cardiovascular disease

Has an aspirin replaced the apple? Is it true that an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away? The short answer is perhaps; the long answer is complicated. Physicians straddle that divide by simplifying, creating what I refer to as “indication creep” – prescribing medications that afford more psychic than physical benefit. 

The benefit of a daily aspirin for individuals that have already had a heart attack or stroke is well documented, reducing the chance of a second heart attack, stroke or death. But therapeutically, there is no free lunch. Aspirin can cause bleeding, often from a pre-existing ulcer or a tumor, but that isn’t always the case. Higher aspirin dosages increase the bleeding risk; a low dose aspirin (75-162mg) strikes the right balance, with the lowest risk of bleeding...

There is more evidence mounting to an already robust knowledge database that a man’s erectile dysfunction (ED) can be linked to a higher rate of cardiovascular (CV) events.

The latest work to be discussed here demonstrated such men had a “higher relative risk of myocardial infarction [or heart attack], total CV events, and all-cause mortality.” (1)

First, let’s review a few facts about ED and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

  • CVD is leading cause of death in men (with significant rates in young & old)
  • > 30 million men in U.S. are affected by ED
  • ED impacts > 50% of men aged 40-70 years and >...

The Finnish people live a bit longer than those of us in the United States. While the reasons are multifactorial, a study in the Journal of Human Hypertension [1] wants to give some credit to the cardiovascular benefits of – the sauna. No pills to remember or special dietary injunctions, just a 30-minute time-out in the sauna.

The authors looked at 100 individuals without a history of cardiovascular symptoms who had at least one risk factor, hypertension, obesity, smoking, cholesterol problems or a family history of coronary artery disease. Elevated cholesterol and family history were the primary risk factors, and they were generally a well 50-year-old. Each underwent a sauna treatment at 73 C (163 F) for 30 minutes interspersed with a 2-minute warm shower with a variety of...

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) adversely impacts over 30 million men in the United States to some extent.  Medical efforts to combat this considerable personal strain and relationship stressor are replete with various shortcomings.  

Depending upon the cause, treatment options can be limited.  Traditionally as a last resort when a man is ineligible or has failed less invasive alternatives, surgical insertion of a penile implant is considered.  

The common types that exist fall under the inflatable (IPP) or malleable (MPP) penile prosthetic umbrellas.  Innovation in this field has been relatively stagnant the last 40 years which is why a team of researchers —whose concept was recently patent-approved...

Finally, some worthwhile data.  

In our current culture —especially in the medical sphere, acquiring data for data’s sake has become its own illness whose insidious contagion serves further to fracture and fragment our health care delivery.  

Though I don’t routinely find good news in the topic of death, being the skeptical optimist that I am enables me to see the potential in a new study published in JAMA detailing the mortality rates for major causes of death from 1980-2014.  

Why the cheer?  Because the report is documenting United States county-level trends.  Recognize it is a tempered one, but cheer nonetheless.  Until we start to recognize that policy decisions and implementation...

By now everyone knows that smoking damages the lungs, causing bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. Along with that goes heart damage, with smokers at a greater risk of heart failure than non-smokers or ex-smokers. A new report in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging provides insight into one possible mechanism by which smoking interferes with normal heart function.

Dr. Wilson Nadruz Jr. from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston,  and colleagues studied nearly 4600 participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study. At the time of the study, these people were free of coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart valve disease. They were categorized with respect to...

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the #1 cause of death in the United States. This is the result of the overwhelming success of vaccines, sanitation, and various public health campaigns. No longer are Americans dying of diarrhea and diphtheria (the #3 and #10 causes of death in 1900, respectively). Instead, we are largely dying from so-called lifestyle diseases, like CVD.

Still, finding ways to delay the inevitable is in the public interest, not just in terms of improving the quality of life but also lowering the cost of healthcare. With those aims in mind, the CDC examined the association between occupation groups and risk factors for CVD in 21 states for its most recent issue of the Morbidity and Mortality...

Heart disease via Shutterstock Heart disease via Shutterstock

Sometimes the greatest discoveries in science occur when the prevailing dogma is challenged. It has been taught and accepted that low density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol — the one that blocks arteries and causes heart disease. Most in the medical field would readily agree that the use of statins, a class of medication to help reduce cholesterol, is effective in preventing death overall as well as death from heart attacks and strokes.

A recent...

Triathlon cyclist via Shutterstock Triathlon cyclist via Shutterstock

I've always been fascinated by those who have the desire and drive to become a triathlete. Namely, what motivates them to push their bodies to extreme levels, and not only in just one sport -- but in three sports consecutively: swimming, biking and running. Even though I've been athletic my entire life and fully enjoyed the sports in which I've participated, I really am in awe of those who can compete in these grueling races.

That is, until I hear about...

DuffyDog ownership has been touted as being good for one's health for years. Now a new  scientific study, just presented at the meeting of the American Heart Association, supports what seems to have become common knowledge — dogs are good for you. Senior author on the study was Dr. Tove Fall from Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. Dr. Fall and colleagues used the national Register of the Total...