Cocoa and Multivitamins: Two Keys to Better Health?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 23, 2014

Does the cocoa bean contain heart health benefits?

Is there something valuable for your heart inside the cocoa bean?

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Mars, Incorporated are partnering to conduct the largest-ever clinical investigation of the heart health benefits of cocoa flavanols – especially their role in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.

Flavanols are natural compounds that can be found in cocoa beans and a variety of other food sources. Although cocoa flavanols can be found in some forms of chocolate, they can be provided in significantly higher concentrations as a capsule or powder (mix). In this particular trial, the cocoa flavanols will be provided in a capsule and compared to a placebo.

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Get a Leg Up on Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 9, 2014

Chances are you know someone who has been affected by heart disease, America’s leading cause of death in both men and women. More than 1,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur each day in the United States, and nine out of 10 occur at home. Unfortunately, only one in three people survive sudden cardiac arrest.

Derek Daly beat the odds. In August 2009, Derek suffered cardiac arrest at home. Fortunately, his wife was able to immediately start CPR and, with the help of his family and first responders, he survived. Derek was brought to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) for treatment.

While visiting BWH during his recovery and rehabilitation, Derek heard about ClimbCorps. Founded at BWH, ClimbCorps is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and improving individual health by transforming the stairwells of Boston’s tallest office buildings into fitness venues.

As someone who was always active, Derek wanted to get back to the activities he loved as quickly as possible. He decided to participate in ClimbCorps’ January 2013 event called ClimbAmerica!, which raises funds and awareness for heart disease prevention. Along with 1,600 other participants, he successfully reached the top of Boston’s Prudential Building in support of this important cause.

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A Heartfelt Resolution for the New Year

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 1, 2014

Walking is one of the best activities for improving your heart health.

This is the time of year when we traditionally make bold resolutions to improve our health or some other aspect of our lives. But how do we turn those resolutions into solutions?

Focus on a goal that is measurable, achievable, and has the potential to significantly impact your life. One such goal is improving your heart health.

Everyone can do something to improve their heart health, as long as they follow a reasonable plan. Below are some helpful – and reasonable – tips from our Cardiovascular Wellness Service team for getting your heart in shape and lowering your heart disease risks.

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A Hearty Dose of Cardiovascular Advice and Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 12, 2013

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and it is also one of the leading causes of disability. As part of American Heart Month, we offer insight from our clinicians and researchers about how to reduce your heart disease risks and what new things we’re learning about cardiovascular disease and treatment.


Heart Disease: Eliminate Excuses to Reduce Your Risks

Dr. Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH, tells his patients that they’ll dramatically reduce their risk of developing heart disease if they follow a few simple guidelines for reducing their blood pressure (hypertension). Genetics can indeed play a role in developing high blood pressure, but obesity, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, stress, and salt intake are all hypertension risk factors that you can  control.


Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Cholesterol Drugs

If you’ve been taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering what you should do in light of new warnings about the link between statin use and diabetes. Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital may help you and your doctor weigh the benefits and risks.

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BWH Launches ClimbAmerica! for Heart Health

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 9, 2013

Taking the stairs is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your daily life - and improve your heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in three deaths nationwide and claiming nearly 600,000 lives each year. The good news is that by making simple lifestyle changes like eating healthy and staying active, you have the power to prevent heart disease.

That’s why Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) created ClimbAmerica! – a special event produced by ClimbCorps to rouse people’s spirit in the fight against heart disease and raise funds to improve America’s health.

Launched by BWH, ClimbCorps is the nation’s first service corps dedicated to revolutionizing the cardiovascular health and wellness of the American public. Based on the simple principle that physical activity is needed to maintain better health, ClimbCorps leverages an easy way to incorporate exercise into daily life – by taking the stairs.

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Are Tight Deadlines Hurting Your Heart?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 19, 2012

Stress at work could be affecting your heart health.

Bosses of the world, take heed. If you’re pressuring your employees to perform, you might be doing a lot more than just stressing them out.

New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) suggests that women with high job strain (high demands and low control) and active job strain (high demands and high control) are much more likely to experience a cardiovascular-related event than women with low job strain. To determine who has high job strain –defined as having a demanding job that provides limited opportunity for decision making or using your creative or individual skills – researchers analyzed self-reported data from some 22,000 women who participated in the landmark Women’s Health Study.

They found that women with high or active job strain were 38 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular-related event (condition or invasive procedure), including heart attack, stroke, coronary artery bypass graft, coronary angioplasty, and cardiovascular death. Perhaps most notable among these risks is that a woman with high job strain is 70 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Even women who have a relatively high level of control at their workplace – physicians, executives, nurses, teachers, and managers – were found to be at greater risk for a cardiovascular event because of the intense demands of their jobs.

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Online Tools to Help You Fight America’s Top Killer

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 10, 2012

Online Tools to Help You Fight America's Top Killer

Learn how to prevent cardiovascular disease with our free online tools.

The numbers are staggering. Cardiovascular disease is behind one out of every three deaths in the United States. Heart attack and stroke claim the lives of more than two thousand Americans every day. But, the nation’s number one killer is largely preventable.

“More than 90 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease can be prevented,” says Dr. JoAnne Foody, a cardiologist and Director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “And, the steps to reduce the risks are fairly simple.”

Dr. Foody explains that there are seven ideal health metrics to help prevent cardiovascular disease, which were recently published by the American Heart Association:

  1. No smoking
  2. Physical activity (walking, biking, swimming, etc.) for 30 minutes most days of the week
  3. Blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg (untreated)
  4. Normal blood glucose (fasting glucose of less than 100 mg/dL)
  5. Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL
  6. BMI of less than 25
  7. Healthy eating

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Choose a Wealthy State for a Healthy Heart

Posted by Blog Administrator April 4, 2012

map wealthy state for a healthy heart

The wealth of your state can affect the state of your health.

It looks like women can add geography to their list of heart disease risk factors.

According to new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), the financial health of your home state can have an impact on your heart health. A study led by Dr. Cheryl Clark, Director of Health Equity Research and Intervention at the BWH Center for Community Health and Health Equity, compared each state’s gross domestic product, poverty rate, and financial inequality to rates of cardiovascular inflammation among their female residents.

Cardiovascular inflammation is a major contributor to the development of plaque inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and is also a strong predictor of heart attacks in healthy women. To determine the presence of cardiovascular inflammation in a patient, researchers measured the blood levels of C-reactive protein and two other substances that are reliable indicators of the early development of atherosclerosis.

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