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Heart Health

My smartwatch EKG says I have an irregular heartbeat. Now what?

Every day, I’m amazed at how many of my patients own smartwatches or wearable devices. In fact, a recent study by Pew Research found approximately one in five Americans owns and wears a smartwatch. That translates to 66.5 million people. Young and old alike are wearing them for different reasons. In my practice, I’ve seen …

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LAAO procedure for AFib: An alternative to blood thinners

If you’ve been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), your doctor may have mentioned the Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO) procedure. An alternative to blood thinners, this minimally invasive treatment option is helping many people get back to living a happy, healthy, active life—unrestricted by many of the worries that often come with AFib. Let’s walk …

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Living with heart failure: When to consider advanced care

Your home has many systems that keep it running smoothly, such as electrical, mechanical, structural, chemical and plumbing—and the same holds true for your heart. When all your heart’s systems are running as they should, it functions normally. But when one or more of these systems isn’t working correctly, it can lead to many different …

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Why is hypertension (aka high blood pressure) dangerous?

You’ve heard of hypertension and you get your blood pressure checked regularly at your doctor’s visits, but what is high blood pressure, and why is it worrisome? Here’s what you need to know, especially if you have a history of high blood pressure. “Your heart is a muscle—but it’s not like the other muscles in …

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What to know before getting a heart stent

Heart stents are a potentially lifesaving treatment in preventing heart damage during and after a heart attack. The procedure opens arteries that are causing the heart attack and can relieve other blockages that may be causing chest discomfort called “angina.” But before getting stents in your heart, you’ll want to consider both the risks of heart stent treatment …

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7 healthy habits to help you thrive with heart disease

Life changes quickly with a diagnosis of heart disease. Whether the doctor says your coronary artery is filled with plaque or your heart muscle isn’t pumping as well as it should, your survival will require treatment. And it’s more than just taking a pill—living with heart disease requires lifestyle changes not just today, but for a lifetime. While …

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Understanding your heart valve disease diagnosis

Your heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body depends on a number of complex functions. The heart’s four valves allow blood to flow through your heart in the right direction. When they don’t open or close properly, the flow of blood throughout your body is disrupted. Heart valve disease is diagnosed when one or more …

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So, you were diagnosed with a heart condition. Now what?

If you’ve received a diagnosis related to the heart or blood vessels, it’s normal to be frightened and a little confused. The information out there on heart conditions can be overwhelming. “Heart disease can be confusing at first,” said Michael Mack, MD, heart surgeon and the chair of Baylor Scott & White Health’s cardiovascular governing …

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How to know when it’s time to see a cardiologist

There are many people whose first trip to see a cardiologist is taken in the back of an ambulance. That is unfortunate because today, cardiologists can help those at risk prevent serious heart and vascular events—like heart attack, stroke or even heart failure—hopefully keeping you from ever having to take that ride. While it is …

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7 simple healthy habits to lower your blood pressure

Did you know that nearly half of all adults in the US have high blood pressure? As a practicing interventional cardiologist, I see patients with high blood pressure, or hypertension, every day and can verify this statistic. The good news I give to those who do have high blood pressure is this—they have the ability …

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