Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Category: Heart and circulation

5 Tips to Keep Your Healthy Lifestyle Change Going
Learn five tips to help you keep a healthy lifestyle change going.

ACE Inhibitors and ARBs: Helping Blood Flow Better
Find out why it's important to keep taking your ACE inhibitor or ARB and how to make it easier.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
Screening recommendations for an abdominal aortic aneurysm are different for men and women. Not all doctors agree on who should be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Talk to your doctor about whether the benefits of screening would outweigh the risks in your case. For men The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force...

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Surgery
Open surgery is done to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is called an open surgery because the abdomen is opened so the doctor can see and work on the aorta. Your aorta is a large artery that carries blood from your heart through your belly to the rest of your body. To do the surgery, the doctor makes a large cut...

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Should I Get a Screening Test?
Guides through decision to have screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Includes pros such as finding aneurysms so that they can be treated. Also explains the possible harm that could come if the test leads to risky surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Acute Coronary Syndrome
Covers angina and symptoms that happen when the heart does not get enough blood. Covers unstable angina and heart attack. Discusses treatment with medicines, angioplasty, or bypass surgery. Offers prevention tips.

Advance Care Planning: Should I Receive CPR and Life Support?
Guides through decision to receive CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and mechanical ventilation. Describes the procedures and discusses risks and benefits of each. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Advance Care Planning: The Need for Ongoing Conversations
Learn more about what questions to keep asking—as your treatment and preferences change.

Advance Care Planning: Thinking About Hospice
It's common to have a lot of questions if you're thinking about hospice. Knowing more may help.

Advance Care Planning: Treatment Choices Near the End of Life
It can be hard to know which treatments you may or may not want near the end of life. Learning more can help.

Advance Directives
Learn how advance directives let others know your care preferences when you can't speak for yourself.

After a Heart Attack: Taking Beta-Blockers
Learn how beta-blocker medicine helps your heart heal after a heart attack.

After a Heart Attack: Taking an Aspirin or Antiplatelet
Learn why it's important to take antiplatelet medicine or a daily aspirin after a heart attack.

After a Stroke: Helping Your Family Adjust
If you have a family member who has had a stroke, you may be concerned about how the stroke is going to affect your family's lifestyle. You may be concerned about finances and changes in family roles and responsibilities. Here are some ways to help your loved one and other family members adjust: Realize that after a...

After a Stroke: Taking a Blood Thinner for A-Fib
Learn why it's important to take blood-thinning medicine after your stroke.

After a Stroke: Taking an Antiplatelet
Learn why it's important to take antiplatelet medicine after a stroke.

After a Stroke: Your Self-Care Plan
Learn how your self-care plan can help you manage after a stroke.

Alan's Story: Coping With Change After a Heart Attack
Alan is something of a miracle man. At the age of 32, he had a massive heart attack. But more than 40 years, 4 bypass surgeries, 30 angioplasties, and a combined pacemaker/defibrillator later, he's still thriving. He learned how to cope with heart disease the hard way. Alan had always been healthy and athletic. Except...

Alcohol Increases the Risk of Cold Injury
Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of injury from cold exposure. Alcohol: Changes your body's ability to regulate body temperature. Changes your judgment. For example, a person may not put on more clothing when it is needed if his or her judgment is changed by alcohol. Can cause blood vessels in the skin to get...

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term heavy alcohol use. It is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. If your heart gets weaker, you may develop heart failure. Alcohol in excessive quantities has a directly toxic effect on heart muscle cells. Symptoms...

Allen Test
The blood supply to your hand normally comes from two arteries: the radial artery and the ulnar artery. Before drawing blood for an arterial blood gas test, your health professional will make sure that both arteries are open and working correctly. A procedure called the Allen test may be used to find out if the blood...

Ambulatory Electrocardiogram (EKG)
An ambulatory electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical activity of your heart while you do your usual activities. Ambulatory means that you are able to walk during the test. This type of monitoring may also be called ambulatory EKG, Holter monitoring, 24-hour EKG, or cardiac event monitoring. Many heart...

American Heart Association Healthy Diet Guidelines
The American Heart Association (AHA) publishes dietary and lifestyle recommendations for general heart health. . These recommendations are for healthy adults at least 18 years old. These guidelines may also be useful for adults who have health problems, children, and teens. But talk to your doctor because some of these...

What is angina? Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease, or heart disease. For most people, it feels like chest pain or pressure. Some people feel other symptoms. These include pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly or in one or both shoulders or arms. What causes it? Angina...

An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses dye and a camera to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or a vein. An angiogram can be used to look at the arteries or veins in the head, arms, legs, chest, back, or belly. This test is done to look for problems in the arteries or veins. An angiogram is done for many...

Angiogram of the Head and Neck
An angiogram of the head and neck is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera ( fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in the blood vessels of the head and neck. An angiogram of the neck (carotid angiogram) can be used to look at the large arteries in the neck that lead to the brain. An angiogram of the...

Angiogram of the Lung
An angiogram of the lung is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera ( fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in the blood vessels of the lung. During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed into a femoral blood vessel in the groin (femoral vein) or just above the elbow (brachial vein)...

Angioplasty for Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
What is angioplasty? Angioplasty gets blood flowing back to the heart. It opens a coronary artery that was narrowed or blocked during a heart attack. The coronary artery might be blocked by a blood clot and fat and calcium from a ruptured plaque that caused the heart attack. Doctors try to do angioplasty as soon as...

Angioplasty for Peripheral Artery Disease: Before Your Procedure
Learn what to expect when preparing for angioplasty for peripheral artery disease. Includes an explanation of the procedure.

Angioplasty for Peripheral Artery Disease: Returning Home
Find out how you'll feel after angioplasty for peripheral artery disease and how to take care of yourself at home.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Ankle-Brachial Index Test
Learn what an ankle-brachial test is, why it's done, and what the results might mean.

Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Aortic Aneurysm
Discusses causes and symptoms of aneurysms that form in an artery called the aorta. Links to pictures of abdominal aneurysm and thoracic aneurysm. Covers treatment with medicines or surgery. Also looks at lifestyle changes that may help.

Aortic Dissection
What is an aortic dissection? Aortic dissection occurs when a small tear develops in the wall of the aorta. The tear forms a new channel between the inner and outer layers of the aortic wall. This causes bleeding into the channel and can enlarge the tear. Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition. What causes...

Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Discusses aortic valve regurgitation. Discusses symptoms and how it is diagnosed. Covers treatment with medicines and aortic valve replacement surgery. Covers lifestyle changes to help the heart work better.

Aortic Valve Regurgitation: Deciding About Surgery
The major decision in treating aortic valve regurgitation is whether to have aortic valve replacement surgery and, if so, when to do it. Your doctor will check the severity of your condition. Your doctor will also check your overall health to see if surgery is too risky for you. Then you and your doctor will weigh the...

Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
Aortic valve replacement gives you a new aortic heart valve. The new valve may be mechanical or made of animal tissue. You and your doctor can decide before surgery which type of valve is best for you. The aortic valve opens and closes to keep blood flowing in the proper direction through your heart. When the aortic...

Aortic Valve Stenosis
What is aortic valve stenosis? Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve allows blood to flow from the heart's lower left chamber (ventricle) into the aorta and to the body. Stenosis prevents the valve from opening properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the...

Aortobifemoral Bypass Surgery
An aortobifemoral bypass is surgery to move blood flow around blocked blood vessels in your belly or groin area. This will increase blood flow to your legs. This may relieve symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, and cramping. You may be able to walk longer distances without leg pain. The doctor will use a blood vessel...

Arrhythmia: Living With a Pacemaker
Learn how to adjust to life with a pacemaker and have an active, healthy life.

Arrhythmia: What Is an ICD?
Learn how an ICD works and how it can help your heart.

Arrhythmias and Sexual Activity
Is it safe for you to have sex? If you have an arrhythmia and your doctor says that it's okay for you to do moderate activity, like brisk walking, then it's probably safe for you to have sex. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor. Your doctor can check the health of your heart and help you know if it's safe to have...

Arterial Blood Gases (ABG) Test
An arterial blood gases (ABG) test measures the acidity ( pH) and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood from an artery. This test is used to find out how well your lungs are able to move oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. As blood passes through your lungs, oxygen moves into...

Arturo's Story: Getting Support for Making a Change
The neighbors can set their clocks by Arturo and his wife, Rosa. Every morning at 6:30 a.m. and every evening at 6:30 p.m., they walk out their front door for their 30-minute walk. "It's kind of a neighborhood joke," Arturo, 58, says. "People literally look at their watch and laugh when we go by." But the walks...

Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) Test
An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood. AST is normally found in red blood cells, liver, heart, muscle tissue, pancreas, and kidneys. AST formerly was called serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT). Low levels of AST are normally found in the blood. When body...

Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke
Discusses taking aspirin to prevent a first and second heart attack for people who have coronary artery disease. Covers aspirin therapy to help lower risk of a stroke. Discusses if aspirin therapy is for you. Looks at things to avoid while taking aspirin.

Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?
Guides people who have not had a heart attack or a stroke through decision to take daily aspirin. Discusses benefits and risks. Looks at who can take daily aspirin. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

What is atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis is sometimes called "hardening of the arteries." It occurs when fat (cholesterol) and calcium build up inside the lining of the artery wall. This forms a substance called plaque. Over time, the fat and calcium buildup may narrow the artery. Atherosclerosis in the heart (coronary)...

Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Covers causes, including high blood pressure and CAD. Discusses what increases your risk. Covers treatment with medicines, cardioversion, and catheter ablation.

Atrial Fibrillation and Daily Life
Most people with atrial fibrillation don't have to change their daily activities. You can live well and safely with atrial fibrillation. There are some precautions you can take to prevent problems from atrial fibrillation. For example, tell your doctor about any activities that trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation...

Atrial Fibrillation: Feeling More in Control
Hear how atrial fibrillation affected three people's lives and how each one found a way to manage it.

Atrial Fibrillation: Living Well
Learn how to have a healthy, active lifestyle with atrial fibrillation.

Atrial Fibrillation: Managing Your Symptoms
Learn how to manage your symptoms and live better with a-fib.

Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem atrial fibrillation. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Take an Anticoagulant to Prevent Stroke?
Guides you through the decision to take an anticoagulant to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Try Electrical Cardioversion?
Guides you through decision to have cardioversion for atrial fibrillation. Discusses electrical cardioversion and rate control drugs. Lists benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Atrial Fibrillation: Which Anticoagulant Should I Take to Prevent Stroke?
Guides you through the decision to take warfarin or a different anticoagulant (apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban, or rivaroxaban) to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants.

Automated Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
Your doctor might ask you to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor after measuring your blood pressure in the doctor's office, to make sure that you actually have high blood pressure. This is because your blood pressure can change during the day. And sometimes blood pressure is higher only because you are seeing a...

Avoiding Triggers for Sudden Heart Failure
Learn how to avoid things that could make your heart failure worse.

Bed Rest in Pregnancy
What is bed rest? Bed rest is limiting physical activity during your pregnancy. It can last a few weeks or even months. It may be at home or in the hospital. Your doctor may put you on partial bed rest or full bed rest. Partial bed rest usually means it's usually okay to sit, stand, or walk around for short...

Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Beta-Blockers: Helping Your Heart Relax
Learn why you need to take your beta-blocker and how to make it easier to take.

Biventricular Pacemaker
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses a special type of pacemaker called a biventricular pacemaker (say "by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler") to treat heart failure. This pacemaker sends electrical pulses to make the ventricles pump at the same time. A biventricular pacemaker is implanted in the chest, and it connects to three...

Blood Clots in the Leg Veins
Blood clots can happen in veins. A blood clot in a vein close to the skin isn't likely to cause problems. But having blood clots in deep veins is called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis happens most often in the legs. This problem can lead to a blood clot in the lung ( pulmonary embolism). The deep veins of...

Blood Pressure Numbers: When to Get Help
What do your blood pressure numbers mean? Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure readings include two numbers. The first number is the systolic pressure (top number). This is the force of blood on the artery walls as your heart pumps. The second number is the...

Blood Pressure Screening
Your care provider uses a blood pressure monitor to screen for high blood pressure. A blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your bare upper arm. The cuff is then pumped up. The cuff is slowly deflated, and the monitor shows your blood pressure numbers. Either an automatic or manual monitor can be used. After measuring...

Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely
Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots. Although they are called blood thinners, they don't really thin the blood. They slow down the time it takes for a blood clot to form. You have to be careful when you take blood thinner medicines. They can raise the risk of serious bleeding. But you can do some...

Blood Thinners: Signs of Abnormal Bleeding
A blood thinner can increase your risk of bleeding problems. If you take a blood thinner, watch for signs of abnormal bleeding. If you are injured, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Realize that it will take longer than you are used to for the bleeding to stop. If you can't get the bleeding to stop, call your doctor...

Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate)
What is bradycardia? Having bradycardia (say "bray-dee-KAR-dee-uh") means that your heart beats very slowly. For most adults, a heart rate of about 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest is considered normal. If your heart beats less than 60 times a minute, it is slower than normal. A slow heart rate can be normal and...

Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Test
Gives info on test for BNP hormone to tell how well the heart works. Tells how BNP checks for heart failure. Tells how to get ready for test. Includes what results mean. Also discusses things that affect test results, such as some health problems and medicines.

Bypass Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease
Learn what bypass surgery does for your heart and what will happen during surgery.

CPR Basics
The American Heart Association recommends taking a class on how to give CPR and then use the chart below as a reference. What to do Recommendations for: Adults and older children who have reached puberty Young children until the age of puberty...

Cardiac Arrest
What is cardiac arrest? In cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops beating. This causes blood to stop pumping to the body. If the heartbeat is not restarted within minutes, the person will die. This problem is also called sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which happens when part of...

Cardiac Blood Pool Scan
A cardiac blood pool scan shows how well your heart is pumping blood to the rest of your body. During this test, a small amount of a radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into a vein. A gamma camera detects the radioactive material as it flows through the heart and lungs. The percentage of blood pumped out...

Cardiac Cachexia
Cardiac cachexia is unintentional severe weight loss caused by severe heart failure. The weight loss might be life-threatening. Even with a very good appetite and high calorie intake, some people lose muscle mass. Cardiac cachexia can require supplemental nutrition. How it happens Heart failure may cause blood to back...

Cardiac Catheterization
Discusses test used to check your heart and coronary arteries. Covers reasons cardiac catheterization is done. Looks at how to prepare. Explains how the test is done in the cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab) by a cardiologist. Covers risks.

Cardiac Catheterization in Children
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure your doctor uses to see images and get information about your child's heart and blood vessels from the inside. It can also be done to repair some congenital heart defects. This is a kind of heart problem that your child is born with. Your doctor doesn't need to make any cuts to do...

Cardiac Device Monitoring
Cardiac devices include pacemakers and ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators). Cardiac devices have very advanced features. Your doctor can program your device to work in different ways depending on your needs. Doctors check, or monitor, cardiac devices on a regular basis to make sure that they are working right...

Cardiac Enzyme Studies
Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of enzymes and proteins that are linked with injury of the heart muscle. The test checks for the proteins troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT). The test might also check for an enzyme called creatine kinase (CK). Low levels of these proteins and enzymes are normally found in...

Cardiac Output
For the body to function properly, the heart needs to pump blood at a sufficient rate to maintain an adequate and continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. Cardiac output is the term that describes the amount of blood your heart pumps each minute. Doctors think about cardiac...

Cardiac Perfusion Scan
A cardiac perfusion scan measures the amount of blood in your heart muscle at rest and after it has been stressed. It is often done to find out what may be causing symptoms like angina (such as chest pain or pressure). It may be done after a heart attack to see if areas of the heart are not getting enough blood or to...

Cardiac Rehab: How It Can Help
Hear how cardiac rehab helped others have less fear and be more sure about how to live with a heart problem.

Cardiac Rehab: What Is It?
Learn how cardiac rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.

Cardiac Rehabilitation
Discusses cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), which helps you feel better and reduce risk of future heart problems with exercise and lifestyle changes. Looks at rehab for people who have heart conditions such as heart attack, heart surgery, or heart failure.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Team
After you start a cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program, you will work with many health professionals. Each will have a specific role in your rehab. While you are in rehab, make sure to stay in touch with your doctor or other health professionals who can keep track of your progress and health. You will probably keep in...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Emotional Health Benefits
Recovering from a heart problem means not only getting back your physical strength but also getting back your emotional and mental well-being. Having a positive outlook during your recovery and rehabilitation may help you recover physically, emotionally, and mentally. Remember that you are going to start feeling better...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Exercise
Exercise is an important part of cardiac rehab. You may do some new exercises and may be asked to monitor yourself when you exercise. Your rehab team will design a specific exercise program for you. It might range from a supervised program monitored by an exercise professional to an independent, self-managed program...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Home Program
Your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) might include an exercise program that you do at home. You might start this program after you go home from the hospital. The home program can be one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. The goals of a home program include: Making a smooth transition from hospital to home. Taking...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Hospital Program
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) may start while you are in the hospital. The hospital (inpatient) program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. This phase emphasizes exercise and education. A hospital program may include: A customized exercise program, based on your medical history, clinical condition, and...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Lifestyle Changes
A cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program can help you make lifestyle changes. In cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you make new, healthy habits. Quitting smoking is the best thing...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Maintenance Program
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) includes a phase that helps you keep the healthy behaviors and habits that you learned in rehab. This phase, or program, is often referred to as the maintenance part of rehab, because it can help you maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. Your goals may include: Lowering your risk of future...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Medicine and Exercise
If you are in a cardiac rehab program, you are probably taking medicines for your heart and for other health reasons. Some prescribed medicines can change your heart rate, blood pressure, and overall ability to exercise. It's important for your rehab team to know what medicines you take. Give your rehab team a list of...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Monitoring Your Body's Response to Exercise
There are several ways to measure your body's responses to exercise and other lifestyle changes. You may want to keep track of the following measurements during your exercise sessions at cardiac rehab and at home. Target heart rate Your target heart rate can guide you to how hard you need to exercise so you can get the...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Outpatient Program
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) typically includes an outpatient program. This program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. You will likely take part in a supervised exercise program. You will receive information and tools to have a heart-healthy lifestyle, such as: Not smoking. Healthy eating. Staying at a...

Cardiac Rehabilitation: Weight and Resistance Training
Resistance training may be done with many things, including weights, elastic bands, machines, or your own body weight. Resistance training can help you get the most benefit from your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program. Do not start a strength-training program without discussing it with your doctor. Your doctor can...

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps. There are different types of cardiomyopathies. And these types have different causes. Cardiomyopathy may occur as a result of damage to the heart, such as from a heart attack, or a person may inherit the tendency to develop it. Types of...

Cardiopulmonary Syndromes (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]
Cardiopulmonary syndromes are conditions of the heart and lung that may be caused by cancer or by other health problems. Five cardiopulmonary syndromes that may be caused by cancer are covered in this summary: Dyspnea (shortness of breath). Chronic cough. Malignant pleural effusion (extra fluid around the lungs caused...

Care in the Hospital: Central Vascular Access Device (CVAD)
Learn about central vascular access device (CVAD) use and care in the hospital, including information on infection prevention.

Caring for Your Implanted Port
Learn what an implanted port is and how to care for it at home.

Caring for Your PICC or Central IV Line
Learn how to care for a central or PICC IV line at home.

Carotid Artery Disease
What is carotid artery disease? A carotid artery on each side of the neck supplies blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in either or both arteries. The buildup may narrow the artery and limit blood flow to the brain. If this plaque breaks open, it may form a blood...

Carotid Artery Procedure: How Others Decided
Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have a procedure to help prevent a stroke.

Carotid Artery Procedures: Stroke Prevention
Explore your treatment options for stroke prevention when you have a narrowed carotid artery.

Carotid Artery Stenting
Carotid artery stenting is a procedure to open a narrowed carotid artery. There is a carotid artery on each side of the neck. They supply blood to the brain. Fatty buildup can narrow these arteries. This buildup is called plaque. When one or both of your carotid arteries are narrowed, it can make it hard for blood to...

Carotid Artery Stenting: Before Your Procedure
Learn what carotid artery stenting is and how it is done.

Carotid Artery Stenting: Returning Home
Find out how you may feel after receiving a carotid artery stent and learn how to take care of yourself at home.

Carotid Endarterectomy
Discusses carotid endarterectomy surgery to remove plaque buildup in the carotid arteries to prevent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Includes info on how surgery can help prevent future strokes. Looks at long-term aspirin treatment.

Carotid Endarterectomy: Before Your Surgery
Learn what a carotid endarterectomy is, how it is done, and how to prepare.

Carotid Endarterectomy: Returning Home
Find out how you'll feel after a carotid endarterectomy, and learn how to take care of yourself at home.

Catecholamines in Blood Test
A test for catecholamines measures the amount of the hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the blood. These catecholamines are made by nerve tissue, the brain, and the adrenal glands. Catecholamines help the body respond to stress or fright and prepare the body for "fight-or-flight" reactions. The...

Catecholamines in Urine Test
Catecholamines (say "kat-uh-KOH-luh-meens") are hormones made mostly by your adrenal glands as a reaction to stress. When you feel stressed, these hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle strength, and mental alertness. They also lower the amount of blood that goes to the skin and intestines...

Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses nonsurgical procedure, called catheter ablation, for atrial fibrillation if medicine is not effective or not tolerated. Also discusses implanting a pacemaker. Looks at why procedure is done, how well it works, and possible risks.

Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: Before Your Procedure
Learn what catheter ablation is and how it is done to treat atrial fibrillation.

Catheter Ablation for SVT: Before Your Procedure
Learn about catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia and how this procedure is done.

Catheter Ablation for a Fast Heart Rate
Covers procedure to destroy (ablate) tiny areas of heart muscle causing fast heart rate. Includes radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation. Covers use for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, and ventricular tachycardia.

Catheter Ablation: Returning Home
Find out how you'll feel after a catheter ablation and how to take care of yourself at home.

Central Vascular Access Device (CVAD)
What is a central vascular access device (CVAD)? A CVAD is a thin, flexible tube. It's also called a central line. It is used when a person needs to receive medicine, fluids, nutrients, or blood products for several weeks or more. It's often placed in the neck, chest, or arm. Why is it used? CVADs are used to: Give...

Central Vascular Access Device (CVAD): Changing the Dressing
These are general tips. Your nurse may change and care for your CVAD at home. Or a nurse will teach you how to take care of it. Be sure to follow the specific instructions you are given. Call your doctor if you have questions or concerns. In general, a clear dressing needs to be changed once a week, such as every...

Central Vascular Access Device (CVAD): Flushing
A CVAD should be flushed as often as your doctor tells you, to keep it clear of blood and prevent clotting. If it ends in more than one line (lumen), flush them in the same order each time. Depending on the type you have, you will flush it with either heparin or saline solution. Your doctor or nurse will probably give...

Change in Heartbeat
Briefly discusses how the heart works and what might cause minor or serious heartbeat changes. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Chest Problems
Briefly discusses possible causes of chest pain, which include angina, heart attack, pneumothorax, and chest wall pain. Covers heart attack symptoms. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Chest X-Ray
A chest X-ray is a picture of the chest that shows your heart, lungs, airway, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. A chest X-ray also shows the bones of your spine and chest, including your breastbone, your ribs, your collarbone, and the upper part of your spine. A chest X-ray is the most common imaging test or X-ray used to...

Chilblains (Perniosis)
Chilblains (perniosis, also known as pernio) is a reaction to cold, nonfreezing temperatures. It is seen most often in young people who have Raynaud's phenomenon and people who are exposed to damp, cold weather. Symptoms develop 2 to 14 hours after...

Childhood Cardiac (Heart) Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Childhood cardiac tumors, which may be benign or malignant, form in the heart. Most tumors that form in the heart are benign (not cancer). Benign heart tumors that may appear in children include the following: Rhabdomyoma: A tumor that forms in muscle made up of long fibers. Myxoma: A tumor that may be part of an...

Cholesterol Numbers: What They Mean for Your Health
Learn what your cholesterol numbers mean for your health.

Cholesterol Test: Understanding the Test
Learn what is checked during a cholesterol test, why you might need one, and what the results may mean.

Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines
The goal in treating cholesterol is to lower your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. The goal is not to lower your cholesterol numbers alone. The following guidelines are from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. The two main types of treatment are: Heart-healthy lifestyle...

Cholesterol and Triglycerides Tests
Covers cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests to measure fatty substances in the blood. Explains why tests are done and how to prepare. Includes possible results and what they may mean. Looks at what may affect test results.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides: Eating Fish and Fish Oil
Fish is a lean protein source that contains omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Fish oil supplements are another way to get omega-3 fatty acids. Research has not proved that fish oil is helpful for everyone. That's why doctors do not agree about whether these supplements can help...

Cholesterol in Children and Teens
A child may have a higher chance of having high cholesterol if he or she: Is overweight. Does not exercise much. Does not eat healthy foods. Has a family history of high cholesterol. Cholesterol tests for children and teens Your child's doctor may suggest a cholesterol test based on your child's age, family history, or...

Cholesterol: Choosing a Heart-Healthy Life
Learn about making healthy changes that can help lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol: How It Raises Your Risk
Learn how high cholesterol raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Classification of Heart Failure
The New York Heart Association has classified heart failure by how bad symptoms are when you are active. The four classes range from having few or no symptoms when active to having symptoms even when at rest. Class I. People whose physical activity is not limited. Ordinary physical activity does not cause tiredness...

Clopidogrel and Genetic Testing
Clopidogrel (Plavix) is a medicine to prevent blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. It may be prescribed after a heart attack, after angioplasty, and for people who have coronary artery disease or peripheral arterial disease. Some people have changes, or mutations, to a certain gene (CYP2C19). These...

