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Medically reviewed by Dr. Alan Blaker

Testosterone is a powerful hormone. It makes voices deep, grows beards and helps develop muscle mass. It might also help protect men against heart problems.  MIGHT is the key word.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Leask

Americans love numbers.  We rate baseball players with a range of statistics. We rank golfers.  We grade ourselves on everything from academics to attractiveness (“He’s a 9 out of 10.”) Another set of numbers important to everyone are how much things we do (or don’t do) increases our risk of heart disease – 200% (2x) to 600% (6x). “It’s good to know how your lifestyle is affecting the possibility that you will suffer heart disease or die of a heart attack,” says McLeod Cardiologist Gavin Leask, MD.  "The following list shows you which actions (or lack of) increase your heart risk.”

Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Carmichael

Success, A Blend of Skilled Surgeons & Technological Developments. In 2014, a person with a faulty heart valve can have it replaced and expect extraordinarily low operative mortality rates and minimal complications. Today’s positive reality represents decades of research and refined surgical skills. 1960s - MECHANICAL VALVES. The first aortic valve replacement occurred in 1960, using a mechanical valve that was essentially a ball loosely fit inside a ring. It was soon replaced by a valve using a disk that tilted open and closed.  Eventually, a valve was developed with two leaflets. Leaf versions of the mechanical valve can last a long time but the patient must take medication to prevent blood from thickening and clotting the valve opening. 

Medically Reviewed by Evans Holland, MD

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) describes a gradual weakening of the heart over time.  As it weakens, the body tries to compensate.  With the weakening, the heart may have to pump faster to maintain the blood pressure.  Blood and oxygen are diverted from some parts of the body, such as muscles, to keep organs working.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Gabor Winkler

Lack of blood flow in your leg can lead to amputation. Now is the time to take action to prevent this tragedy. The general condition of blocked arteries in the legs and arms is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).  


Medically Reviewed by Timothy Hagen DO May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Stroke is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing on average 1 American every 4 minutes.There are a number of risks that can lead to a stroke. Among those risks are smoking, migraines, high blood pressure, and oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. Another key risk factor is an irregular heartbeat called Atrial Fibrillation. In addition to heart palpitations, and dizziness, Afib can open the door to a crippling or fatal stroke.  McLeod Neurologist Dr. Timothy Hagen describes the problem.


Medically Reviewed by Timothy Hagen, DO
May is National Stroke Awareness Month.  Stroke is the leading cause of death and long-term disability in the United States.  For a number of reasons, more women suffer this “heart attack of the brain” than men.  A number of issues – such as migraine headaches with auras, smoking, hormone therapy, preeclampsia during pregnancy, age and family history – can put a woman at increased risk of stroke.  High blood pressure is both a risk of stroke and a sign to watch for. “Blood Pressure is the number one risk factor that a person can do something about,” says McLeod Neurologist Dr. Timothy Hagen. To help you, he explains the right technique to track your blood pressure at home.

Stroke. You Could Die…or….

Posted on in Heart Health

May is National Stroke Awareness Month Tips on Lowering Your Risk of Long-Term Disability
Medically Reviewed by Timothy Hagen, DO

Stroke is the leading cause of death in the United States – with more women suffering a stroke than men, thanks to risk factors, such as migraines, hormone therapy and oral contraceptives. Death from stroke is tragic. Yet, stroke “survivors” can take months to recover from the disabilities. And up to 30% of the stroke survivors never recover.

Cut Your Risk of a Stroke

Posted on in Heart Health

May is National Stroke Awareness Month  Medically Reviewed by Nicolette Naso, MD

All of a sudden you feel dizzy. You try to talk, but it doesn’t come out right. Your leg (or arm or face) feels weak and numb. A splitting headache hits you out of the blue.  Your vision blurs. The symptoms of a stroke seem simple and straightforward.  However, a survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that only 38% of people could correctly identify all 5 symptoms of stroke. If these appear SUDDENLY, call 911 immediately. Stroke is the leading cause of death and long-term disability in the US. 

