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AHA News: Video Gaming Helps Heart Defect Survivor Connect With Others in the LGBTQ Community and Beyond

Mike Lane's heart journey began as a newborn – when his skin turned blue.

He was 2 days old when a cardiologist realized the reason. He was born with several congenital heart defects, including a missing ventricular septum, a narrowing of the pulmonary artery called stenosis, and a faulty pulmonary artery valve. In the coming weeks and months, even the most minor activity exhausted him ...

Old Age No Bar to Successful Heart Transplant, Study Finds

People over 70 are far less likely to be considered for or to receive a new heart -- even though new research suggests their survival rates after transplant are similar to those of younger patients.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on more than 57,000 adults (aged 18 and older) listed as heart transplant surgery candidates in the United States between January 2000 and August 2...

AHA News: Why Everyone Should Care About Health Disparities – And What to Do About Them

The coronavirus pandemic and the equity movement have shined a spotlight on longstanding systemic problems that contribute to health disparities linked with factors such as race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status and sexual identity.

But health disparities don't only affect those facing them. In a time of deep division and uncertainty, experts see opportunities to remind people everyone ...

'Plant-Based' or Low-Fat Diet: Which Is Better for Your Heart?

Hoping to eat your way to a healthier heart?

Diets rich in plant foods may beat low-fat eating regimens for cutting the risk of heart disease and stroke, a new study finds.

Saturated fat, the kind largely found in animal products, has long been viewed as the enemy of the heart, since it can raise "bad" LDL cholesterol.

In the new study, which tracked more than 5,100 Americans,...

AHA News: Overcoming Midlife Barriers to Exercise and Better Health

It can literally be as easy as a walk in the park.

Just 30 minutes of movement – anything that gets your heart beating faster – five times a week is all it takes to meet federal guidelines for physical activity. In fact, the goal is 150 minutes a week, whether it's split up daily or not.

And there's plenty of reason to do it: Study after study finds physical activity – especia...

Many Heart Disease Patients Keep Smoking, Despite Knowing Risks

Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products increases heart risks, but that doesn't stop some Americans with a history of heart problems, new research finds.

Many continue to smoke after having a heart attack, heart failure or stroke even though they are aware of the risk.

Nearly 30% of adults with a history of these heart problems smoked when a five-year study began in 2013....

Death Rates Are Rising Across Rural America

TUESDAY, June 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In rural America, more people die from chronic health conditions and substance abuse than in suburbs and cities, and the gap is widening.

Researchers report in a new study that the difference in rural and urban death rates tripled over the past 20 years mostly due to deaths among middle-aged white men and women.

"We looked...

AHA News: His Grandpa and Mom Died of the Same Heart Condition He Has

Running late after a hectic day, Jimmy Fremgen sprinted up a flight of stairs to his apartment. His hands shook so wildly he had trouble fitting the key into the lock.

Once inside, his heart pounded so rapidly he couldn't count the beats. And as someone born with a heart problem – and with a device in his chest that was supposed to regulate those heartbeats – he certainly tried counti...

AHA News: Asian and Pacific Islander Women May Be at Greatest Risk for Preeclampsia Complications

Black women are most likely to develop a severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy called preeclampsia, a new study shows. But Asian and Pacific Islander women may have the highest risk for developing cardiovascular complications from the condition.

The study, published Tuesday in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, focused on understanding the reasons for incre...

Fewer Than 1 in 10 American Adults Get Enough Dietary Fiber

TUESDAY, June 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) – If you're like most American adults, it might be time to reach for a piece of fruit, a plate of vegetables or a bowl of whole grains.

Only 7% of adults get enough fiber, a type of carbohydrate that passes through the body undigested and supports not only regular bowel movements, but also offers important health benefits. Too little fiber is assoc...

AHA News: As the Pandemic Wanes, Get Kids on the Road to Good Health This Summer

Nice weather and a receding pandemic should make for a joyous, memorable summer, especially after a year of lockdowns, frustration and discouraging news. For kids, and their parents, it's also a chance to get back on the road to normal after a long COVID-19 detour.

"I'm really optimistic about this summer compared to where we were last summer," said Dr. Miriam Vos, a pediatrician and prof...

AHA News: Legally Blind Photographer Overcomes Heart Surgery During the Pandemic

When Arthur Castro was born, doctors could immediately tell something was wrong. The color of his skin belied trouble with his heart that hadn't been picked up on several ultrasounds typical of a routine pregnancy.

"His oxygen was very low. He was very purple and blue, and they had to revive him (with CPR)," his mom, Sophia Castro, said. "As soon as I delivered him, they just took him."

ER Visits for Heart Attacks Rebounded After Pandemic Decline

Emergency care for heart attacks and strokes rebounded in Northern California after initially plummeting in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say.