Cold Hands: Home Treatment
Try the following home treatment if your hands get cold easily and become pale, cool, and painful: Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cold. Wave your arms in a circular motion to force blood out into your hands. Blow warm air onto cold...

Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins
Compression stockings help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. They improve circulation and are a mainstay of treatment for varicose veins that are causing symptoms. Mild varicose veins that are not causing symptoms don't need treatment. Compression stockings are tightest at the foot. They gradually loosen as they...

Compression Stockings: How to Use Them
Compression stockings: Help improve blood flow. Help keep blood from pooling in the legs. Help relieve symptoms caused by varicose veins, skin ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis. Help prevent problems caused by things like skin ulcers. Will help the most if you wear them every day while you're awake, especially while...

Computed Tomography (CT) Angiogram
A computed tomography angiogram (CT angiogram) is a test that uses X-rays to provide detailed pictures of the heart and the blood vessels that go to the heart, lung, brain, kidneys, head, neck, legs, and arms. This test can show narrowed or blocked areas of a blood vessel. It can also show whether there is a bulge (...

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body. During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body area being studied. Each rotation of the scanner...

Congenital Heart Defect Types
There are many types of congenital heart defects. If the defect lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, it is called cyanotic. If the defect doesn't affect oxygen in the body, it is called acyanotic. What are cyanotic heart defects? Cyanotic heart...

Congenital Heart Defects in Adults
How can you live well with a congenital heart defect? Here are some things you can do to help you live well when you have a congenital heart defect. Get regular checkups. Adults who have heart defects need routine checkups. Be sure you have a primary care physician. You might also need to see your cardiologist...

Congenital Heart Defects in Children
Discusses problems with how a baby's heart forms. Also looks at problems found when a person is an adult. Includes info on patent ductus arteriosus, aortic valve stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta. Covers treatment with medicine and surgery.

Congenital Heart Defects: Caring for Your Child
Caring for a child who has a congenital heart defect can be challenging. But there are things you can do to make sure that your child is as healthy and comfortable as possible, whether they are at home or in the hospital. And while you're taking care of your child, remember that it's important to take care of yourself...

Conserving Energy When You Have COPD or Other Chronic Conditions
Sometimes daily activities can be exhausting when you have COPD, heart failure, or another long-term (chronic) condition. You may feel at times as though you've lost your ability to live your life. Conserving, or saving, your energy means finding ways to do daily activities with as little effort as possible. With some...

Coronary Angiogram: Before Your Procedure
Learn how and why an angiogram is done as well as how to prepare for an angiogram.

Coronary Angiogram: How Others Decided
Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have a coronary angiogram.

Coronary Angiogram: Returning Home
Learn how you'll feel after a coronary angiogram and how to take care of yourself at home.

Coronary Angioplasty
Covers a procedure, also called percutaneous coronary intervention, to widen narrow coronary arteries for stable angina and heart attack. Includes a slideshow of angioplasty. Describes use of stent and balloon to open artery. Explains why it's done and when it's not done. Includes how well it works, risks, and recovery...

Coronary Angioplasty: Before Your Procedure
Learn how angioplasty opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries to improve blood flow.

Coronary Angioplasty: Returning Home
Find out how you'll feel after coronary angioplasty and how to take care of yourself at home.

Coronary Arteries and Heart Function
The coronary arteries deliver blood to the heart muscle. The blood provides a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients needed for the heart to stay healthy and work as it should. Supply and demand The coronary arteries regulate the supply of blood to your heart muscle depending on how much oxygen your heart needs at...

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: How It Is Done
During coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, your surgeon will use a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body to create an alternate route, or bypass, around narrowed or blocked sections of your coronary arteries. This bypass surgery allows more blood to reach your heart muscle. Your medical team will...

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: How to Prepare
How do you prepare for CABG surgery? There are many things that you can and must do in the days and weeks before your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery . Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your CABG surgery. CABG surgery is an invasive procedure that has a fairly long...

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: Recovering in the Hospital
You will recover in the hospital after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery until your doctors feel it is safe for you to go home. During this time, staff on the cardiac recovery floor will help begin your rehabilitation and educate you on how to care for yourself when you return home. You must demonstrate that...

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: Self-Care for Recovery
What are your responsibilities during your recovery from bypass surgery? You have several responsibilities while you are recovering from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, including: Caring for your wounds. Taking your medicines. Monitoring your weight. Improving your heart and lung health. Attending cardiac...

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: The Recovery Process
Each person's recovery from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a little different. Your road to recovery has many steps, including time in the hospital, time at home, and participation in a rehabilitation program. You will hear a common theme during your recovery: Everyone heals at a different pace...

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: What to Expect After You Go Home
Although you may return home a few days after the completion of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure, it may take several months before you can return to all of the activities you enjoyed prior to surgery. Recovery from major surgery has both physical and emotional aspects. For the first month or two after...

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Covers types of coronary bypass surgeries, also called CABG. Includes minimally invasive surgeries. Includes a slideshow of CABG. Looks at when surgery is done. Describes how surgery is done, recovery time, and risks.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Day One of Recovery
What happens in the first 24 hours after CABG surgery? After your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is finished, you will be transferred to a cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) or surgical ICU so that specially trained hospital staff can monitor your condition. The recovery process is different for every...

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Minimally Invasive Methods
Standard coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery works very well to improve blood flow to the heart. But the procedure is very invasive to your body for two major reasons. It involves making a large cut in your chest to expose your heart and arteries. It requires stopping your heart and connecting you to a...

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: When You Arrive at the Hospital
What happens at the hospital before the CABG procedure? You will likely need to check into the hospital the night before or morning of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure. You will take a shower with an antiseptic soap the night before surgery. You won't be allowed anything to eat or drink after...

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Your Medical Team
A team of surgeons, nurses, and other medical staff will participate in your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Each team member has a specific set of responsibilities before, during, and after the surgery. CABG surgery is a complex operation. It involves a great deal of technical expertise and precision. The...

Coronary Artery Disease
Includes causes and symptoms of heart disease. Looks at cholesterol, hypertension, and risk of heart attack. Covers diet, physical activity, and treatment with medicines, angioplasty, and bypass surgery. Includes how to help prevent heart disease.

Coronary Artery Disease and Alcohol
Many experts say that light to moderate drinking can be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. But there isn't enough evidence to tell us if drinking alcohol actually helps your heart. If you drink alcohol, limit how much you drink. But if you do not drink alcohol, do not start drinking to try to lower your risk of coronary...

Coronary Artery Disease and Depression
Learn how keeping your mood healthy can also help keep your heart healthy.

Coronary Artery Disease: 5 Ways to Help Lower Your Risk
Learn how a heart-healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk for coronary artery disease.

Coronary Artery Disease: 7 Ways to Help Lower Your Risk for a Heart Attack
Learn seven ways that can help you lower your risk for a heart attack.

Coronary Artery Disease: Being Active
Learn how regular exercise can help your heart get stronger and healthier.

Coronary Artery Disease: Commit to Making an Exercise Plan
Picture an exercise plan you would enjoy, and commit to taking small steps to get there.

Coronary Artery Disease: Every Step Matters
Learn how heart disease affects you and how to help prevent a heart attack.

Coronary Artery Disease: Exercising for a Healthy Heart
Covers importance of exercising regularly when you have coronary artery disease. Guides you through steps of starting a complete exercise program that includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. Explains how to set goals you can reach.

Coronary Artery Disease: Family History
You're more likely to have coronary artery disease if you have one or more close relatives who had early coronary artery disease. For men, this means being diagnosed before age 55. For women, it means being diagnosed before 65. Things that increase your risk include: Inherited risk factors. A tendency to develop some...

Coronary Artery Disease: Getting Back on Track
See how to get back to taking care of your heart.

Coronary Artery Disease: Helping a Loved One
Helping with daily activities If you have a family member or other loved one who has coronary artery disease, you may want to know what you can do to help. Your loved one might need a little help with daily activities like managing medicines or cleaning the house. There are things you can do to help. Ask how you can...

Coronary Artery Disease: Making Peace With Medicines
Learn how others accept taking heart medicines as part of daily life.

Coronary Artery Disease: Moving Forward
See how a diagnosis of heart disease inspired others to care for their heart.

Coronary Artery Disease: Prevention Myths
There are lots of things you can do to lower your risk for coronary artery disease. But some diets and dietary supplements do not lower risk. It's not clear if vitamins, minerals, and multivitamins can lower risk. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease. By eating heart-healthy...

Coronary Artery Disease: Roles of Different Doctors
What health professionals are involved in taking care of people who have coronary artery disease? After a diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD), you should visit your primary care physician every few months. Your doctor can help track your condition and make sure that your treatment is going as planned. If you...

Coronary Artery Disease: Should I Have Angioplasty for Stable Angina?
Guides you through the decision to have angioplasty when you have stable angina. Lists benefits and risks of angioplasty and medical therapy. Explains why lifestyle changes are still important. Includes interactive tool to help you with your decision.

Coronary Artery Disease: Should I Have Bypass Surgery?
Guides you through decision to have bypass surgery. Covers other treatment options. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Coronary Artery Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?
Guides you through the decision to have an angiogram. Explains why the test is done and what it can show. Discusses why you might or might not want to have the test. Lists risks and benefits. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Coronary Artery Disease: Women Are at Risk Too
Learn why it's important to know your risk for heart disease if you're a woman.

Coronary Calcium Scan
Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart ( coronary arteries). This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. Coronary calcium scans are also...

Coronary Calcium Scan: Should I Have This Test?
Guides you through the decision to have a coronary calcium scan. Explains why a coronary calcium scan is done and what it can show. Lists treatments that might come after a coronary calcium scan. Lists risks and benefits. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Creatine Kinase Test
A creatine kinase (CK) test checks the level of the enzyme creatine kinase, which is found in heart tissue and skeletal muscles. This enzyme also can be found in smaller amounts in the brain. A blood test to check the level of CK can show if there has been damage to the heart, skeletal muscles, brain, and sometimes...

DASH Diet Sample Menu
The DASH diet is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. It also includes eating whole grains, fish, and poultry. Here is a sample menu for the DASH diet. It is based on a...

Deciding About Taking Blood Pressure Medicine
Compare the pros and cons of taking medicine for your high blood pressure.

Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, usually in the legs. These clots require medical care right away. These clots are dangerous because they can break loose, travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, and block blood flow in the lungs (pulmonary...

Deep Vein Thrombosis: 7 Ways to Help Prevent DVT
Learn seven things that can help you prevent blood clots in leg veins (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).

Depression and Anxiety When You Have Coronary Artery Disease
Many people with coronary artery disease have symptoms of anxiety or depression. If you're struggling with emotions such as worry, sadness, or fear, you might not feel like doing the things you need to do to keep your heart healthy. And this can raise your risk of having a heart attack. Getting help from your doctor...

Diabetes: Amputation for Foot Problems
Blood vessel and nerve damage linked with diabetes can lead to serious infections that are extremely hard to treat. Often the first place you have a problem is your feet. When you lose the ability to feel your toes and feet, you are more likely to injure them without knowing it. Even a minor injury, such as a small cut...

Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Heart
Learn why having diabetes raises your risk for heart disease and what you can do about it.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy
What is dilated cardiomyopathy? Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious condition that weakens your heart muscle and causes it to stretch, or dilate. When your heart muscle is weak, it can't pump out blood as well as it should. More blood stays in your heart after each heartbeat. As more blood fills and stays in the heart...

Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Some diuretics can cause low levels of potassium. A delicate balance of potassium is needed to properly transmit electrical impulses in the heart. A low potassium level can disrupt the normal electrical impulses in the heart and lead to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). If potassium levels are low, a potassium...

Diuretics: Making Them Easier to Take
Find out how to make it easier to take your diuretic.

Doppler Ultrasound
A Doppler ultrasound test uses reflected sound waves to see how blood flows through a blood vessel. It helps doctors assess the blood flow through major arteries and veins, such as those of the arms, legs, and neck. It can show blocked or reduced flow of blood through narrow areas in the major arteries of the neck. This...

Driving a Car After a Stroke
After a stroke, problems with your vision, speech, or ability to move can change your ability to drive safely. So you'll need your doctor's approval to drive again. This may be hard to accept. This may feel like a big loss of independence. But this approval is for the safety of yourself and others. Talk with your doctor...

Drug-Eluting Stents
Drug-eluting stents can help prevent a coronary artery from narrowing again after angioplasty. They are coated with medicine that prevents scar tissue from growing into the artery. Stents are small, expandable tubes. They are inserted during angioplasty into a narrowed or blocked section of the coronary artery to open...

An echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that...

Echocardiogram for Children
Learn what an echocardiogram for children is and how it's done.

Eclampsia (Seizures) and Preeclampsia
Eclampsia is pregnancy-related seizure activity that is caused by severe preeclampsia. Less than 1% of women who have preeclampsia experience seizures. Eclampsia is life-threatening for both a mother and her fetus. During a seizure, the oxygen supply to the fetus is drastically reduced. Sudden seizures can occur...

Electrical Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses procedure that uses electric current to reset heart's rhythm to its regular pattern. Covers its use to stop atrial fibrillation. Discusses what to expect after treatment, how well it works, and risks.