Unique Heart Risks for Women

Posted on in Heart Health

Medically Reviewed by Alan Blaker, MD

Not only do heart attacks in women exhibit with symptoms different from men, but women are different from men in the way some risk factors affect them. “Most coronary heart disease risk factors affect men as well as women,” says McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker, MD. “Three risks unique to women are related to birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause.”

Are You Too Old for Heart Valve Surgery?

Posted on in Heart Health

Medically Reviewed by Cary Huber, MD

Fact: More than 300,000 people worldwide have heart valve surgery annually. Fact: Valve Replacement and Heart Bypass surgery (or a combination of the two) are the most common procedures in the “elderly.” Fact: More than 30% of the patients having heart valve surgery are over 70. Fact: More than 20% of heart valve surgical patients are over 75 years of age. 

5 Weird Heart Risks You May Not Know About

Posted on in Heart Health

Medically reviewed by Anil OM, MD

Baldness. Earlobes. Airports. Bowling Alleys. Breakfast. Yes, real scientific studies have shown that these 5 things are related to your risk of heart and vascular disease.  Here are some fun facts that have a serious side.

Medically reviewed by Michael Carmichael, MD

Koreans would tell you that Kimchi – a spicy, fermented CABBAGE dish – can change your life. However, our apologies to Kimchi. In this article we are discussing the Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery, also known by its initials CABG and pronounced “cabbage.” It is also known as heart bypass surgery.

Medically Reviewed by Michael Carmichael, MD

Want to have something in common with TV personality Barbara Walters? She had a TAVI.The most common heart valve problem is a narrowing of the aortic valve – the gateway for blood leaving the heart for the rest of the body. Aortic stenosis reduces the amount of oxygenated blood that reaches organs.

In 1831, a veterinarian described a condition of lameness that hit horses after exercise defining the problem as “claudication” from the Latin word meaning “to limp.”

These days, claudication describes a similar problem that affects 10% of people over 70, as well as about 2% of people aged 37-69. Men are twice as likely as women to suffer this health issue. Claudication symptoms are described as aching, burning, weakness or “dead weight” in their legs when walking.

Aortic Aneurysm - Screening Is Important.

Posted on in Heart Health

QUESTION: What can we do about a medical issue that 1) involves the largest, most important blood vessel in the body, 2) has few, if any, symptoms and 3) has a 90% risk of death if it ruptures?

ANSWER: If you are a man, a smoker and are age 65-75, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends an immediate ultrasound screening by your physician or a vascular specialist for an aortic aneurysm.

Healthcare Ratings: How They Stack Up.

Posted on in Heart Health

Over the years, most people have relied on recommendations from friends and family when choosing a doctor or hospitals. With the rise of the Internet, easily and often accessed by health consumers, ratings and rankings boomed. To be an informed consumer, it’s good to understand what information each rating uses and how it is compiled. Here’s a brief overview.

Organizations compile their ratings with different information, from different sources with different formulas to make the data consumer-friendly. Here are the most common ways in which ratings are generated:

Medically Reviewed by Scot Schultz, MD

Over 300,000 patients with coronary artery disease undergo heart bypass surgery each year. Hear the words “heart bypass surgery,” you might think of the traditional approach which includes stopping the patient’s heart for about an hour.  During this time, blood is diverted into a heart-lung machine that keeps the patient alive, while the surgeon sews arteries or veins from the leg or arm beyond the blocked arteries on the heart.

Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for stroke, making a person 5 times more likely to suffer stroke. 

WHAT IS IT?  Atrial Fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat. It is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat rapidly and unpredictably, producing a changeable heartbeat. 

A temporary fluttering in the chest.  An extra or skipped beat.  This is something that almost everyone has experienced.  It's usually nothing but could be a sign of something more serious. 

The Problem. Think of the heart like a machine that requires electrical impulses to travel through it in a certain path to keep blood pumping regularly.  When the impulses don’t travel in the correct path, the heart’s chambers (2 upper atriums, 2 lower ventricles) don’t expand and contract in a coordinated manner. A rapid beating in the upper chambers prevents the heart from pumping blood adequately to the lower chambers. At times the heart may beat too fast or too slowly. 

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