That's good news, suggesting that public health campaigns urging people to seek care if they had signs or symptoms of a stroke or heart attack were effective, according to the Kaiser Permanente researchers.

For the s...

Strokes Hitting COVID Patients Are More Severe: Study

COVID-19 patients are at increased risk for severe strokes, according to a new study that also found that the overall risk of stroke is higher in younger patients.

Researchers analyzed data from 432 COVID-19 patients in 17 countries who suffered strokes and found they were more likely to have large vessel occlusion (LVO) than stroke patients in the general population.

LVO strokes ar...

AHA News: As the Mercury Rises, Follow These 5 Summer Survival Tips

As the days get longer and the temperature rises, summer is an ideal time to enjoy outdoor activities. Following some simple advice can increase the odds you'll surf through the season without so much as a sunburn.

Mind the latest pandemic rules

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its mask guidance, permitting fully vaccinated people to g...

AHA News: Menopause Before 40 Tied to Higher Stroke Risk

Early menopause could mean an increased risk of stroke caused by blocked blood vessels, according to a new study. Yet for each year of menopause delay, stroke risk fell by 2%.

Stroke is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and women have a 4% higher lifetime stroke risk than men. Some studies show women who experience menopause at an earlier age have a higher risk of heart disease...

AHA News: Is Mango the Luscious Superhero of Fruit?

If mangoes could be any more of a nutritional hero, they might need to wear capes.

The luscious, sweet tropical fruits are packed with so many vitamins and minerals they are great for our hearts, skin, eyes, and digestive and immune systems.

Packing more than 20 vitamins and minerals, including high doses of vitamins A and C, mangoes hail from the cashew family and are also low-fat ...

Aortic Tears Are Even More Deadly for Women, Study Finds

Women may have different symptoms and are more likely to die after acute aortic dissection than men, a new study finds.

Up to 40% of patients die instantly from this spontaneous tear in one of the body's main arteries, and the risk of death increases about 1% for every hour of delay in diagnosis and surgery, according to the findings published online June 2 in The Annals of Thoracic S...

Mom's Blood Pressure in Pregnancy Could Affect Child's Stroke Risk Decades Later

Expectant mothers' high blood pressure heightens kids' risk of stroke later in life, a Swedish study finds.

"Our findings indicate that hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are associated with increased risks of stroke and potentially heart disease in offspring up to the age of 41 years," said study author Fen Yang, a doctoral student at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The stu...

AHA News: CPR, Defibrillator Save Man's Life After He Collapses Playing Rec Basketball

Kevin Marcus Miller joined a rec basketball league in Seattle to get more exercise, meet new people and balance out a life that had become too dominated by work.

Minutes into his second game, the 25-year-old was dribbling up the court when he went down on one knee.

Then he collapsed, unconscious.

Tim Kerns, who runs the adult basketball league, had just walked into the gym whe...

Amazon Tribe Could Hold Key to Health of Aging Brains

FRIDAY, May 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A native South American population that lives a pre-industrial lifestyle may have a slower rate of brain aging than the typical Westerner, a new study finds.

The study focused on the Tsimane population, whose roughly 16,000 members dwell in a remote part of the Bolivian Amazon. They live by farming, hunting, gathering and fishing...

Having OCD May Triple a Person's Odds for a Stroke

THURSDAY, May 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a common mental health condition known as OCD, may have more than triple the risk of having a stroke, according to a new report from Taiwanese researchers.

As to why, the study authors aren't sure.

The investigators speculate that other mental health problems suffered by OCD pat...

AHA News: Deep Disparities Persist in Who Gets Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

Harmful secondhand tobacco smoke remains more widespread than most people think, experts say, and exposure is particularly high for children, Black adults and people living below the poverty line.

One of the biggest hurdles is smokers often underestimate the levels of exposure and the effects on nonsmokers' lungs, hearts and brains.

"There's denial among the smokers that they don't ...

AHA News: College Kid Couldn't Shake Headache – Until Other Symptoms Revealed a Stroke

Soon after turning 21, Jacob York and his buddies from the University of Missouri were in Miami Beach, Florida, for spring break. They spent their days by the shore and nights at the bar.

So when he felt an incredibly sore throat and a headache, he chalked it up to too much partying and not enough sleep.

Around the time they returned to school, COVID-19 restrictions were put into pl...

Birth Order, Family Size May Affect Heart Health

It's known that genetics and lifestyle can affect your heart health. Now, researchers say, your birth order and family size may also have an impact.

A new Swedish study found that first-born children had a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes than their younger brothers and sisters. But having many siblings was associated with...

AHA News: How Much Harm Can a Little Excess Salt Do? Plenty

Many people know too much salt in their diet is a bad thing. Not nearly as many know exactly why.