Electrical Cardioversion for a Fast Heart Rate
Electrical cardioversion is a procedure in which a brief electric shock is given to the heart to reset the heart rhythm back to its normal, regular pattern ( normal sinus rhythm). The shock is given through patches applied to the outside of the chest wall. In some situations an external defibrillator, which has paddles...

Electrical System of the Heart
The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria (the right atrium and the left atrium), and the two lower chambers are called ventricles. Normally, the heartbeat starts in the right atrium in a group of special heart cells called the sinoatrial (or sinus) node. These cells act as a pacemaker for the...

Electrocardiogram (EKG)
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG shows the heart's electrical activity as line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the tracings are called waves. The heart is a muscular pump made up of four chambers. The two upper chambers are...

Electrocardiogram (EKG) for Children
Learn what an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) for children is and how it's done.

Electrophysiology (EP) Study
An electrophysiology study, or EP study, is a test to see if there is a problem with your heartbeat (heart rhythm) and to find out how to fix it. In this test, the doctor inserts flexible tubes called catheters into blood vessels. These blood vessels are typically in the groin or neck. Then the doctor threads these...

Discusses infection of the heart's valves or inner lining (endocardium). Covers cause by bacteria (bacterial endocarditis) or fungi (fungal endocarditis). Looks at symptoms like fever. Covers treatment with medicines or possibly surgery.

Endovascular Repair for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair fixes an aneurysm in your aorta. An aneurysm is a weak or bulging part of a vein or artery. Your aorta is a large artery. It carries blood from your heart through your belly to the rest of your body. If you don't fix this problem, your aorta could burst. This can cause death. The...

Enjoying Life When You Have Heart Failure
People who have heart failure can be active and enjoy life. Daily activities. If you have heart failure, you may find that your symptoms make it difficult to do things like cook, clean, bathe, or shop. You can deal with these limitations in various ways. For example, you can rearrange your kitchen to make...

Exercise Electrocardiogram (EKG)
Covers exercise stress test, also called treadmill test or exercise EKG. Explains why it's done, such as finding cause of angina symptoms and checking exercise tolerance after heart attack. Includes how it's done and how it feels. Includes risks.

Exercise Electrocardiogram (Stress Test)
See how a stress test works and how it's done.

Exercising to Prevent a Stroke
Exercise helps lower high blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for stroke. Exercise can help you control other things that put you at risk, such as obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. Exercise to lower your risk of stroke It is important to exercise regularly. Do activities that raise your heart rate...

What is fainting? Fainting is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness. When people faint, or pass out, they usually fall down. After they are lying down, most people will recover quickly. The term doctors use for fainting is syncope (say "SING-kuh-pee"). Fainting one time is usually nothing to worry about. But it is a...

Familial Lipid Disorders
A familial lipid disorder is a condition that runs in families. It causes very high levels of cholesterol. This condition can cause a person to get coronary artery disease while still young. Familial lipid disorders are not common. Your doctor may look at cholesterol levels and family history to check if you or your...

Fast Heart Rate
A normal heart rate for a healthy adult is between about 60 and 100 beats per minute. Heart rates of more than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) can be caused by: Exercise or stress. This fast heart rate usually returns to normal range (60 to 100 beats per minute) with rest and relaxation. Illnesses that cause fever...

Femoral-Tibial Bypass Surgery
Femoral-tibial bypass is a type of surgery. It redirects blood around blocked blood vessels in your lower leg or foot. It is often done if you have pain. Or it may be done if you have foot sores caused by circulation problems. Your doctor will use something called a graft to make the blood go around (bypass) the blocked...

Femoropopliteal Bypass Surgery
A femoropopliteal bypass is a type of surgery. It is also called a fem-pop or leg artery bypass. This type of surgery redirects blood around a blocked blood vessel in your leg. So it may improve the blood flow in your leg. This can decrease leg pain, numbness, and cramping. Your doctor will use something called a graft...

Getting Treatment Through a PICC or Central Line
Learn about different kinds of treatments given through a PICC or central venous line.

Giant Cell Arteritis
Covers symptoms of giant cell arteritis, which include vision problems and pain in the jaw. Covers how this condition is treated.

HELLP Syndrome and Preeclampsia
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver disorder thought to be a type of severe preeclampsia. It is characterized by H emolysis (destruction of red blood cells), E levated L iver enzymes (which indicate liver damage), and L ow P latelet count. HELLP is usually related to preeclampsia. About 10% to 20% of women...

Hands-Only CPR
Learn how to do hands-only CPR.

Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet
Covers why you should cut unhealthy fats (saturated fats and trans fats) from your diet. Looks at healthy fats (polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat). Offers tips for making healthier choices. Links to in-depth info on healthy eating.

Healthy Eating: Eating Less Sodium
Tells how to limit sodium (salt) for better health. Gives tips on low-sodium diet and reading food labels. Includes tips for cooking with less sodium.

Heart Arrhythmias and Exercise
If you have an irregular heartbeat ( arrhythmia), ask your doctor what type and level of exercise is safe for you. Regular activity can help keep your heart and body healthy. The type and amount of exercise that is allowable will vary depending on the cause of your abnormal heart rhythm and whether you have other...

Heart Attack and Stroke Risk Screening
Screening for heart attack and stroke risk is a way for your doctor to check your chance of having a problem called atherosclerosis. This problem is also called hardening of the arteries. It is the starting point for most heart and blood flow problems, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and...

Heart Attack and Stroke in Women: Reducing Your Risk
Covers risk of heart disease and stroke in women. Lists things that increase risk. Lists prevention steps, such as diet, exercise, not smoking, managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and making decisions on birth control and hormone therapy.

Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
Covers causes of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and unstable angina. Discusses symptoms like chest pain or pressure. Explains MI and angina differences. Offers prevention tips. Covers diagnostic tests and treatment with medicines and surgery.

Heart Attack: How to Prevent Another One
After you've had a heart attack, you may be worried that you could have another one. That's easy to understand. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having another heart attack. Take your medicine. Medicines can help prevent another heart attack. Some of the medicines your doctor...

Heart Block
What is heart block? Heart block refers to an abnormality in the way electricity passes through the normal electrical pathways of the heart. The abnormality "blocks" the electrical impulse from continuing through the normal pathways and usually results in a slower heart rate. The electrical activity of the heart starts...

Heart Failure
Describes heart failure (congestive heart failure). Discusses common causes like hypertension and coronary artery disease. Has info on symptoms. Covers diagnostic tests and treatments. Discusses heart failure classification system and stages of CHF.

Heart Failure Complications
Even if you are treating your heart failure successfully, you may develop a complication that can be serious and life-threatening. It is important to identify complications of heart failure as soon as possible, because some can be extremely serious conditions. You can discuss your complications with your doctor and...

Heart Failure Daily Action Plan
Living with heart failure may not be easy. But there are things you can do to feel better, stay healthy longer, and avoid the hospital. Good self-care means doing certain things every day, like taking your medicine. It's also about checking for symptoms such as weight gain and swelling. Tracking your symptoms every day...

Heart Failure Stages
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have devised a classification system for heart failure. It categorizes heart failure based on how the disease progresses in most people. Under this system, heart failure is...

Heart Failure Symptoms
If you have heart failure, symptoms start to happen when your heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of your body. Shortness of breath While shortness of breath is the most common symptom of heart failure, it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish it from shortness of breath caused by other health...

Heart Failure Types
Heart failure means that your heart muscle does not pump as much blood as your body needs. Failure doesn't mean that your heart has stopped. It means that your heart is not pumping as well as it should. There is more than one type of heart failure, so you might hear your doctor call it different names. The types are...

Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction (Diastolic Heart Failure)
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) occurs when the lower left chamber (left ventricle) is not able to fill properly with blood during the diastolic (filling) phase. The amount of blood pumped out to the body is less than normal. It is also called diastolic heart failure. What does preserved ejection...

Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction (Systolic Heart Failure)
Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) happens when the left side of your heart doesn't pump blood out to the body as well as normal. It's sometimes called systolic heart failure. This is because your left ventricle doesn't squeeze forcefully enough during systole, which is the phase of your heartbeat when...

Heart Failure and Sexual Activity
Sex is part of a healthy life and is part of your quality of life. Most people with heart failure can still have an active sex life. If you have mild heart failure, your doctor will likely say that sex is safe for your heart. If you have more severe heart failure, your doctor will likely check your health to make sure...

Heart Failure: Activity and Exercise
Tells how to exercise to improve health with congestive heart failure. Includes need for doctor's okay and exercise plan. Includes tips on physical activity like stretching, walking, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, and tai chi.

Heart Failure: Avoiding Colds and Flu
If you have heart failure, it is important that you do as much as possible to avoid catching colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections. Although these may be relatively minor illnesses in healthy people, they are more dangerous if you have heart failure, and you are at higher risk for dangerous complications...

Heart Failure: Avoiding Medicines That Make Symptoms Worse
If you have heart failure, you need to be extra careful with medicines. Some can make your heart failure worse. Other medicines may not mix well with your heart failure drugs. This Actionset will help you learn which medicines you may need to avoid and what questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist. Each time you see a...

Heart Failure: Avoiding Triggers for Sudden Heart Failure
Tells how to prevent sudden heart failure. Covers symptoms and lists triggers that lead to congestive heart failure: too much salt, too much exercise, and taking medicines wrong. Encourages staying with diet, medicine, and exercise plan.

Heart Failure: Being Active
Learn how exercise is good for your heart and how to be active and safe.

Heart Failure: Checking Your Weight
Discusses importance of tracking weight for those with heart failure. Offers links to info on watching fluid intake, activity and exercise, and eating less salt. Covers how to check your weight when you have heart failure.

Heart Failure: Checking Your Weight Daily
Understand how daily weight checks help you avoid heart failure emergencies.

Heart Failure: Compensation by the Heart and Body
Heart failure means that your heart muscle doesn't pump as much blood as your body needs. Because your heart can't pump well, your heart and your body try to make up for it. This is called compensation. Your body has a remarkable ability to compensate for heart failure. The body may do such a good job that many people...

Heart Failure: Daily Symptom Checks
Learn how to easily check your symptoms daily so you can stay healthy.

Heart Failure: Disease Management Programs
Many hospitals and insurers have developed disease management (DM) programs to educate people who have heart failure about their disease. Disease management includes a broad range of health services, such as home health care, visiting nurses, and rehabilitation. The goal of DM programs is to offer a combination of...

Heart Failure: Eating a Healthy Diet
Why is diet important for heart failure? Diet is critical in the treatment of heart failure. Limiting sodium is typically recommended to limit fluid build-up. But some other nutrients or substances also play a role as well. Heart failure can become more severe if diet and medicine recommendations for heart failure are...

Heart Failure: How Support Can Help
Learn how to reach out to friends and loved ones for support.

Heart Failure: Learn to Recognize Symptoms
Learn how checking your symptoms every day helps you manage your heart failure.

Heart Failure: Less Common Symptoms
While there are certain symptoms that people with heart failure experience more commonly, there are many other symptoms that heart failure can cause. These symptoms are typically less common because they often result from more severe heart failure, when the body can no longer compensate properly for the failing heart...

Heart Failure: Limiting Fluids
Learn tips for limiting fluids to prevent fluid buildup.

Heart Failure: Limiting Sodium
Learn why sodium is bad for heart failure and get tips for low-sodium meals.

Heart Failure: Medicines to Avoid
Learn which medicines could make your heart failure worse.

Heart Failure: Practice Tracking Sodium
Learn how to start tracking the sodium in all the foods and drinks you have each day.

Heart Failure: Self-Care
Learn why your daily care plan is so important for managing your heart failure.

Heart Failure: Should I Get a Pacemaker (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy)?
Guides through decision to get a pacemaker for heart failure. Answers common questions about pacemakers, such as how they work and are placed. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Heart Failure: Should I Get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)?
Guides you through decision to get an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Gives information about ICDs and asks questions to help you learn if an ICD is right for you. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

Heart Failure: Small Steps to Self-Care
Learn how to take small steps toward long-term self-care for heart failure.

Heart Failure: Support After Your Hospital Stay
Learn about help you'll get to manage your heart failure at home.

Heart Failure: Symptom Record
Use this form to describe the severity of your heart failure symptoms and whether they get worse. Also, record any new symptoms that develop. Take this form with you when you visit your doctor. Symptoms Describe severity of symptoms and when they started Shortness of breath Swelling in your legs or ankles Sudden weight...

Heart Failure: Taking Medicines Properly
Explains how to take medicine for congestive heart failure. Suggests schedules, lists, and pill containers to remember when to take medicines. Covers need-to-know names of medicines and side effects. Also how to handle missed doses, need to avoid certain medicines.

Heart Failure: Taking Over-the-Counter Medicines Safely
Learn how to make a plan that helps you use medicines safely.

Heart Failure: Taking an ACE inhibitor or ARB
Learn from another person with heart failure about the importance of taking your ACE inhibitor/ARB.

