Category: Heart Health

A stoplight flashes yellow in the middle of a city

A yellow caution light for high blood pressure

Categories: Heart Health  /  News

So your doctor says you’ve got prehypertension. Two questions: What the heck is prehypertension? And now what? Prehypertension identifies people at risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don’t take steps to improve their lifestyle habits. Someone who ends up with full-blown high blood pressure may, in time, develop heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness or dementia. They may have to stay on prescription drugs for life. The “prehypertension” numbers to remember are 120 over 80 up to 139 over 89. That reading should be seen as a yellow light. According to guidelines issued by the federal government, …Read More >

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A person in a blue shirt reaches into a pack of cigarettes

A campaign for smoke-free kids

Categories: Children's Health  /  Heart Health  /  News

San Antonio’s health director, Colleen Bridger, said this week she wants to raise the age limit for buying tobacco products in the city from 18 to 21 — a campaign known as Tobacco 21. “When you look at what we haven’t yet achieved, (Tobacco 21) is the single most important public health policy we can pass,” Bridger told the Rivard Report. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is measuring community support for raising the age limit, with the idea of enacting a local ordinance by the end of the year. Parents probably won’t mind getting a little help in trying …Read More >

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A young woman sleeps on a bed in silk pajamas

Can’t sleep? It might be making you sick

Categories: Heart Health  /  News

Can’t get a good night sleep? You’re not alone. Several problems can contribute to poor sleep, but snoring is one of the most common and obvious – if not for the snorer, then for the spouse. Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the sleeper’s airway is temporarily blocked, causing the sleeper to gasp for air multiple times a night. Airways can be blocked by the tissues of the soft palate or the tonsils, or sometimes by fat in the neck. The sleeper often is not aware they’re waking up, but may feel sleepy or …Read More >

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Three senior women smile in the pool together

Remember the moon landing? Then you REALLY need some exercise

Categories: Heart Health  /  News

Exercise. Love it or hate it, it’s been described by experts as the closest thing we have to a miracle drug — with so many health benefits confirmed by research that there’s no question that all of us should be working out in some form or another. That includes older adults. Regular exercise is especially important as we age. It improves heart health, maintains a healthy weight, keeps joints flexible and helps improve balance to reduce the risk of falls. But the benefits go beyond even that.  One study found that adults 75 years and older who exercised lived longer than those …Read More >

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A man in a plaid shirt frowns as steam comes out of his ears on an isolated background

Tamping down a hot temper

Categories: Heart Health  /  News

We’ve all felt it — an anger that begins to bubble up inside us during an argument, after a broken promise, or maybe as a result of someone’s rude or thoughtless words or actions. The problem is if anger occurs frequently or intensifies into rage. In those cases, experts say, you might take a few deep breaths and consider a few tips to keep that temper under control. Otherwise, you could be damaging your health. Is it an underlying illness? Frequent feelings of aggression might stem from post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, or some other illness. If you suspect that …Read More >

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Four doctors operate on a patient in a medical facility

A safer way to repair hearts and reduce the risk of kidney damage

Categories: Heart Health  /  News  /  Surgery  /  Technology

The ability of doctors to thread catheters and stents through blood vessels has transformed medicine — often providing an alternative to big incisions and long recovery times. More than a million catheterizations to repair the heart and its vessels are performed in the United States each year. But for some patients with kidney disease, those catheter procedures come with a big asterisk. Contrast dye, used to allow doctors to see blockages and other problems, can be toxic. Healthy kidneys can flush the dye out of the body quickly after a procedure. But for patients with poorly functioning kidneys, the dye …Read More >

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A red heart is on top of a white lifeline against an orange background

A new option for a fluttering heart

Categories: Heart Health  /  News

Atrial fibrillation is a fairly common problem affecting the heart’s rhythm. An estimated 6 million Americans have it. It’s also a major risk factor for stroke. Medication can help many with atrial fibrillation. But for others, a new procedure called Watchman offers an alternative. It creates a physical barrier that catches clots and prevents them from traveling to the brain. Dr. Manoj Panday, a cardiologist and head of cardiac electrophysiology at UT Health San Antonio, performs the procedure at University Hospital. He told KENS TV that most patients who undergo the procedure are able to stop taking blood-thinning drugs, which …Read More >

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An older male doctor takes the blood pressure of a smiling older woman

Ganging up on high blood pressure

Categories: Diabetes  /  Heart Health  /  News  /  Research

High blood pressure affects a third of U.S. adults. It’s undertreated and hard to manage. But a new team approach underway at University Health System clinics is showing promising results. When high blood pressure isn’t controlled, it can contribute to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and diabetes complications. Typically, in most settings, treatment involves a brief chat with a physician, followed by a prescription for a hypertension medicine. Controlling blood pressure, however, is more successful when a number of factors are addressed. The team approach being studied at University Health System involves getting the physician a little help. That includes …Read More >

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A male doctor smiles professionally with the medical facility in the background

Pinpointing the source of heart disease

Categories: Heart Health  /  News

When Antonio Vargas became too weak to do the things he enjoyed, his daughter Mimi Cruz brought him in for care. Doctors at the Heart and Vascular Institute at University Health System threaded a catheter to the vessels leading to his heart and found blockage in multiple vessels. They treated him with medication until he became strong enough to undergo a second procedure to open a vessel and implant a stent. Cardiac catheterization is an important diagnostic tool in determining heart disease. Mr. Vargas’s story, one in a series of stories that make up the Real Men Wear Gowns campaign, …Read More >

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Newborn baby girl making fist at NICUIII

A simple test to detect heart problems in babies

Categories: Children's Health  /  Heart Health  /  News  /  Pregnancy

The idea was that a simple, noninvasive test could detect undiagnosed heart problems in healthy looking newborns before they leave the hospital. Dr. Alice Gong, a neonatologist at University Hospital and professor of pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio, was at the forefront of pushing for Texas hospitals to perform the test, called pulse oximetry, which measures the oxygen level in blood. A state law made the test mandatory for hospitals that deliver babies. And new study published this month in the American Journal of Perinatology confirmed the test is valuable. It looked at an early group of 11,322 babies …Read More >

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