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Many Common Drugs Can Raise Blood Pressure

A very important new study of 27,599 adults, average age 47-50, showed that almost 15 percent of North American adults and almost 19 percent of those with high blood pressure take medications that can raise blood pressure. The blood-pressure-raising medicines taken most frequently were antidepressants, NSAIDs, steroids, and estrogens.

Less Salt, More Potassium to Help Prevent Heart Attacks

A review of six major studies that measured salt intake by the amount of salt in the urine found that a high salt intake is associated with significantly increased risk for suffering heart attacks and strokes. This review is extremely dependable because it measured salt intake directly by how much salt and potassium was secreted in a person’s urine each day, and did not depend on a patient's memory.

Blood Pressure is Often Higher in Wintertime

If you have high blood pressure in the winter, you are at increased risk for a heart attack, even if your blood pressure is normal in the summertime. Blood pressure is often higher in winter and lower in summer, and heart attacks are significantly more common in the winter than in the summer

Dangers of High Triglycerides

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has issued its latest recommendations for the treatment of fasting blood triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dL or non-fasting triglycerides greater than 175 mg/dL (J Am Coll Cardiol, Aug, 2021;78 (9): 960–993). Blood triglyceride levels are just as important as cholesterol levels in predicting your risk for heart attacks and diabetes. The new ACC recommendations emphasize lowering triglycerides with a diet that restricts refined carbohydrates (flour, extracted sugars, white rice and so forth).

New Guidelines on Aspirin for Heart Attack Prevention

Daily aspirin can help to prevent heart attacks, but the United States Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that: adults 60 years and older should not take aspirin to help prevent a first heart attack, and those 40-59 years old who are at high risk for heart disease should take aspirin only on their doctor’s recommendation

Stabilizing Plaques with Exercise and Possibly Statins

Heart attacks are not caused by plaques making arteries too narrow. They are caused by plaques suddenly breaking off from the inner lining of a heart artery, followed by bleeding, and then a clot forms that completely blocks all blood flow to a part of the heart muscle.

How Your Diet Affects Your Blood Pressure

Extensive recent research shows that high blood pressure is associated with having specific harmful bacteria in your colon, and that reducing harmful colon bacteria and increasing healthful ones can help to control high blood pressure. You can do this primarily by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, as well as by exercising regularly, losing excess weight, and avoiding smoke and alcohol.

High-Plant, Low-Salt Diet to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure affects 108 million adults, increasing risk for heart attacks, the leading cause of death in the United States. A Harvard study of 412 adults found that a low-salt version of the DASH diet dramatically lowered both high blood pressure and markers of heart muscle damage in just four weeks

Muscle Pain While Taking Statins for High Cholesterol

More than one hundred million North Americans have taken statin drugs that help to save lives by lowering cholesterol and preventing heart attacks. Ten to 20 percent of people who take statins have been reported to have suffered muscle pain, but a recent study from the UK claims to show that statins are no more likely than a placebo to cause muscle pain.

Excess Belly Fat Increases Heart Attack Risk Even If You Are Not Overweight

The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that a high waist circumference among individuals with normal weight appears to be a more reliable predictor of risk for heart attacks than just being overweight. The AHA recommends using the ratio of waist circumference to body height or the waist-to-hip ratio to warn about increased heart attack risk.

Omega-3’s from Fish and Plants Help to Prevent Heart Attacks

People who had higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids at the time of a heart attack were far less likely to die or to have repeat heart attacks within three years, compared to those who had lower levels. The sources of omega-3s in the 944 heart attack patients in this study included both fish and plants.

High Blood Pressure Increases Risk for Dementia

A study of 7063 people, average age 58.9 years, found that those who had high blood pressure had significantly lower memory and recognition test scores than the people with normal blood pressure. In four years of follow-up, they found that better control of high blood pressure during the study period helped to reduce the loss of mental function.

Check Your Own Blood Pressure

You can’t depend completely on blood pressure measurements done only in a doctor’s office because being active, having “white coat syndrome,” (feeling nervous or stressed), or an improper hurried measurement can raise blood pressure considerably. In one study, systolic blood pressure was 7.3 mm Hg higher in a doctor’s office than when measured more precisely in a research setting.

Blood Pressure During and After Exercise

Your blood pressure usually rises as soon as you start to exercise and drops a little bit while you exercise at the same intensity. However, as you continue to increase the intensity of exercise, your blood pressure usually rises higher and higher.