Heart Failure: Tips for Caregivers
Talk with doctors, therapists, and counselors about how to help a friend or relative living with heart failure. Most people don't hesitate when they are called upon to help a loved one who is ill. But being a full-time caregiver may be an unfamiliar role for you. It is important to consider the long-term...

Heart Failure: Tips for Easier Breathing
If you have heart failure, the following tips may help you deal with fluid buildup that makes it hard to breathe. Call your doctor if you have new symptoms or if your symptoms have become worse since you last saw your doctor. Elevate your upper body. Sit in a chair or prop yourself up with pillows. At night, sleep with...

Heart Failure: Track Your Symptoms
Learn to keep track of your symptoms to help manage your heart failure.

Heart Failure: Track Your Weight, Food, and Sodium
Use this form to record the sodium content of the foods you eat or drink each day. This record will help you see whether you are getting too much sodium in your diet. Use the Nutrition Facts on food labels to help find how much sodium you eat. You can tell when your body retains fluid by weighing yourself often. Sodium...

Heart Failure: Watching Your Fluids
Discusses need to watch fluid intake with congestive heart failure. Gives tips on spacing fluids throughout day and how to easily keep track of fluid intake. Also mentions diuretic medicines to remove excess fluid from body.

Heart Failure: When to Act on Your Symptoms
Learn how to be sure when changes in your symptoms mean you should get help.

Heart Failure: When to Call for Help
Learn why you need a written plan to know when heart failure symptoms are an emergency.

Heart Failure: Your Reason to Be Active
Find what motivates you to add a little activity to your life and benefit your heart.

Heart Health: Finding Support for Healthy Changes
Hear how one woman found the support she needed to make heart-healthy choices.

Heart Health: Walking for a Healthy Heart
Covers walking as one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity and improve your health. Explains what you need to know before starting a walking program. Includes how to stay motivated.

Heart Health: Where Will You Be in 5 Years?
Hear what motivated other people to make changes to keep their heart healthy.

Heart Murmur
Discusses heart murmur, an extra sound the blood makes as it flows through the heart. Covers harmless (innocent) murmurs and abnormal murmurs. Includes info on heart valve damage. Discusses tests by a cardiologist including electrocardiogram (ECG).

Heart Rate Problems: Should I Get a Pacemaker?
Topic guides reader through decision to get a pacemaker for heart rate problems. Provides general overview of what pacemakers are and what heart problems can be helped with pacemakers. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting a pacemaker.

Heart Rhythm Problems and Driving
Is it okay to drive if you have an arrhythmia? You can drive with an arrhythmia as long as it doesn't cause symptoms that make it dangerous for you to drive. If you have an arrhythmia or an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) that makes it dangerous for you to drive, your doctor might suggest that you stop...

Heart Rhythm Problems: Diary of Symptoms
If your doctor thinks you might have a heart rhythm problem, your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of symptoms. This information can help your doctor find out what type of rhythm problem you have. And if you have a rhythm problem, a symptom diary can help you keep track of your condition. You can then discuss your...

Heart Rhythm Problems: Should I Get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)?
Topic guides reader through decision to get an ICD for heart rhythm problems. Provides general overview of what ICDs are and what heart rhythm problems can be helped with ICDs. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting an ICD.

Heart Rhythm Problems: Symptoms
Heart rhythm problems, called arrhythmias, can cause a few types of symptoms. Some of these symptoms include: Palpitations. Having palpitations means that you are unusually aware of your heartbeat. Some people describe them as: A "fluttering" in their chest. A "skipped beat." A "pounding sensation." A feeling that the...

Heart Tests: When Do You Need Them?
Heart tests can help your doctor find out if you are at risk for a heart problem, if you have a heart problem, and what treatment you need. There are many heart tests. Most are noninvasive, which means that your doctor does not insert a device into your body for the test. Many of the tests provide still or moving images...

Heart Transplant
A heart transplant is a procedure in which a surgeon removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donor heart. During a heart transplant, a mechanical pump circulates blood through the body while the surgeon removes the diseased heart and replaces it with a healthy heart from a recently deceased donor. The surgeon...

Heart Valve Disease
What are the types of heart valve disease? Heart valve disease can affect any of the four valves. A valve may not be able to open well enough (stenosis) or close well enough (regurgitation). Heart valve diseases include: Aortic valve regurgitation. Aortic valve stenosis. Mitral valve regurgitation. Mitral valve...

Heart Valve Repair or Replacement: Before Your Surgery
Learn how surgery is done to repair or replace heart valves.

Heart and Circulation
Provides link to info on high cholesterol and cholesterol/triglyceride tests. Also has links to info on coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease of the legs, plus tools to decide about treatment options.

Heart-Healthy Diet
Learn how to start eating foods that are good for your heart.

Heart-Healthy Eating
Heart-healthy eating means eating food that can help lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. It focuses on eating more healthy foods and cutting back on foods that aren't so good for you. It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular activity and not smoking. A heart-healthy eating...

Heart-Healthy Eating: Fish
As part of a healthy diet, eat at least two servings of fish each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines. Fish as part of a heart-healthy diet Fish is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. A heart-healthy diet is not just...

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
A heart-healthy lifestyle is a way of living that helps keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. This lifestyle can help lower your risk of a heart attack and stroke. It can also improve the quality and length of your life. To be heart-healthy: Don't smoke, and try to avoid secondhand smoke. Quitting smoking is the...

Helping a Loved One After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
People in recovery from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may need assistance from family members and friends in a variety of ways. You may help your loved one for several weeks during recovery with a number of tasks, including shopping, cleaning, and driving. You can also help support your loved one in making...

Hemorrhagic Stroke
A hemorrhagic stroke develops when a blood vessel (artery) in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures). This causes bleeding: Inside the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage). Near the surface of the brain ( subarachnoid hemorrhage or subdural hemorrhage). A common cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage is the rupture of an...

High Blood Pressure
Covers causes and symptoms of high blood pressure. Explains systolic and diastolic pressure numbers. Looks at treatment and prevention steps. Includes risks of untreated high blood pressure such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Is this topic for you? This topic is about high blood pressure that some women get while they are pregnant. For information about preeclampsia, a more serious kind of high blood pressure, see the topic Preeclampsia. What is high blood pressure? It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. But if...

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Learn what it means for you and your baby when you're pregnant and have high blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home
Explains why you should monitor your blood pressure at home and how it helps you be more in control of your own health care. Includes steps on how to take your blood pressure at home. Covers systolic and diastolic pressure measurements.

High Blood Pressure: Make the Most of Home Monitoring
Learn how using a home blood pressure monitor can give you better control of your health.

High Blood Pressure: Nutrition Tips
DASH diet The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help you lower your blood pressure. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. For more information on the DASH diet, see: High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet. DASH Diet Sample Menu. Follow these daily...

High Blood Pressure: Over-the-Counter Medicines to Avoid
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can raise your blood pressure or keep your blood pressure medicine from working the way it should. So if you have high blood pressure or other heart or blood vessel problems, you need to be careful with OTC medicines. That includes vitamins and supplements. Your doctor or pharmacist...

High Blood Pressure: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take or not take medicine to treat high blood pressure. Explains what high blood pressure is and risks of not lowering it. Covers treatment choices and lifestyle changes.

High Blood Pressure: Taking Medicines Properly
Covers importance of taking the right dose of the right high blood pressure medicines at the right time. Explains how medicines control high blood pressure. Includes working with your doctor to make a plan for taking your medicines.

High Blood Pressure: The DASH Diet
Learn how the DASH eating plan can help lower your blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet
Provides tips on adding DASH diet to stop high blood pressure. Includes sample DASH menu. Explains why adding more fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products helps lower high blood pressure. Includes working with experts to help plan menus.

High Cholesterol
Covers the kinds of cholesterol. Explains that cholesterol is one of many risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Covers treatment to lower risk of heart attack and stroke that includes healthy habits and statins.

High Cholesterol: How a Dietitian Can Help
Millions of people struggle to lose weight and improve their diets. Finding a diet that works for you and then staying with it can be a huge challenge. Registered dietitians are experts in diet and nutrition, particularly for promoting general health and treating conditions, such as high cholesterol. A dietitian can...

High Cholesterol: Making Lifestyle Changes
High cholesterol is treated with heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicine. These can lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. You and your doctor may decide to first try treating your high cholesterol without medicine. Changing some of your habits may be all you need to do to...

High Triglycerides
What are triglycerides? Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Your body uses them for energy. You need some triglycerides for good health. But high triglycerides might raise your risk of heart disease and may be a sign of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the combination of high blood pressure...

High-Output Heart Failure
High-output heart failure happens when the body's need for blood is unusually high, so heart failure symptoms happen even though the heart is working well. This type of heart failure happens to a very small number of people with heart failure. What happens to the heart? High-output heart failure occurs when the...

High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) Test
The high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test is a blood test that finds lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). This protein measures general levels of inflammation in your body. The hs-CRP can be used to find the risk for heart disease and stroke in people who don't already have heart disease. The hs-CRP...

Home Blood Pressure Log
Name: ________________________ Target blood pressure: __________ Date Time (a.m.) Blood pressure Time (p.m.) Blood pressure Comments Sample: 8/6 8:15 138/87 6:20 142/92 Stressful day at work

Home Blood Pressure Test
Using a home blood pressure monitor lets you keep track of your blood pressure at home. Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers. The first number shows how hard the blood pushes when the...

How Plaque Increases the Risk of a Heart Attack
Learn how plaque in blood vessels can become a problem and cause a heart attack.

How a Heart Attack Happens
Get a clear, simple explanation of what happens during a heart attack.

How the Heart Works
Your heart is divided into two separate pumping systems, the right side and the left side. The right side of your heart receives oxygen-poor blood from your veins and pumps it to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide. The left side of your heart receives oxygen-rich blood from your lungs...

How to Check Your Heart Rate
Learn how to check your heart rate with these simple steps.

How to Find Sodium
Reading food labels Most packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label. This will tell you how much sodium is in one serving of food. Here are some tips to help you. Look at both the serving size and the sodium amount. Food labels list the amount of sodium for each serving. The serving size is located at the top of the...

How to Give Yourself an Anticoagulant (Blood Thinner) Shot
Learn what an anticoagulant (blood thinner) shot is, and see how to give yourself an injection.

How to Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Learn how medicines and a healthy lifestyle help protect you from another heart attack.

How to Put on Compression Stockings
Learn some tips that will help you put on your compression stockings.

Hypertensive Emergency
What is a hypertensive emergency? A hypertensive emergency is very high blood pressure that damages the body. It can cause damage to the brain, heart, eyes, or kidneys. A hypertensive emergency needs immediate care. What are the symptoms? The symptoms of a hypertensive emergency include headache, chest pain, trouble...

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (say "hy-per-TROH-fik kar-dee-oh-my-AWP-uh-thee") happens when the heart muscle grows too thick. The heart gets bigger, and its chambers get smaller. Many people have no symptoms and live a normal life with few problems. But in some people: The heart...

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Types
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic disease in which the heart muscle grows abnormally, making the heart muscle thicken. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is described as either obstructive or nonobstructive. Nonobstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle is abnormally thick but not to the extent that any...

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Risk of Sudden Death
Some people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at high risk for sudden death. It can occur at any age, but it is most shocking when it happens to young adults or athletes. While the media often highlight these tragic deaths, sudden death is rare. It occurs in about 1 out of 100 adults with hypertrophic...

Hypothermia and Cold Temperature Exposure
What is hypothermia? Hypothermia occurs when the body gets cold and loses heat faster than the body can make it. A body temperature below normal can be a sign of hypothermia. A rectal temperature is considered the most accurate body temperature. A normal rectal body temperature ranges from 97.5°F (36.4°C) to 99.6°F...

ICD: Living Well With It
Discusses how to live with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a device that helps control heart rhythm. Gives safety guidelines and tips for travel, exercise, and managing anxiety.

Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a battery-powered device that can fix an abnormal heart rate or rhythm and prevent sudden death. The ICD is placed under the skin of the chest. It's attached to one or two wires (called leads). Most of the time, these leads go into the heart through a vein. An ICD is...

Infant CPR
Learn how to do infant CPR in 3 minutes—just in case.

Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate?
Helps you calculate your target heart rate based on your age, resting heart rate, and activity level. Covers using your target heart rate to know how hard to exercise to gain the most aerobic benefit from your workout.

Interactive Tools
These Interactive Tools are easy-to-use personal calculators. Use any of them to start learning more about your health. Health and Fitness Tools Do Your BMI and Waist Size Increase Your Health Risks? How Bad Are Your Urinary Symptoms From Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)? How Many Calories Did You Burn? Should I...

Intermittent Claudication
Intermittent claudication is a symptom of peripheral arterial disease. Intermittent claudication is a tight, aching, or squeezing pain in the calf, foot, thigh, or buttock that occurs during exercise, such as walking up a steep hill or a flight of stairs. This pain usually occurs after the same amount of exercise and is...

Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device that helps the heart pump blood. It is a long, thin tube called a catheter with a balloon on the end. The balloon inflates and deflates in the same rhythm as the heart. It helps the heart pump blood to the body. An IABP is usually for emergencies only. For...

