To Strengthen Hearts, Medicare Changes Its Policy

After deliberating for a decade, Medicare recently announced that it will now cover cardiac rehab for some patients who suffer from stable but chronic heart failure, a costly, debilitating disease that could be improved with supervised exercise and counseling. Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s need for oxygen. Patients often suffer shortness of breath and swelling in their feet, ankles, legs and stomach from fluid buildup. Some 650,000 …

Put Down the Diet Soda, Ladies. It’s Bad for Your Heart

Healthy, postmenopausal women who drink two or more diet sodas a day are at a higher risk for heart attack, stroke and even death, according to a large new national study. The research looked at diet-soda intake and heart health in nearly 60,000 women participating in the national Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, which investigates health risk factors for women ages 50 to 79. The average age of the women in this study was nearly 63, and none had a …

Huh? 87 Percent of Men Age 60-Plus Should Take a Statin?

If statin guidelines released last fall were followed to the letter, nearly all men between ages 60 and 75 would be taking a cholesterol-lowering drug even if they didn’t have heart disease, according to a new study that analyzed the impact of the controversial recommendations. The Duke University-led study projected that following the guidelines would result in nearly 13 million more Americans taking statins, most of them 60-plus. Among adults 60 to 75 without heart disease and not on statins, …

Wait, Now Saturated Fat Is OK for Us?

How long have health experts told us that saturated fat – the kind found in meat, cheese and butter – was bad for our heart’s health? Forever, it seems. But now a large, new international study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, says those experts may have gone overboard demonizing one kind of fat. Researchers analyzed 72 studies on heart risk and fat consumption, involving more than 600,000 people in 18 countries, and found no evidence that cutting back …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun 1. Tiny new generators that convert the motion of a beating heart into electrical energy could power pacemakers. (Learn more at Futurity) 2. On March 26, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met for the first and only time. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Health insurance is most expensive in Aspen, Vail and other Colorado resort areas. (Learn more at AARP) 4. Squeals of a male pig penned with five sows in heat sounds like a …

FDA Reviewing Safety of Testosterone Therapy

For older men who suspect their flagging energy and sex drive might be due to low testosterone, or “low T,” as commercials and advertisements call it, getting a prescription for testosterone gel seems to be an easy way to put the spring back in their step. In fact, the gel (brand name AndroGel) has become so popular (and so heavily marketed), it’s even outselling Viagra. But recent research – including a large new study published last week – links the …