Heart Health

If you think high cholesterol levels means getting heart disease, think again! On this page, I tell you what I consider to be the top 12 risk factors for heart disease and having high cholesterol isn’t one of them!

No way, says Mark Houston, M.D., a leading expert on hypertension. The fact is that most physicians recognize and treat no more than the five top risk factors for coronary heart disease (also known as atherosclerosis): high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and smoking. And that’s not good enough!

Heart palpitations can be frightening. If you are getting them, should you be concerned or not?

Denial Can Be Deadly... According to the dictionary, denial, psychologically-speaking, means “a condition in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc., is true or real.”  In cardiology, denial refers to a fairly common habit among patients to admit that they have a heart problem. Such denial can be deadly! Know how to recognize these symptoms of a heart attack...

Over the years in my cardiology practice, I encountered many patients with psoriasis, a chronic, autoimmune disease that can develop on any part of the body. The most common form appears as raised, red patches and a silvery buildup of dead skin cells. As many as 7.5 million Americans have the condition, which researchers say puts them at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.

What is mitral valve prolapse?

Mitral valve prolapse is a fairly common medical problem that is the focus of some controversy and even confusion among both physicians and those who suffer from it. There is at the same time less to it and more to it than at first appears. Mitral valve prolapse is named for a heart valve and is usually first diagnosed as a faint heart "click" or murmur, though it isn't a form of "heart disease" in any conventional sense. It's a relatively benign condition, though it is linked to a confusing array of seemingly unrelated symptoms, from shortness of breath to panic attacks. Mitral valve prolapse is generally the most benign of the various types of heart murmurs, and is probably genetic in origin. It is the most common valvular disorder in industrialized nations at the present, since the risk of heart murmurs from rheumatic fever has been reduced. Mitral valve prolapse is thought to affect five percent of the population, or nearly seven million people, though the number of borderline cases may be much higher.

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