Is It a Heart Attack?
Hear a story about how heart attacks may feel different than you expect.

Ischemia means your heart muscle is not getting enough blood and oxygen. It is usually caused by a narrowing or blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries. These arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. When you have ischemia, you may feel angina symptoms. For most people, angina feels like chest pain or...

Isolated Systolic High Blood Pressure
In isolated systolic high blood pressure (isolated systolic hypertension, or ISH), systolic blood pressure is elevated, but diastolic blood pressure is normal. This type of high blood pressure is more common in older adults, especially older women. High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and heart disease...

Izzy's Story: Living With the DASH Diet
Izzy's story: Living with the DASH diet "I'm a believer!" That's the proclamation from Izzy, a 60-year-old clerk from Petaluma, Calif. She's talking about a way of eating that helped her lose weight and brought her blood pressure way down. "If there were a commercial for the DASH diet, I'd volunteer to be a...

Joan's Story: Coping With Depression and Anxiety From Heart Failure
Joan figured she would need months to recover physically from the heart attack 2 years ago that led to her heart failure. She didn't realize she would need just as much time to recover emotionally. "I was only 52 when I had the heart attack," she says. "Heart disease runs in my family, but I thought I'd been taking care...

Joe's Story: Changing My Lifestyle
When Joe turned 60 last year, he decided he was overdue for a good, old-fashioned physical. He had always been blessed with good health. But he knew that at his age he should be having regular checkups, especially since he was overweight. His doctor gave him a full exam and found no serious health problems. She also...

Kawasaki Disease
What is Kawasaki disease? Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. The symptoms can be severe for several days. But with treatment, most children return to normal activities. Kawasaki disease can harm the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart muscle. Most children who are...

Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins
Discusses treating varicose and spider veins with a laser. Covers simple and endovenous laser treatment. Looks at sclerotherapy. Discusses why laser treatment is done and what to expect after treatment. Covers how well it works and possible side effects.

Leadless Pacemaker
A leadless pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device. It sends mild electrical signals to your heart. This keeps the heart beating normally. These signals are painless. The pacemaker can help stop the dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath caused by a slow heart rate. A leadless pacemaker is a newer type of...

Learning About Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke
Learn what raises your risk for having a heart attack or stroke and how you can lower your risk.

Learning About Your CT Scan
Learn what to expect when you get a CT scan.

Learning About Your MRI Test
Learn what to expect when you get an MRI.

Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH)
What is left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH)? Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) means that the muscle of the heart's main pump (left ventricle) has become thick and enlarged. This can happen over time if the left ventricle has to work too hard. This part of the heart needs to be strong to pump oxygen-rich blood to your...

Leg Amputation
The decision to have a limb amputated is difficult for the person and his or her doctor. Many times, extensive measures have been tried to save the limb. The major causes of amputation are diabetes and/or peripheral arterial disease that results in either painful, poor limb function or gangrene. In general, amputation...

Leg Aneurysm
What is a leg aneurysm? A leg aneurysm (say "ANN-yuh-riz-um") is a bulge in a blood vessel (artery) in your leg. The bulge occurs in a weak spot in the artery. It can happen in one or both legs. Blood clots can form in this type of aneurysm and can block blood flow in your leg. What increases your risk? Family history...

Leg Problems, Noninjury
Briefly discusses symptoms of leg problems not caused by injury. Covers symptoms like pain, swelling, cramps, numbness, tingling, weakness, and lumps and bumps under the skin. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Leriche's Syndrome
Leriche's syndrome is the term used for a group of symptoms that are caused by a certain type of peripheral arterial disease of the legs. In Leriche's syndrome, blood flow in the aorta is blocked in the stomach area. This blocks blood flow to the legs. In men, blood flow to the penis is also blocked. The following...

Linda's Story: Quitting Smoking Lowers My Risk
Linda's best friend had just had a heart attack. Linda, 56, and Terri, 52, work together in the records section of their city's police department. They had also been working on getting healthier together. They both had high cholesterol and were overweight. They both smoked. But they'd been going to aerobics class and...

Lipid Panel
Briefly discusses lipid panel, a blood test that measures cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Covers why a lipid panel might be ordered. Also covers how to prepare for test.

Living With More Than One Health Problem
Many people have more than one long-term (chronic) health problem. You may be one of them. For example, you may have high blood pressure and diabetes, or you may have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure. When you have more than one problem, doctors call the health problems comorbidities. One health problem...

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
What is low blood pressure? Low blood pressure means that your blood pressure is lower than normal. Another name for low blood pressure is hypotension (say "hy-poh-TEN-shun"). In most healthy adults, low blood pressure does not cause problems or symptoms. In fact, it may be normal for you. For example, people who...

Low-Salt Diets: Eating Out
Looks at how you can control how much salt (sodium) you eat when you eat out. Explains what salt does to your body. Lists foods to avoid and foods that are heart-healthy. Offers tips for choosing low-sodium foods at restaurants.

Lyme Disease
Discusses Lyme disease, an infection spread by ticks. Includes info on deer ticks. Covers symptoms and Lyme disease tests. Covers treatment with antibiotics. Includes info on complications from not treating Lyme disease. Offers prevention tips.

Lyme Disease Test
Discusses antibody test used to detect Lyme disease. Covers two types of test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot test). Covers why and how they are done. Includes info on what results mean.

Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)
A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of blood vessels inside the body. In many cases MRA can provide information that can't be obtained from an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT)...

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Discusses test (also called MRI scan) that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Covers why it is done, how to prepare, and how it is done.

Manage Stress for Your Heart
Everyone has some stress. But stress can be bad for your heart. If you have heart disease, stress can lead to angina symptoms and maybe a heart attack. Taking steps to manage stress can improve your health and life. Try different ways to reduce stress, such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Try to change...

Maze Procedure
Discusses surgical treatment to control irregular heartbeat and restore normal rhythm of heart. Looks at what to expect after surgery, like taking medicine such as Coumadin. Covers risks.

Medicine for High Blood Pressure
Learn how medicine can help lower your blood pressure.

Medicines That Can Cause Changes in Heart Rate or Rhythm
Many medicines and drugs can affect the rate and rhythm of the heart. A few examples are: Asthma medicines. Decongestants and cold medicines. Illegal drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. Some heart and blood pressure medicines. Some medicines for depression and anxiety. Thyroid medicine. Illegal drugs, such as...

Medicines That Increase the Chance for a Heat-Related Illness
Many medicines change how well your body can stay cool. They include: Some antidepressants. Antihistamines. Some blood pressure medicines. Some sedative medicines. Thyroid medicine. Alcohol and illegal drugs such as methamphetamines, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, PCP (phencyclidine hydrochloride), and LSD...

Medicines to Prevent Abnormal Heart Rhythm in Heart Failure
One of the most frightening aspects about having heart failure is that it can lead to premature death. The increased death rate among people with heart failure is in part caused by the tendency of those with heart failure to develop abnormal heart rhythms. Some people with heart failure die suddenly from abnormal rapid...

Mediterranean Diet
What is a Mediterranean diet? The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy style of eating. It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes eating fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber breads, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. These foods are rich in...

Metabolic Syndrome
Discusses metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems. These problems increase the risk for diabetes and heart disease (coronary artery disease). Covers risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Covers diet and exercise to improve health.

Mitral Valve Prolapse
What is mitral valve prolapse? Your mitral valve controls blood flow on the left side of your heart. The valve opens and closes with each heartbeat. It works like a one-way gate, letting blood flow from your upper heart chamber to your lower chamber. When you have mitral valve prolapse (MVP), the valve closes after...

Mitral Valve Regurgitation
What is mitral valve regurgitation? Mitral valve regurgitation is a problem that happens when the mitral valve does not close tightly enough. The closed valve lets blood leak (regurgitate) from the lower chamber of the heart back into the upper chamber. Your heart has to work harder to pump this extra blood. Primary...

Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve?
You can work with your doctor to decide whether you want to have your mitral valve repaired or replaced to treat chronic mitral valve regurgitation. Many things play a role in this decision. These things include: The cause of the regurgitation. If you have symptoms. If you have other health problems. How severe the...

Mitral Valve Repair Surgery
Mitral valve repair is typically done during an open-heart surgery. It repairs a mitral valve that is not working as it should. The mitral valve opens and closes to keep blood flowing in the proper direction through your heart. If the mitral valve doesn't close properly, it's called mitral valve regurgitation. If the...

Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery
Mitral valve replacement is most often done as an open-heart surgery. Minimally invasive types of surgery may be another option. The damaged mitral valve is removed and replaced with a new heart valve. The damaged valve is cut out. Then the new valve is sewn in place. The new valve may be mechanical or made of animal...

Mitral Valve Stenosis
What is mitral valve stenosis? Mitral valve stenosis is a heart problem in which the mitral valve doesn't open as wide as it should. The valve becomes stiff or scarred, or the valve flaps become partially joined together. See a picture of mitral valve stenosis. Mitral valve stenosis can lead to heart failure; a stroke...

Mitral Valve Stenosis: Repair or Replacement?
You can work with your doctor to decide if you want your mitral valve repaired or replaced to treat mitral valve stenosis. Many things play a role in this decision. These things include: If you have symptoms. If you have other health problems. How severe the stenosis is. The shape of the mitral valve. The risks of the...

Modify Recipes for a Heart-Healthy Diet
You don't have to abandon all your favorite recipes to eat healthier. Several small changes to your current recipes can often greatly lower the saturated fat and sodium in your diet. These small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat and calories in your diet. But they won't make much difference in how...

Monitoring During Anesthesia
People receiving anesthesia must be carefully watched, because the medicines used for anesthesia affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system (airway and lungs). Anesthesia suppresses many of the body's normal...

Monitoring and Medicines for Heart Failure
Heart failure is most often a lifelong illness that will require frequent changes in your medicine schedule and regular follow-up with your doctor. Over the years, many things will affect the course of your disease, including other illnesses that you develop, your age, your diet, your ability to tolerate and comply...

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but serious condition. It causes inflammation, which can affect the heart, lungs, brain, and other organs. A child usually has a fever for 24 hours or longer, plus other symptoms. These can vary, but...

Myoglobin Test
Myoglobin is a protein found in heart tissue and other muscles. It is released into the blood after damage to the heart or other muscles. Damage can occur from a serious event such as a heart attack or a burn. Myoglobin can be checked with a blood test or a urine test. Levels in the blood will increase within about 3...

Myxoma Tumors of the Heart
Myxomas are tumors of connective tissue. They can occur almost anywhere in the body, including the heart. What problems can they cause? A myxoma tumor can cause different types of problems. These include problems with blood flow through the heart and how well the heart pumps blood. If pieces of a tumor break off, they...

Open-Heart Surgery: Returning Home
Learn how to take care of yourself and what activities to avoid after open-heart surgery.

Organ Transplant
Answers questions about organ transplants. Covers becoming an organ donor and getting on a waiting list. Covers tests used to see if you'd be a good candidate. Looks at medicines that you might take after a transplant. Offers tips for staying healthy.

Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy helps you get more oxygen into your lungs and bloodstream. You may use it if you have a disease that makes it hard to breathe, such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs), or heart failure. Oxygen therapy can make it easier for you to breathe and can reduce your heart's workload. Some people...

Oxygen Therapy: Using Oxygen at Home
Oxygen therapy helps you get more oxygen into your lungs and bloodstream. You may use it if you have a disease that makes it hard to breathe, such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs), or heart failure. Oxygen therapy can make it easier for you to breathe and can reduce your heart's workload. Some people...

Discusses pacemakers used to treat bradycardia. Discusses various types of pacemakers. Covers how they work and how well they work, risks, and possible side effects.

Pacemaker Placement
See what you can expect and how to prepare for getting a pacemaker.

Pacemaker Placement: Returning Home
See some tips for taking care of yourself after your procedure.

Pacemaker: Living Well With It
Discusses pacemakers to control heart rhythm. Gives information on safety guidelines and tips for exercise and travel.

People Who Need Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis
If you have certain heart conditions, you may need to take antibiotics before you have some dental or surgical procedures that could put bacteria or fungi into your blood. The antibiotics lower your risk of getting endocarditis. These heart conditions include: A repaired or replaced heart valve. Endocarditis in the...

Pericardiocentesis is done to find the cause of fluid buildup around the heart and to relieve pressure on the heart. The tissue sac that surrounds the heart is called the pericardium. It protects the heart and parts of the major blood vessels connected to the heart. Normally, there is a small amount of fluid between...

What is pericarditis? Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the pericardium, which is the sac that surrounds your heart. Pericarditis usually doesn't cause serious problems. Most people feel better in a couple of weeks. When there are problems, they may include: A buildup of fluid in the pericardial sac. This is...

Peripheral Arterial Angioplasty
In this article, you'll learn the basics about peripheral arterial angioplasty, including how the procedure is done.

