September 23, 2013: Revisiting calcium supplements
"Calcium pills may pose some risks. Go for food instead." Read more about the Consumer Reports review in Washington Post Health & Science.
About 70 percent of older women and more than 50 percent of older men take calcium pills, spending $1.2 billion on them in 2012, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. But recent evidence suggests that getting calcium from pills might not be as safe or effective for some people as getting it from food. For example, some emerging research suggests that calcium supplements may boost a person's risk of heart attack.
Also read Dr. Coulter's Straight Talk: Calcium for your bones at your heart's expense?
June 21, 2013: Have fish oil supplements lost their luster?
Fish oil supposedly helped prevent a range of health issues...That's changing a bit now. Read the article from the Houston Chronicle.
"Pills are not a substitute for a good diet," says Dr. Stephanie Coulter who directs the Center for Women's Heart & Vascular Health at the Texas Heart Institute. One exception, she says, are people who can't control high triglyceride levels with diet and exercise. For those people, she said, 4 grams of fish oil supplements per day have been shown to reduce triglycerides by 40 percent. "As adults, we can all protect our hearts against heart disease by eating fatty fish at least twice a week. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that are known to benefit the heart of healthy people as well as those at high risk of or who already have established heart and vascular disease," Coulter says.
June 7, 2013: Is my bra too tight? or is this a heart attack warning sign?
"I think 'bra feels too tight' should be included in lists of heart attack symptoms." — testimony from a survivor of five heart attacks. The Heart Sisters blog discusses this "peculiar" but telling cardiac symptom. Awareness of this symptom along with other warning signs particular to women could save lives. Read more at MyHeartSisters.org. Also note this symptom was reported in a 2012 study done in Sweden and published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: "Older Women's Prehospital Experiences of Their First Myocardial Infarction."
May 24, 2013: Depression Raises Stroke Risk in Younger Women
Being depressed is known to increase the risk for stroke. Now a new study suggests that the association is even stronger in younger women. Researchers studied 10,457 women without a history of stroke, every three years for 12 years. Using a well-validated depression scale, they found that about 24% were depressed at each survey. Being depressed nearly doubled the risk for stroke, even after the researchers accounted for other risk factors. Read more from the New York Times "Well" blog.