• Kaitlin Forbes interview for LIVESTRONG.COMKaitlin Forbes takes heart health seriously. At 20 years old, she is an American Heart Association Heart Hero, who is studying to be an athletic trainer at the community college in Rhinebeck, New York. Kaitlin also helped found the Heart Safe Club in Rhinebeck, which teaches the American Heart Association Heartsaver course for Adult and Child CPR, relief of choking and use of Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs.

    However, Kaitlin almost never had the opportunity to be part of the American Heart Association or even go to college, because just five years ago she collapsed on the softball field during a co-ed P.E. class.

    Kaitlin's heart stopped beating.

    At 15, Kaitlin was a super-athlete, competing in three varsity sports at Rhinebeck High School. "I was extremely active, in really, really good shape," says Kaitlin. "I was 15, the only things I thought about were sports, and boys, and my friends. Death was the last thing that crossed my mind." So, when the school made the

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    by GALTime.com

    Frightening news when it comes to young people and strokes. While stroke is often thought of as an old person's condition, new research shows a startling jump in patients aged 20-45.

    "This is scary and very concerning," said Brett M. Kissela, M.D., the study's lead author and Associate Professor, Co-Director of the Neurology Residency Program, and Vice-Chair of Education and Clinical Services at the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute.

    According to the research: The average age of a patient suffering a first stroke in 1993-1994 was about 71. In 2005, it was just over 68, a significant decrease.

    But what concerned researchers even more was the percentage of stroke patients ages 20 to 45 jumped up to 7.3 percent in 2005 from 4.5 percent in 1993-1994.

    Dr. Kissela said, "What was shocking was the proportion of patients under age 45. The proportion is up, the incidence rate is up."

    (See Heart Disease Strikes Kids,Too)

    Kissela said it's hard to

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  • By Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, LD - DietsInReview.com

    February is American Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States. One way to reduce your risk of heart disease while maintaining a healthy lifestyle is with the DASH Diet, of which many people are not aware. The National Institutes of Health recommends this diet plan, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

    In recent studies for the DASH Diet, the addition of fruits, vegetables and dairy products lowered blood pressure - even when sodium was as high as 3,000 milligrams each day! Every millimeter the blood pressure falls reduces the risk of heart attack and strokes for people with high blood pressure. It's worth believing that small changes will garner big results. Your everyday decisions really do matter.

    The DASH "diet" focuses on an eating plan that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and low-fat or non-fat dairy.

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  • By Molly McAdams

    What you eat and drink, your activity level, how you cope with stress and other individual lifestyle factors help determine the health of your heart. Heart disease is a progressive condition that can start early in life but can also be prevented or controlled by making smart lifestyle choices. Follow a heart-healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, do what you can to reduce stress and live a life of moderation and you will be well on your way to maintaining a healthy heart.

    Eat a Low-fat Diet
    A heart-healthy diet is low in total fat, saturated fats and trans fats that raise blood cholesterol levels. To cut saturated fat, choose lean cuts of meat and remove skin from poultry before eating. Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products. To avoid trans fats, check the ingredient list on all commercially processed food products, especially baked goods and crackers, and avoid any that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

    Add Fiber
    Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol

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  • By Bailey Vincent Clark

    1. Get Going, Get Cardio
    The road to physical fitness and wellness can often be overwhelming, but there is no greater place to begin than starting a cardio exercise routine. Cardiovascular exercise is heart-pumping, sweat-inducing physical fitness that gets your body moving, mobilizes your joints and helps improve your cardiovascular system. Cardio exercise can not only improve your overall health, strength, and endurance, but it can increase energy and stamina throughout daily living. To begin a cardio exercise routine, start by sitting down and creating a list of all the activities you have formerly enjoyed or have wanted to try.

    2. Pick Your Favorites
    Review your list of favorite activities and assess what sports or forms of fitness your might want to try. The key to creating a lasting cardio exercise routine is choosing activities that you enjoy. If you dislike a certain exercise (such as running or swimming), you will inevitably abandon your cardio goals

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  • Taking care of ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to live a long, healthy life. And, the more we take care of our hearts, the more they will take care of us. Heart health is extremely important in preventing heart disease, which can include stroke and heart attack. Regardless of your age, gender or race, there are some very simple things you can do to take care of your heart and keep it ticking for years to come.