Peripheral Arterial Disease and Exercise
Specialized exercise programs may help relieve leg pain that occurs with exercise ( intermittent claudication) in some people who have PAD. If you have trouble walking because of your symptoms, this type of program may help you walk more easily. Your doctor may recommend a supervised exercise program. You'll work with a...

Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs
Discusses peripheral arterial disease, a narrowing or blockage of arteries that results in poor blood flow to your arms and legs. Discusses causes and symptoms. Covers treatment with lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery. Also offers prevention tips.

Peripheral Arterial Disease: Pulse and Blood Pressure Measurement
Pulse and blood pressure measurements taken in different areas of the body help diagnose peripheral arterial disease. Pulse In the legs, doctors will commonly feel for pulses in the femoral (groin), popliteal (back of the knee), posterior tibial (ankle), and dorsalis pedis (foot) areas. Other pulses often checked...

Peripheral Arterial Disease: Should I Have Surgery?
Guides you through the decision to have surgery for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Covers what PAD is and how it is treated. Covers risks. Lists reasons for and against having surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Physical Activity Helps Prevent a Heart Attack and Stroke
Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to help prevent a heart attack or stroke. Being active is one part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, not smoking, and staying at a healthy weight are other ways you can be heart-healthy and help prevent a heart attack or a stroke. If you are not...

Physical Therapy
Discusses exercise, manual therapy, and education for chronic conditions like COPD or arthritis. Covers goals that include increasing flexibility, strength, and endurance. Covers what to expect.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Covers symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica, which include muscle pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. Covers how this condition is treated.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (radioactive substance) to look at organs in the body. The tracer usually is a special form of a substance (such as glucose) that collects in cells that are...

Post-Thrombotic Syndrome
What is post-thrombotic syndrome? Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or deep vein blood clot. After a while, this blood clot (usually in your leg), can damage the vein. Damage to the vein can lead to more pressure in the veins. The increased pressure can cause long-term...

Postoperative Problems
Briefly discusses possible problems that may occur after surgery. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
What is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)? Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a fast heart rate (tachycardia) that starts after you stand up. This can cause symptoms such as dizziness or weakness. What causes it? Experts don't understand what causes it, but different body systems seem to...

Covers causes and symptoms of preeclampsia. Includes regular checkups with your doctor. Looks at prevention and treatment with close monitoring and possibly blood pressure medicine.

Pregnancy: Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins near the surface of the skin. They're caused by faulty valves in the veins or weak vein walls. Varicose veins usually occur on the legs, but they can also affect the vulva. They are common during pregnancy. When the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that return blood...

Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
Describes early heartbeats that happen when the ventricles beat too soon. Describes symptoms and when to call a doctor. Explains that in most cases the early heartbeats are not serious and go away on their own.

Pressure Injuries
What are pressure injuries? A pressure injury to the skin is caused by constant pressure over a period of time. The constant pressure blocks the blood supply to the skin. This causes skin cells to die and creates a sore. Pressure injuries are also called bedsores. Pressure injuries usually occur over bony areas, such as...

Pressure Injuries From Scuba Diving
What are pressure injuries from scuba diving? Scuba diving can expose you to high waves and dangerous sea life. But the more likely dangers are those you can't see. You can be injured if your body isn't able to adjust to the increasing and decreasing pressure of the water as you breathe compressed air. Pressure changes...

Pressure Injuries: Prevention and Treatment
How can pressure injuries be prevented? Relieve pressure on the skin Relieving and spreading out pressure is the most important part of both preventing and treating pressure injuries. Putting pressure on one spot for long periods of time decreases blood flow to that area. This damages or kills the cells and creates a...

Pressure Injuries: Stages
Pressure injuries are described in four stages. Stage 1 sores are not open wounds. The skin may be painful, but it has no breaks or tears. The skin appears reddened and does not blanch (lose color briefly when you press your finger on it then remove your finger). In a dark-skinned person, the area...

Preventing Coronary Artery Disease in Women: First Steps
See how three women found ways to fit heart-healthy habits into their busy lives.

Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in the Hospital
Learn how to help prevent dangerous blood clots (DVT) while in the hospital.

Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis From Travel
What is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, usually in the legs. A DVT can be dangerous because it can break loose and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. There it can block blood flow in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). This can be...

Preventing a Heart Attack or Stroke: How Aspirin May Help
See why your doctor may prescribe aspirin to help prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Pulmonary Embolism
Discusses primary cause (blood clot in the lungs) and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Looks at treatment with thrombolytic medicines, blood thinners (anticoagulants), or surgery. Links to info on complications like pulmonary hypertension.

Pulse Measurement
Your pulse is the rate at which your heart beats. Your pulse is usually called your heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats each minute (bpm). But the rhythm and strength of the heartbeat can also be noted, as well as whether the blood vessel feels hard or soft. Changes in your heart rate or rhythm, a...

Quick Tips: Taking Charge of Your Angina
Most people who have angina can manage their symptoms. This includes knowing when to rest and taking medicine such as nitroglycerin. You can also try modifying your daily activities to help prevent or relieve angina. Know when to stop and rest. If an activity or exercise causes angina, stop and rest to relieve your...

Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins. (Ablation means a doctor uses heat to damage tissue. This makes scar tissue form. The scar tissue closes the vein.) This technique uses radiofrequency energy (instead of laser energy) to heat up and damage the wall inside a vein. This usually...

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) can help you measure how hard your body is working when you exercise. To do this, you monitor yourself as you exercise. For example, you think about how tired you are, how hard it is to breathe, and how hard it is to do the activity. An RPE is usually used as part of a cardiac rehab...

Raynaud's Phenomenon
What is Raynaud's phenomenon? Raynaud's (say "ray-NOHZ") phenomenon is a problem when the blood vessels in the hands and feet are extra sensitive and become more narrow than normal. The hands and feet feel very cold and numb for a short time. You may also hear this condition called Raynaud's syndrome or Raynaud's...

Renal Artery Stenosis
This guide covers the basics of renal artery stenosis, including what it is, what causes it, and how it is treated.

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
Gives info on heart problem that leads to heart failure. Includes symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment with medicines, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Also info on causes like amyloidosis, hemochromatosis, and sarcoidosis. Includes info on tests.

Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack
When can I have sex again? Sex is part of a healthy life and part of your quality of life. It is safe for most people after they have had a heart attack. After a heart attack, you can resume sexual activity when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk...

Rheumatic Fever and the Heart
Rheumatic fever is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with the heart's aortic and mitral valves. Rheumatic fever is caused by certain strains of streptococcal bacteria. A strep throat infection that isn't properly treated can trigger rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can damage heart muscle and heart valves...

Right-Sided Heart Failure
Right-sided heart failure means that the right side of the heart is not pumping blood to the lungs as well as normal. Most people develop heart failure because of a problem with the left ventricle. But reduced function of the right ventricle can also occur in heart failure. Right-sided heart failure can happen if there...

Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease
Things that put you at risk for coronary artery disease are the things that lead to a problem called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. These things include: High cholesterol. High blood pressure. Diabetes. Smoking. Being overweight. A family history of early heart disease. Early heart disease means you have...

SPECT Image of the Heart
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear medicine imaging test. It is a type of positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan. Doctors use SPECT to: Diagnose a person who has symptoms of heart disease. Assess your risk of heart attack. Find damaged heart tissue after a heart attack. SPECT...

Safe Use of Non-Warfarin Blood Thinners
Learn how to be safe when taking a blood thinner other than warfarin.

Sally's Story: Avoiding Metabolic Syndrome
Sally never had to worry about her weight. She had always been active, enjoying her daily walks in the park. But things changed when Sally's mom had a heart attack. Sally took care of her mom night and day. But Sally got so busy taking care of her mom that she forgot to take care of herself. For months, Sally didn't do...

Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
Discusses sclerotherapy to treat varicose veins. Includes info on spider veins. Looks at how well sclerotherapy works and what to expect after treatment. Discusses risks.

Secondary High Blood Pressure
What is secondary high blood pressure? Secondary high blood pressure is high blood pressure that's caused by another disease or condition. It can also be caused by certain medicines. If your doctor can treat what's causing the high blood pressure, it might lower your blood pressure. The risk of secondary high blood...

Self-Care After a Stroke
After a stroke, keep in mind that you are the most important person in your own recovery. You need to have a major say in the decisions about your care. This may be hard for you, and you may sometimes feel like sitting back and letting others take charge. Make sure others understand that you want to be involved in the...

Sex and Your Heart
Sex is part of a healthy life. It can be safe for people who have a heart problem. But some people may worry about having sex. Or they may have problems having sex or enjoying sex. If you are having sexual problems, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can help you get information, support, and advice so you can enjoy sex...

Shock means that your body and its functions are shutting down. The body goes into shock when it can't get enough blood to the vital organs like your heart or brain. This may be caused by a sudden illness, an injury, or bleeding. Sometimes even a mild injury will lead to shock. Shock is a life-threatening...

Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome is the name given to a group of arrhythmias that occur because the normal pacemaker of the heart (the sinus node) does not work properly. Sick sinus syndrome is also called sinus node dysfunction. What causes it? Sick sinus syndrome can occur for various reasons. It most commonly results from the...

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
Single photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (a radioactive substance in liquid form) to look at organs or bones in the body. During the test, the tracer is put into a vein (intravenous, or IV) in your arm. Sometimes it's taken by mouth or inhaled through...

Smoking and Coronary Artery Disease
Quitting smoking is probably the most important step you can take to decrease your chance of coronary artery disease and a heart attack. Smoking raises your risk of getting coronary artery disease and dying early from it. Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other substances in tobacco smoke can promote atherosclerosis and...

Sodium Record
Use a form to record the sodium content of the foods you eat or drink each day. This record will help you see whether you are getting the prescribed daily amount of sodium in your diet. Make a chart with 3 columns and as many rows you need for meals and snacks. In the first column, record your meals. In the second...

Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Statins Are Important After a Heart Attack
Learn why taking a statin pill is such an important part of your treatment.

Statins: Overcoming Barriers to Taking Them
Learn how to find what is getting in the way of taking your statin pill every day.

Statins: Should I Take Them to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?
Guides people not already diagnosed with coronary artery disease through decision to take statin medicine to lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Covers cholesterol and other risk factors. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Statins: Should You Take Them to Lower Your Risk?
Compare the pros and cons of taking a statin to lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Stress Echocardiogram
An echocardiogram (also called an echo) uses sound waves to make an image of your heart. A device called a transducer is moved across your chest. It looks like a microphone. The transducer sends sound waves that echo off your heart and back to the transducer. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart...

Discusses ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and TIA (transient ischemic attack). Describes stroke symptoms and importance of acting fast if symptoms develop. Covers stroke treatment and prevention.

Stroke Prevention: Should I Have a Carotid Artery Procedure?
Guides through the decision to have a carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting to prevent stroke if you have not already had a stroke or TIA. Lists pros and cons. Explains risks. Looks at other treatments. Has interactive tool to help you decide.

Stroke Recovery: Finding What Inspires You
Getting better after a stroke takes patience and effort. See how others found inspiration to keep going.

Stroke Recovery: Using Support to Stay Positive
Get help thinking about ways to stay positive and hopeful after a stroke.

Stroke Rehabilitation
Is this topic for you? This topic covers rehabilitation after a stroke. For information on stroke itself, see the topic Stroke. What is stroke rehabilitation? The best way to get better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation ("rehab"). In stroke rehab, a team of health professionals works with you to regain...

Stroke: Behavior Changes
Depending on what part of the brain was affected, a person may not act the same after a stroke as they acted before the stroke. In some cases, these behavior changes may be the result of an emotional or psychological problem. But they might also be linked to: A memory problem. For example, someone may need reminders to...

Stroke: Bladder and Bowel Problems
Urinary incontinence Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually temporary. And it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and the effects of medicines. If you have problems controlling your bladder, your doctor may: Test a...

Stroke: Changes in Emotions
After a stroke, some people feel like they have lost control of their emotions. These feelings can come from one or both of two causes. A stroke can affect parts of the brain that control how you feel. You may have emotional reactions that are different from your normal ones. For example, you may have fits of crying or...

Stroke: Common Problems
The problems you have after a stroke depend on what part of your brain was affected and how much damage the stroke caused. They may include problems with: Movement and senses. You may have trouble walking, grasping objects, or doing other tasks. Other symptoms may include joint pain or muscle stiffness or spasms. You...

Stroke: Dealing With Depression
It is common to feel sad about changes caused by the stroke. Sometimes the injury to the brain from the stroke can cause depression. If you think you might be depressed, tell your doctor right away. The sooner you know if you are depressed, the sooner you can get treatment. Treatment can help you feel better. Your...

Stroke: Getting Dressed
A stroke often affects movement and use of one side of the body, so getting dressed is often difficult for people after a stroke. Your stroke rehab team can suggest things that can help you. But here are some tips to make getting dressed easier. Use assistive devices that may help you dress. Getting dressed may be...

Stroke: How to Prevent Another One
After a stroke, people feel lots of different emotions. Some people are worried that they could have another stroke. Or they may feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and do. Some people feel sad or depressed. No matter what emotions you are feeling, you can give yourself some control and peace of mind by...

