Heart Health: What's New & What Works


The season of love is always a reminder to think about heart health. Here are some of the latest advances in cardiac care and prevention, plus some interesting heart facts.

Think you're too young to have a stroke?

Think again. The Journal of the American Heart Association reports that the rate of stroke in people under the age of 50 has been increasing. Most dramatically, the rate of stroke nearly doubled in those ages 35-39. The study doesn't tell us why these rates are going up; but it probably has something to do with similarly alarming upward trend in obesity, diabetes and other health conditions.

Broken heart syndrome

The death of a loved one, severe trauma or even a surprise party can trigger what's known as "Broken Heart Syndrome," a cardiac condition that can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat, among other symptoms. Stress-induced cardiomyopathy occurs when a flood of stress hormones are released, damaging the heart muscle and affecting its ability to function. Fortunately, the condition is usually temporary, treatable and rarely fatal.

Screening kids for high cholesterol

Starting at age 20, the American Heart Association recommends that both men and women get regular cholesterol tests once every four to six years, as long as you have no other risk factors. But recently, health organizations have started to promote cholesterol screening for children as young as three years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that all children ages 9-11 be screened for high cholesterol in order to identify problems early. This especially applies to children whose parents or grandparents have a history of heart disease or high cholesterol; and adopted children whose history is not known.

Alternatives to open heart surgery

New technology has made all types of surgery less invasive and more accurate, and cardiac surgery is no exception. A new transcatheter method can replace open heart surgery for some who need an aortic valve replacement. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR for short, is much like a stent or angiogram procedure and requires a similar recovery time. The new procedure makes valve replacement possible for patients who are not good candidates for open heart surgery.

Your incredible heart

Did you know that...Your heart beats approximately 100,000 times each day? That the heart of a blue whale can weigh up to 1500 pounds? That emotional health and a good education can lower your risk for heart disease? That the highest rates of heart attack happen on Christmas and New Year's? (source)

For more information about current cardiac research, heart health and education, visit www.heart.org.

For any insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

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