"They're surprised at the degree to which it can affect them," said Dr. Cheryl Laffer, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. "And at the amount of salt that there is in the American diet."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a...

AHA News: Surprisingly Few Women May Have Good Heart Health Before Pregnancy

Less than half of U.S. women entering pregnancy have good heart health, and those rates are falling, according to new research.

Experts already knew poor heart health can have dire consequences for mothers-to-be. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of a mother's death during pregnancy and postpartum, making up 26.5% of pregnancy-related deaths, according to the American College of...

AHA News: ¿Cuánto daño puede hacer el excederse un poco con la sal? Bastante

Mucha gente sabe que el exceso de sal en su alimentación es algo malo, pero no hay tantos que sepan exactamente por qué.

"Se sorprenden del grado en que puede afectarles", afirma la Dra. Cheryl Laffer, profesora de medicina de la Universidad de Vanderbilt, en Nashville, Tennessee, "así como de la cantidad de sal que contiene la alimentación estadounidense".

De acuerdo con los Ce...

Testosterone Might Influence COVID Severity in Men

Low testosterone levels may increase men's risk of severe COVID-19, according to a new study.

On average, men fare worse with COVID-19 than women.

"During the pandemic, there has been a prevailing notion that testosterone is bad. But we found the opposite in men," said senior study author Dr. Abhinav Diwan. He's professor of medicine, cell biology and physiology at Washington Univer...

AHA News: El vínculo entre la depresión y las enfermedades del corazón tiene un doble sentido

El día en que Jordan Chaffiotte, de 23 años, fue dada de alta del hospital tras su exitosa operación a corazón abierto debería haber sido feliz. Un motivo de celebración.

En cambio, se encontró sollozando en la sala con sus padres y su hermana, luchando contra la culpa y la depresión.

"Antes de salir del hospital, el médico me dijo claramente que, después de una operación...

AHA News: Link Between Depression and Heart Disease Cuts Both Ways

The day 23-year-old Jordan Chaffiotte was discharged from the hospital following her successful open-heart surgery should have been a happy one. A cause for celebration.

Instead, she found herself sobbing in the living room with her parents and sister, struggling with guilt and depression.

"Before I left the hospital, the doctor gave me a clear picture that it was normal after heart...

AHA News: Woman's Frozen Face, Garbled Speech During Zoom Call Were Signs of a Stroke

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Dorothy Farris organized "Cocktails and Conversation," a weekly hourlong Zoom session with a group of old friends. Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. quickly became a cherished part of their routines.

They talked about everything from where to find toilet paper and disinfectant wipes to what everyone was reading or streaming. For their July 30 call, they p...

Fat Around Your Heart Could Be Especially Deadly

Too much fat around your heart could increase your risk of heart failure, especially if you're a woman, researchers warn.

They looked at nearly 7,000 45- to 84-year-olds across the United States who had no evidence of heart disease on initial CT scans. Over more than 17 years of followup, nearly 400 developed heart failure.

High amounts of fat around the heart -- pericardial fat -- ...

AHA News: Depression and Anxiety Linked to Lower Levels of Heart Health in Young Adults

Young adults with depression or anxiety may be more likely to have lower levels of cardiovascular health, new research shows.

Adults ages 18-34 who have moderate to severe anxiety or depression were more likely to smoke and have excess weight, and were less likely to get adequate exercise, according to the findings presented last week at the American Heart Association's virtual Epidemiolo...

Elections Can Be Tough on Americans' Hearts

A U.S. presidential election can be hard on your heart.

That's the takeaway from two new studies that look back on the 2016 race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

For one, researchers investigated heart rhythm disorders in more than 2,400 adults in North Carolina (average age: 70.8 years) who had implanted defibrillators or pacemakers that could be monit...

AHA News: Kids With Sleep Apnea Into Teen Years Could Develop High Blood Pressure

Children with obstructive sleep apnea who don't outgrow it by adolescence have nearly three times the risk of high blood pressure as teens compared to those without the breathing issue, a new long-term study shows.

But children whose sleep apnea disappears in adolescence don't have any increased risk, the study found.

Obstructive sleep apnea, when breathing is paused during sleep, a...

AHA News: Discrimination May Change Heart Structure in Hispanic Adults

Hispanic adults who experience perceived discrimination are more likely to have changes in the structure of their heart that may lead to cardiovascular disease, according to new research.

In the past, scientists have uncovered possible links between discrimination and cardiovascular disease, including higher blood pressure in African Americans. In the new work, researchers wanted to see i...

When Cardiac Deaths Rose During Pandemic, Minorities Suffered Most

During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, heart disease and stroke deaths rose in the United States, but a new study shows the increases were much larger in minority groups.

