carefully considered.

After two to four years, each person was asked to complete food frequency questionnaires, from which whole grain intakes were gauged based on the dry weight of whole grain ingredients in all grain-containing foods consumed. That meant bread, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.

So what did researchers find? Continue reading…

Flu shot may protect against atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat)

flu-shotA new study has found another possible benefit from the flu shot – protection against atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat), which is a risk factor for stroke. The study included 57,000 people from Taiwan. The researchers found a significant link between the flu shot and new cases of atrial fibrillation, compared to those who did not receive the flu shot. Atrial fibrillation is associated with a five times greater risk of stroke.

Individuals who did not receive the flu shot and developed the flu were 18 times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, compared to those who did not get vaccinated. Furthermore, the association was still seen among different groups of people. Continue reading…

Pneumonia can increase risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease for years

PneumoniaPneumonia can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death due to heart disease for numerous years. The study which examined the association found within the first month of pneumonia diagnosis, the risk of cardiovascular events increases four-fold. After the first month, the risk remains at 1.5 higher, compared to those who never had pneumonia, and the risk can last for years.

Lead researcher Dr. Sachin Yende said, “A single episode of pneumonia could have long-term consequences several months or years later.”

Pneumonia is a serious complication of the flu, with seniors being the high risk group. Not only will the flu and pneumonia vaccine offer greater protection against the flu and pneumonia, but it can also reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death. Continue reading…

Menopause raises heart disease risk, linked to more fat around heart

MenopauseMenopause is found to raise heart disease risk and is linked to more fat around the heart. The findings come from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, where they found that menopausal women are at a higher risk for heart disease, compared to their pre-menopausal counterparts.


The findings stem from hormone changes that occur during menopause. It is well known that estrogen provides many protective properties when it comes to health, and so when estrogen levels drop during menopause, women can become at risk for an assortment of different health problems, including heart disease. Continue reading…

Heart attack risk not increased by consuming high-cholesterol foods

heart-attackConsuming eggs and other high-cholesterol foods does not increase the risk of heart attack. Furthermore, there is no association between those with the APOE4 phenotype and a high-cholesterol diet.

Dietary cholesterol only affects serum cholesterol. A minor and limited research has found a link between dietary cholesterol and an increase in cardiovascular disease. Worldwide, there are minimal limitations on consuming high-cholesterol foods, but in those with APOE4, which largely impacts cholesterol metabolism, dietary cholesterol can have a greater effect. In Finland particularly, APOE4 is quite common with one-third of the population being a carrier of the gene variant, and so it’s important to know if dietary cholesterol affects this population’s risk of heart attack. Continue reading…