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HEALTH
February 7, 2011 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
If you want to improve the health and fitness of your heart and blood vessels, you can. Basic lifestyle changes involving diet, exercise and smoking can make a big difference. It also helps to keep an eye on some key numbers, including blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and blood glucose. Last year, the American Heart Assn. winnowed all this advice into a checklist called Life's Simple Seven. For each item on the list, the AHA set criteria that define ideal cardiovascular health.
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NEWS
February 7, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Just as American Heart Month begins, a reader sent in a question on checking blood pressure at home -- which, as it turns out, is more nuanced than it looks. So what's the proper way to go about it? There are a couple of concerns when using a home monitoring device to measure blood pressure: which arm to use, and how long to wait before testing. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Assn. have some guidance on the subject. There's usually a slightly measurable difference in blood pressure between your arms, according to the heart association . Your dominant arm will probably be higher.
HEALTH
February 7, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
"I think I'm having anxiety," Leonard Castro told his wife on a day back in September. Some time in the days running up to Sept. 9, multiple factors that made 46-year-old Leonard Castro a prime candidate for a heart attack converged. His body was groaning: Blood pressure too high. Too much bad cholesterol. Too much sugar in the blood. Too much weight. Over the years, the walls in the arteries of his heart had narrowed and stiffened with plaque. The cells in those arteries became inflamed, a medical term perfectly derived from the Latin word "inflammare" : to set on fire.
HEALTH
February 7, 2011 | By Bill Hillman, Special to the Los Angeles Times
It was 4:05 a.m. on Oct. 29, 2009. I heard my wife, Dianne, say, "I think I'm having a heart attack. " I opened my eyes and saw her standing in the bathroom doorway. She grabbed her chest, took one step and collapsed on the bed. Two weeks earlier, a friend had e-mailed me a medical report stating that chest compressions were better than traditional CPR and that the survival rate was greatly improved because chest compressions not only massaged the heart but sent blood into the brain, thus preventing brain damage.
NEWS
February 3, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Obesity rates around the world have about doubled between 1980 and 2008, but not all the news is bad--some countries have shown a decline in average blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a leveling off of body mass index. The news comes via several studies released Thursday in the Lancet , which detail how various countries and regions are faring in terms of BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Overall, between 1980 and 2008, global BMI increased on average 0.4 to 0.5 kilograms (about 0.9 to 1.1 pounds)
NEWS
February 2, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines told us this week that we should lower our salt intake to fight hypertension. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that far too many Americans have untreated hypertension  (and untreated bad cholesterol profiles, to boot).   And “heart health” month has only begun. Readers will need stamina to get through all 28 days of it. In addition to salt reduction, a variety of lifestyle measures can help people get their blood pressure down.
NEWS
February 1, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
One out of every three adult Americans has high cholesterol levels and two-thirds of them do not have it under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. Similarly, one out of every three adults has high blood pressure and half of them do not have it under control. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two of the major risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 800,000 people every year.
NEWS
January 4, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Intravenous fluids given to a trauma victim at an accident site may not be the best treatment and in many cases may actually be counterproductive, increasing the risk that a patient will die, researchers said Tuesday. Taking the time to insert an IV line may delay getting the patient to the hospital where treatment can be initiated and administering fluids may not be the most appropriate treatment, according to the study, published online in the Annals of Surgery ahead of publication in the February issue of the journal.
NEWS
January 3, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Fruta Planta, a supplement that some users might consider "natural" and thus "healthy," is the latest weight-loss product to be recalled by its maker after a Food and Drug Administration warning. Apparently the product known as  Fruta Planta or Reduce Weight Fruta Planta has been linked to several heart attacks and one death. This Orlando Sentinel story says one of the ingredients -- sibutramine, pulled from the market in December --  caused the agency to act. The article states: "Sibutramine is known to increase blood pressure and pulse rate in some patients and may present a serious risk for those with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure , arrhythmias or stroke.
HEALTH
December 31, 2010 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday advised consumers not to buy or use two drinks sold as supplements for sexual enhancement. The products, Rock Hard Extreme and Passion Coffee, are sold on websites and possibly in retail outlets, the agency said. Laboratory analysis indicated that both contain sulfoaildenafil, an active pharmaceutical ingredient that is similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. Sulfoaildenafil could interact with prescription medications that include nitrates, the FDA warned, lowering blood pressure to "dangerous levels.
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