Stroke: Know the Signs and BE FAST
Learn how to recognize stroke symptoms and know when to call for emergency services.

Stroke: Memory Tips
A stroke often causes memory problems. If a person has problems with memory, you might get helpful tips from their stroke rehab team. These tips may include: Set a daily routine, if possible. Warn the person about upcoming changes in routine. Someone who has had a stroke may be very sensitive to minor changes in the...

Stroke: Perception Changes
When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems). People with these problems may have more trouble learning to care for themselves. Signs of perception...

Stroke: Preventing Injury in Affected Limbs
After a stroke, you may not feel temperature, touch, pain, or sharpness on one side of your body. This may lead to injuries such as: Cuts and scratches. These can happen if your nails aren't kept short and smooth. For example, if you can't feel sensations in your feet, you won't know if your toenail is cutting into your...

Stroke: Problems With Ignoring the Affected Side
Some people who have had a stroke ignore or are not aware of one side of their body. This can happen when the stroke damages one side of the brain. Caregivers may notice signs that the person is ignoring, or neglecting, the affected side, such as: Mentioning or responding to stimulation only on the unaffected side of...

Stroke: Speech and Language Problems
Some people have speech and language problems after a stroke. Their ability to speak, read, or write may be affected. Also, they may not be able to understand what someone else is saying. Trouble communicating can be very frustrating. When you talk to someone who's had a stroke, be understanding and supportive. You...

Stroke: Understanding Your Emotions
Learn about the range of emotions you may experience after you've had a stroke.

Stroke: Understanding the Symptoms
Learn the symptoms of stroke and why it's important to call emergency services right away.

Stroke: What Is Stroke Rehab?
Learn how stroke rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.

Stroke: What's Your Risk?
Learn about some of the risk factors for stroke and find out how to help reduce stroke risk.

Stroke: Your Rehabilitation Team
Your stroke rehab team will include doctors and nurses who specialize in stroke rehab, as well as other professionals. Each team member will help you in specific ways. The team may include the following professionals. Rehab doctor A rehab doctor is a specialist in charge of your rehab program. The doctor may also work...

Supraventricular Tachycardia
What is supraventricular tachycardia? Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) means that from time to time your heart beats very fast for a reason other than exercise, high fever, or stress. For most people who have SVT, the heart still works normally to pump blood through the body. Types of SVT include: Atrioventricular...

Supraventricular Tachycardia: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem supraventricular tachycardia. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Taking Blood Pressure Medicine: How Others Decided
Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to take blood pressure pills.

Taking Statins: How Others Decided
Hear why some people choose medicine and why others try to change their habits first.

Taking Your Blood Pressure at Home
Learn how to use a home blood pressure monitor.

Temporal Artery Biopsy
If you have symptoms of temporal arteritis (also called giant cell arteritis) and your doctor believes you may have it, he or she may order a temporal artery biopsy to make sure. Giant cell arteritis can occur at various points along an artery. To test for giant cell arteritis, your doctor may have a surgeon take a...

Thinking About a Coronary Angiogram
Learn what a coronary angiogram is and explore ideas for talking to your doctor to decide if this test is right for you.

Thrombolytics for Heart Attack and Stroke
Thrombolytics are medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot. They are used when a blood clot causes an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. These clot-busting medicines help blood to flow normally again. Thrombolytics are used as soon as possible after a heart attack or stroke. These medicines are used in the...

Tilt Table Test
A tilt table test is used to check people who have fainted or who often feel lightheaded. The results help your doctor know the cause of your fainting or feeling lightheaded. The test uses a special table that slowly tilts you to an upright position. It checks how your body responds when you change positions.

Tony's Story: Taking Medicine for High Cholesterol
Tony has done well with getting his cholesterol under control. And he's had a notable failure. But as Tony tells it, "I've learned as much from the failure as I have from the success. Maybe more." About 2 years ago, Tony's doctor told him that he had a high risk for heart attack and that his cholesterol was high. So...

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a procedure to implant a replacement aortic valve in the heart. It is also called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to put in your new heart valve. Your doctor will put the catheter into a blood...

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI): Before Your Procedure
Learn what transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is, how it is done, and how to prepare.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI): Returning Home
Find out how to care for yourself after transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Transesophageal Echocardiogram
A transesophageal echocardiogram is a test to help your doctor look at the inside of your heart. A small device called a transducer directs sound waves toward your heart. The sound waves make a picture of the heart's valves and chambers. Your doctor may do this test to look for certain types of heart disease. Or it may...

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Discusses transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke. Covers causes, including blood clot as a result of atherosclerosis. Looks at treatment with medicines, surgery, and lifestyle changes. Discusses prevention steps.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram
An echocardiogram (also called an echo) uses sound waves to make an image of your heart. A device called a transducer sends sound waves that echo off your heart and back to the transducer. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen. In a transthoracic echocardiogram...

Triggers of Sudden Heart Failure
Triggers are anything that make your heart failure flare up. A flare-up is also called "sudden heart failure" or "acute heart failure." When you have a flare-up, fluid builds up in your lungs, and you have problems breathing. You might need to go to the hospital. By watching for changes in your condition and avoiding...

Turning Off Your ICD
An ICD is always checking your heart rate and rhythm. If the ICD detects a life-threatening, rapid heart rhythm, it tries to slow the rhythm back to normal using electrical pulses. If the dangerous rhythm doesn't stop, the ICD sends an electric shock to the heart. This restores a normal rhythm. The device then goes back...

Types of Bradycardia
There are several types of slow heart rates (bradycardias or bradyarrhythmias). Each type carries a specific risk of complications and treatment options. Some of the types are described here. Sinus bradycardia When a person has sinus bradycardia, the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. This slow heart rate...

Tyrell's Story: Taking Pills for High Blood Pressure
When Tyrell's doctor told him he had high blood pressure, he was shocked. "I thought, 'Hey, I'm a physical fitness trainer. I'm in great shape. How could I have high blood pressure?' " He knew that both of his parents have high blood pressure. And one of his uncles recently had a stroke. But Tyrell had always been kind...

Understanding Virtual Care (Telemedicine)
This article explains what virtual care (telemedicine) is, when and how it's used, and what the risks are.

Using Nitroglycerin for Angina
Discusses using nitroglycerin to treat angina. Covers how to take quick-acting nitroglycerin. Provides info on side effects and interactions with other drugs. Covers how to store nitroglycerin. Includes info on when to call for emergency help.

Vagal Maneuvers for Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Vagal maneuvers are used to try to slow an episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). These simple maneuvers stimulate the vagus nerve. This can sometimes slow the conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular (AV) node of the heart. Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying these. Your doctor...

Valvuloplasty for Aortic Valve Stenosis
Valvuloplasty is a procedure that widens a heart valve that is narrow. When you have a condition called aortic valve stenosis, the valve between your heart and the large blood vessel that carries blood to the body (aorta) is narrow. That forces the heart to pump harder to get enough blood through the valve. The...

Valvuloplasty for Mitral Valve Stenosis
Valvuloplasty is a treatment for mitral valve stenosis. It is a procedure that widens the mitral valve so that blood flows more easily through the heart. It's also called a balloon commissurotomy or valvotomy. It's a minimally invasive procedure. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. You...

Varicose Veins
Discusses causes and symptoms of twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin called varicose veins. Covers treatment with self-care, sclerotherapy, endovenous laser, and radiofrequency. Includes vein surgery called ligation and stripping.

Varicose Veins Home Treatment
Self-care, or home treatment, is recommended for most people with varicose veins. Home treatment can relieve symptoms and slow down the progress of varicose veins. For many people, home treatment is the only treatment they need. Exercise can help...

Varicose Veins: Phlebectomy or Stab Avulsion
Phlebectomy (also known as microphlebectomy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or stab avulsion) is a technique to remove varicose veins. In this procedure, several tiny cuts (incisions) are made in the skin through which the varicosed vein is removed. Stitches usually are not required. This procedure typically does not require a...

Varicose Veins: Should I Have a Surgical Procedure?
Discusses reasons to have or not have surgery or a procedure for varicose veins. Includes info on sclerotherapy, laser treatment, microphlebectomy, and radiofrequency closure. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Vein Ligation and Stripping
Vein ligation and stripping is a minor surgery. It is used to remove one or more varicose veins. These are twisted, swollen veins near the surface of the skin. They are most common in the legs and ankles. The surgery can also be done to prevent venous skin ulcers from coming back after treatment. You will probably be...

Venous Insufficiency
What is venous insufficiency? Venous insufficiency is a problem with the flow of blood from the veins of the legs back to the heart. The veins of the legs might not work as they should. This can allow blood to leak backward. It can lead to problems that include varicose veins. In venous insufficiency, the valves in the...

Venous Skin Ulcer
What is a venous skin ulcer? A skin ulcer is a type of wound that develops on the skin. A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound that occurs when the leg veins don't return blood back toward the heart the way they should. This is called venous insufficiency. These ulcers usually form on the sides of the lower leg, above...

Venous Skin Ulcers: Home Treatment
Venous skin ulcers develop when the lower leg veins are weakened and cannot efficiently move the blood back toward the heart. Pooled blood and fluid in the lower legs then leads to tissue breakdown. You can prevent or heal a venous skin ulcer by helping your blood circulate back toward your heart. Elevate your legs...

Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) for Heart Failure
A ventricular assist device (VAD) helps pump blood from your heart to the rest of your body. It's used when your heart is not able to pump enough blood on its own. The device consists of a pump, tubes that connect the pump to the heart, a control system, and a power source. A thin cable connects the pump with the...

Ventricular Tachycardia
What is ventricular tachycardia? Ventricular tachycardia is a type of fast heart rhythm that starts in the lower part of the heart (ventricles). The heart might beat more than 100 beats per minute. Some forms of ventricular tachycardia may get worse and lead to ventricular fibrillation, which can be life-threatening...

A ventriculogram is a test that shows images of your heart. The images show how well your heart is pumping. The pictures let your doctor check the health of the lower chambers of your heart, called ventricles. This test can be done as a noninvasive test or as part of an invasive procedure. Noninvasive imaging test. You...

Warfarin and Vitamin K
Warfarin is a pill that you take regularly to help prevent blood clots or to keep a clot from getting bigger. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. To make sure that warfarin is effectively thinning your blood, it's important to eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Here's why: Vitamin K normally...

Warfarin: 5 Things You Can Do to Take It Safely
Learn what you can do to be safe when you're taking warfarin.

Warfarin: Keeping Vitamin K in Balance
Find out how to eat a consistent amount of vitamin K so your warfarin (Coumadin) medicine will work the way it should.

Warfarin: Taking Your Medicine Safely
Warfarin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. Because it prevents clots, it also helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other problems caused by blood clots. It's important to know how to take warfarin safely.

Warfarin: Why Taking It Is Worth It
Learn why you need to keep taking warfarin and how to get help so you can keep taking it.

Weight and Coronary Artery Disease
There is a strong link between being overweight and the risk for coronary artery disease. Being overweight increases your chances of having risk factors for the disease. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Losing weight and staying at a healthy weight can help lower your risk for coronary...

What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Find out what atrial fibrillation is and how it's treated.

What Is Clot-Busting (Thrombolytic) Treatment?
Learn how clot-busting medicines are used for emergencies like stroke and heart attack.

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
Learn what can cause a DVT, why it's so dangerous, and what the symptoms are.

What Is High Blood Pressure?
Learn what blood pressure is, what it means when it's high, and how high blood pressure may be treated.

What Is a Stroke?
Learn what a stroke is and what problems it can cause.

What Is a TIA?
Learn about transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and what the risks are when you have one.

What Platelets Do
Learn what important blood cells called platelets do.

What to Do if Your Cardiac Device Is Recalled
Explains what a recall of a medical device is. Mentions that failure or recall of cardiac devices is rare. Covers the FDA classes of recall. Explains what to do if your cardiac device is recalled.

When to Have a Cholesterol Test
Doctors use different guidelines to decide when a person should have a cholesterol test. A cholesterol test can be one of the things doctors use to check on your risk of heart attack and stroke. Some health organizations recommend cholesterol screening every 4 to 6 years for everyone ages 20 to 39 and more often for...

Why Are Blood Tests Needed With Some Medicines?
Find out which types of medicines require a regular blood test and why.

Why Beta-Blockers Are Important After a Heart Attack
See how beta-blocker medicines work in your body and can help prevent another heart attack.

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome
What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome? Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a heart rhythm problem that causes a very fast heart rate. WPW is one type of supraventricular tachycardia called atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT). With WPW, an extra electrical pathway links the upper chambers (atria) and...

Your Child's Cardiac Catheterization for PDA: Before the Procedure
Learn what cardiac catheterization for PDA is and how to prepare your child for it.

Your Child's Cardiac Catheterization for PDA: Returning Home
Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after a cardiac catheterization for PDA.

Your Child's EP Study and Ablation: Before the Procedure
Learn what an EP study and ablation are and how to prepare your child for each one.

Your Child's EP Study and Ablation: Returning Home
Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after an EP study and ablation.