Inappropriate Stents

A final report on the official outcomes of the ISCHEMIA Studies was recently published. It suggests that most people with clogged arteries do as well with medication and lifestyle changes as they do after undergoing invasive procedures to reopen their blood vessels such as stents, balloon angioplasty or bypass surgery

Restrict Added Sugars to Reduce Heart Attack Risk

People who are at high risk for suffering a heart attack because they have a genetic factor that causes high LDL (bad) cholesterol should be treated with severe restriction of added sugars and all refined carbohydrates. The same advice should be given to people who are at increased risk for heart attacks for any reason.

Resting Heart Rates Can Be Too High or Too Low

A resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute is a strong predictor for future heart attacks, diabetes and even cancer. From 1974 to 2002, 53,322 healthy people were followed at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas. Those with a resting heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute were far less likely to suffer heart attacks or to die than those with a resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute

Atrial Fibrillation in Endurance Athletes

Medical researchers agree that exercising into old age helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes and cancers and prolongs lives, but one report shows that sometimes competing in endurance sports may cause atrial fibrillation.

Protein Loading May Increase Risk for Heart Attacks

Athletes in sports requiring great strength who eat a very-high protein diet increase their risk for dying at a young age of heart attacks, even though protein loading does not grow larger muscles.

Heart Attacks and Cancers Share the Same Risk Factors

People who have had heart attacks are also at high risk for certain cancers because the same lifestyle factors increase risk for both and appear to be far more important than genetics in determining your likelihood to suffer both conditions.

Co-Enzyme Q10 Pills Do Not Lessen Muscle Aches from Statins

Up to 20 percent of people who take statin drugs to lower cholesterol suffer from muscle aches, particularly when they try to exercise. A systematic review found eight studies that showed that Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) does not reduce statin-induced muscle pain, compared to placebo.

How Low Should Your Cholesterol Be?

Having high blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol (>100 mg/dL) is associated with increased risk for heart attacks and premature death, and is the single most important predictor of forming plaques in your arteries. Many experts recommend lowering elevated LDL levels to 70 mg/dL in people who are at increased risk for heart attacks.

Meat and Heart Disease

Many studies show that eating meat every day is associated with increased risk for heart disease, but until now we have had little data about the effects of eating meat less often than that. A new study followed 29,682 participants, average age 53.7, for 30 years and found that eating two servings per week of mammal meat or processed meat was associated with a seven percent increased risk of heart disease.

Yogurt or Cheese Instead of Milk Reduces Heart Attack Risk

A recent Danish study followed 54,903 healthy men and women, 50-64 years old, for 16 years. Those who ate primarily fermented dairy products such as cheese and yogurt were significantly less likely to suffer heart attacks than those who drank milk.

Weak Heart Muscle Associated with Weak Skeletal Muscles

As you age, you can expect to suffer from sarcopenia (loss of muscle size and strength). The smaller the muscles in the arms, legs and trunk, the smaller and weaker the upper and lower chambers of their heart. Having a smaller and weaker heart muscle puts a person closer to heart failure.

Metabolic Syndrome Predicts Heart Attacks and Diabetes

A huge study from Korea confirms that people with Metabolic Syndrome are at increased risk for heart attacks, and that when they correct some or all of the components of Metabolic Syndrome, their risk for a heart attack goes down dramatically.

High Calcium Artery Score Doesn’t Always Mean High Risk for a Heart Attack

Since heart attacks are usually caused by plaques breaking off from the inner linings of arteries leading to the heart, doctors use a test called Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CAC) to predict which people have the largest plaques and therefore are at high risk for suffering heart attacks that cause one out of four deaths in North America.

Stents and Bypass Surgery Not More Effective than Lifestyle Changes and Medication for Stable Heart Disease

The $100 million ISCHEMIA Trial showed that after four years, surgical treatments (stents or coronary artery bypass surgery) were not more effective than lifestyle changes and medication in preventing heart attacks deaths in patients with stable heart disease.

Statins and Alternatives to Lower Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol increases risk for a heart attack, but a review of 49 studies showed that the reduced risk for suffering a heart attack is the same for statins as it is for dietary changes.

NSAIDs and Heart Attack Risk

An analysis of 7,743 people suffering from osteoarthritis found that those who took NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) were at 41 percent increased risk for suffering heart attacks, heart failure and strokes, compared to arthritis patients who did not take NSAIDs.