Does raising your HDL “good cholesterol” really protect against heart disease?

In March, scientists discovered a gene mutation that raises HDL cholesterol levels (commonly known as the “good” cholesterol) -- but rather than protecting against heart disease, it increases your risk for it. With HDL cholesterol widely being touted as heart-protective, it made scientists scratch their heads, wondering if HDL cholesterol levels are not really a catch-all. Perhaps it’s not the amount of HDL that matters, but how it works and how well it removes unhealthy cholesterol.

Why fish eaters may be less likely to suffer a heart attack

Being proactive today may save you tomorrow -- especially when it comes to protecting your heart! Did you know 1.5 million heart attacks occur in the U.S. each year, with half a million deaths? With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart attacks are unfortunately all too common. One way you can reduce your risk? Eat more fish, a recent study says.

Iyengar yoga: Safe enough for pulmonary hypertension patients to reap big benefits

People turn to yoga for relief from all sorts of ailments – aches and pains, insomnia, headaches, stress and many more. Now, recent research is adding another condition to the list: pulmonary arterial hypertension. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs and right heart.

What is a coronary calcium scan?

Calcium isn’t always a good thing. You want it in your bones, but not so much in the form of kidney stones or in your heart. After all, calcium buildup in your heart is a risk factor for heart disease. But now, there’s a new way to find out if that’s happening.

What exactly is the “afterburn” and are you getting any?

Nowadays, many fitness programs are being marketed with the latest and greatest buzzword, “afterburn.” They say that you too can experience this post-workout phenomenon if you exercise a certain way. And it sounds great, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to burn extra calories long past your sweat session? So let’s take a look at what exactly this afterburn effect is and how you can get it.

Your Summer Heart Check-Up: Catch early warning signs before they become serious problems

Summer is a good time to think about heart health. Fresh produce is abundant, providing a bounty of antioxidants. And you can enjoy more time outdoors, soaking up some vitamin D from the sun. Perhaps you're more active, taking advantage of the weather and going for a nice bike ride. Or you just got back from a family vacation, where you finally got that much needed rest and relaxation.

Be proactive about stents!

There are many people, mostly over the age of 50, walking around with foreign objects in their chests. These objects are called stents, and they have been reported to be lifesavers to innumerable people with coronary artery disease. In the past, even people who didn't have a heart attack, but who did have partial heart blockages (i.e. coronary artery disease), would get stents. But recent medical literature questions whether everyone with heart disease needs a stent.

Be proactive and reduce your risk for congestive heart failure

It’s estimated that there are 5.8 million people in the U.S. who have congestive heart failure, with approximately 1 million hospitalizations as a result each year. Most of the hospitalizations for congestive heart failure tend to be for patients who are 65 or older, but the rate of congestive heart failure hospitalizations for males under 65 has been increasing over the years. With millions of people in the U.S. being affected by this condition, there’s a chance you may be at risk. But you've taken the first proactive step by educating yourself about congestive heart failure.

Avoid Overtreatment and Get an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading!

“Woah! I knew I was a little nervous, but I was not expecting my blood pressure to have increased by that much!” Well, it’s possible it didn’t. You may experience a “white coat effect,” where you get a high reading in the doctor’s office, but outside the office, your blood pressure is totally normal. And sometimes a high blood pressure reading is caused by something as small as the way you are sitting, such as when you cross your legs or need to use the restroom. Believe it or not, all these activities can give you a falsely high reading.

Can probiotics lower your cholesterol?

Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested, offer many potential health benefits. People typically take probiotic supplements for the digestive and immune-boosting benefits. They can also be found in fermented drinks like kombucha or in yogurts. Research continues to show there’s still much to learn about the potential applications of probiotics. One such potential – lowering cholesterol.

Yoga for heart health

Developed in India 3,000 years ago, yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Yoga helps create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body. While there are more than 100 different types of yoga, typically sessions are comprised of breathing exercises, meditation and holding various postures (sometimes called asanas or poses) that stretch and flex various muscle groups. While holding a yoga pose, you focus inward. You try to become more mindful of your body, as well as to focus and quiet the mind.

Is the nitric oxide promise for better workouts for real?

People looking for the latest thing to get a better workout with better results are increasingly turning to nitric oxide (NO). In addition to more productive workouts with greater workout tolerance, there are claims for increases in muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness to boot. As you can imagine, medical supplement stores are working to meet this demand by offering a variety of powders and supplements with so-called nitric oxide enhancers. But is the hype and promise real or will NO go the way of other exercise fads of the past? The answer may surprise you!

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