    1. Get Moving:
    Staying active is tremendously beneficial to keeping your heart strong and healthy. You might assume that this means hitting the gym every day for long protracted periods of time, but it only takes 30 minutes of activity each day to reduce risk of heart disease. Regular activity helps the body stay strong and function properly.
    2. Enjoy Healthy Fats:
    Consuming healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (specifically Omega-3s), while limiting unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats) will help to boost your good cholesterol and

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  • Limit sodium. Ban trans fats. I know, I know. Keeping my heart in healthy form means paying attention to what I eat. And, let's face it: I'm a nutrition editor, so I obviously like eating healthfully. But what's with all of the negative talk? Can't we just focus on what we can eat? What I should eat? Let's hear something positive for a change. And that's why I absolutely love the American Heart Association's recommendation to eat fish, particularly fatty kinds like salmon, twice a week to get healthy amounts of omega-3s. (Get more with easy recipes for Blackened Salmon Sandwich and 25+ more meals.)

    Eating fatty fish may reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent, research suggests. The omega-3 fats in fish lower triglycerides and blood pressure; they also can help prevent irregular heart rhythms. (Click here for a full 28-day meal plan of heart-healthy recipes.)

    Right now, I'm pregnant (not to mention feeding a little guy who's not yet two), so I'm careful to make my two

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  • How to identify angina

    Angina is a type of chest pain caused by poor blood flow to the heart because of blocked blood vessels (coronary arteries). Three types of angina can cause symptoms. Stable angina is a chest pain that occurs with exertion. Unstable angina is a sudden chest pain that may not correlate with exertion and variant angina has no correlation with exertion and is caused by a blood vessel spasm in the heart. You should be aware of angina attack symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.

    Chest Pain
    Chest pain or discomfort is the most common angina symptom. You may feel tightness, pressure or a squeezing type of pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people say that it feels like someone is standing on their chest. However, women may experience a stabbing, pulsating or sharp form of pain. This pain occurs because the heart muscle tissue is lacking of oxygen-rich blood. Seek immediate medical attention if this is a new symptom or becoming worse.

    Radiating Pain
    Medline Plus states that

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  • Dr. Leslie Anne Saxon is head of Cardiology at USC Keck School of Medicine and LIVESTRONG.COM's Chief Medical Advisor and host of LIVESTRONG.COM's new show, "Health Matters". I sat down with her to talk about the Women's Heart Center she is opening at USC, the importance of a woman-centric approach to heart health, and her first "Health Matters" show on Sudden Cardiac Death.

    Krisserin Canary: What do you mean when you say a "woman-centric" approach to heart health?

    Dr. Leslie Anne Saxon: There is no female-centric approach toward heart health. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death of women in America and 70 percent to 80 percent of all research conducted on heart disease has been done on men. All the data we have, all the tests we have, have all been developed for men.

    Canary: Are men and women's chemistry so different that it could severely impact our care?

    Dr. Saxon: There is just so much that goes into how a heart condition is treated in a woman. Heart health changes at every

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  • There's a saying that no one ever died from a broken heart, but findings from a new study at Johns Hopkins (published in The New England Journal of Medicine) suggest it can do a lot more damage than you think.

    The clinical research showed that some people may respond to sudden, overwhelming emotional stress such as unexpected breakup or severe grief by releasing large amounts of catecholamines into the blood stream, along with their breakdown products and the small proteins produced by an over-excited nervous system. These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart, effectively stunning the muscle and producing symptoms similar to a typical heart attack, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and heart failure.

    In other words, these broken heart syndrome (BHS) symptoms can cause a seemingly healthy heart to stop working normally--all due to the emotional stress brought on by something like an unexpected breakup. (This is not really a surprise to us, the

    Read More »from Can a broken heart cause actual heart damage? A new study says YES.

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