Researchers compared monthly cause-of-death data for March to April 2020 to the same period in 2019. They found that heart disease deaths rose about 19% among Black people, Hispanic folks and Asian individu...

AHA News: A Baby's Gut Bacteria May Predict Future Obesity

New research into the growing problem of early childhood obesity suggests the bacteria in a baby's gut may indicate weight problems in the years to come.

Researchers examined gut microbiota – bacteria and other microbes in the digestive system – of babies, as well as their body mass index, a common gauge of overweight and obesity. The study is being presented Friday at the American He...

AHA News: Black People in Rural Areas More Likely Than White People to Die From Diabetes, High Blood Pressure

The rate of deaths related to diabetes and high blood pressure among Black people over the past two decades improved in urban areas, according to a new study, but rural communities are lagging.

Scientists have known for years that people in rural areas of the U.S. were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than their city counterparts. But researchers wanted to see if recent effo...

AHA News: Months After Learning to Walk Again, 24-Year-Old Finally Learns What Caused Her Paralysis

One morning when she was 24, Andrea Paez woke up to find dark red blood on her pillow. She felt exhausted and nauseous, with a pounding headache.

Looking in the mirror, she realized the blood had come from her nose.

Andrea had had occasional seizures throughout her adolescent and teen years. She figured she'd had one overnight.

Over the years, doctors had told Andrea she might...

AHA News: Is It Normal Aging or Early Signs of Dementia?

Misplacing keys. Forgetting names. Struggling to find the right word. Walking into a room and forgetting why.

Are these early signs of dementia? Or normal signs of aging?

It all depends on the circumstances, health experts say. To distinguish between changes associated with typical aging and concerning signs of cognitive loss requires a deeper look.

"Instead of thinking about ...

AHA News: A Stroke at 34 Rocked Her Family's World

Lisa Anderson shook her husband, Jacob, awake.

"I just got off the phone with the nurse," she told him. "She said I could have a stroke."

Jacob bolted out of bed, trying to make sense of the news. It was around 1:30 a.m. on Easter.

Lisa had had a terrible headache the previous day. She'd gotten a deep tissue massage in the afternoon, hoping it would help. But nothing alleviate...

AHA News: Research Into Asian American Health Doesn't Always Reflect Their Diversity

Large health studies sometimes paint a rosy picture of Asian Americans in comparison with other groups. But when researchers aren't using a broad brush, the portrait can be quite different.

When viewed not as a single entity of 20 million people but as people of Chinese, Filipino, Indian or other distinct backgrounds, significant differences – and health disparities – appear.

Fo...

Low- or High-Dose, Aspirin Brings Similar Protection Against Heart Disease: Study

When it comes to taking a daily aspirin to cut heart patients' risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study finds dosing doesn't matter.

Researchers looked at more than 15,000 heart disease patients at 40 health centers across the United States who took either 81 milligrams (mg) or 325 mg of daily aspirin for a median of 26.2 months.

Though there were no significant differences betw...

Starting Rehab Earlier Boosts Outcomes for Heart Failure Patients

Getting heart failure patients into cardiac rehabilitation sooner rather than later after a hospitalization is tied to a better prognosis, new research shows.

"Typically, cardiac rehabilitation programs require patients to be stable for six weeks after a hospitalization," explained cardiologist Dr. Benjamin Hirsh, who wasn't connected to the new research.

"This study challenges this...

Surgical Snip Might Prevent Stroke in People With A-fib

MONDAY, May 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A simple surgery may help lower the risk for strokes by more than a third in patients with atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heartbeat, a new trial finds.

The reduction in stroke risk is achieved by blocking the left atrial appendage, an unused, finger-like tissue that traps blood in the upper chamber of the heart and incre...

Being a 'Night Owl' Raises Odds for Diabetes If You're Obese

MONDAY, May 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Though obesity by itself can drive up heart disease risk, new research suggests diabetes and heart disease risk is especially high when combined with a tendency to stay up late at night.

The finding stems from a comparison of sleep patterns and disease in 172 middle-aged people as part of an ongoing obesity prevention study in It...

A Healthier Heart Might Make You Smarter

MONDAY, May 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In new evidence that illustrates that health issues rarely exist in a vacuum, a new study finds a link between heart health and brain function.

Existing evidence suggests that having heart disease raises one's risk of dementia, and vice versa, but a team of researchers based in London wanted to find out if this connection could b...

AHA News: Stroke Affects the Whole Family, And Here's How to Help Keep It Together

When Carol Coulther's husband, Rich, had a stroke, her teacher instincts kicked in immediately. She began writing down everything his doctors said to make sense of what happened and what he would need in his recovery.

Coulther's instinct to document everything was spot on, according to advice from Dr. Amytis Towfighi, director of neurological services and innovation for the Los Angeles Co...

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