Niacin Won’t Help, May Harm, Heart Patients

For 50 years we’ve been told that taking high doses of the B vitamin niacin was one way to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Now some prominent physicians have had an abrupt change of heart: New research shows that niacin not only doesn’t help but could be very risky for patients. Two large studies, published July 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that taking niacin didn’t reduce deaths from heart disease and it put patients at …

Cereal, Grains Key to Longer Life After Heart Attack

Eating a high-fiber diet can help you avoid heart disease, but what if you’ve already had a heart attack – can adding fiber to your diet help you live longer? A study that researchers say is the first to examine this question has some good news for heart patients: The more fiber heart attack survivors add to their diet – especially in the form of cereal and whole grains – the lower their risk of dying from any cause, said …

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 …