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Tobacco: A Highly Addictive Toxin

Smoking is the most immediately reversible contributor to heart disease.  It acutely activates platelets, which are cell parts in the bloodstream that help form clots.  So, within 24 hours of quitting smoking, your blood becomes less “sticky,” lowering the tendency to having a heart attack.  By the same token, though, don’t think that “one cigarette won’t hurt me.”  That could…

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Hypercholesterolemia: How Low Can You Go?

Like I discussed with hypertension management in my last blog, my patients get frustrated about the moving target for goals in treating hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol).  When I started my medical training in the 1980s, we generally looked at total cholesterol and considered it to be high if it was over 240.  Eventually we learned to look at the different components…

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Hypertension: A Moving Target

On my last blog, I discussed the major risk factors for coronary heart disease.  Today I’d like to talk a bit about high blood pressure—which we refer to as hypertension.  Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease. Furthermore, it is also a risk factor for other cardiovascular problems: heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and aneurysms,…

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Cardiac Risk Factors

Have you ever heard of the term risk factor, as in cardiac risk factors?  That’s the phrase we use to refer to aspects in a person’s medical history that affect the likelihood of him or her having a heart problem—in particular, the heart problem of coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease).  We also talk about risk factors for other heart problems, like heart failure and atrial fibrillation, but this blog is about coronary heart disease risk factors.

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