If you have had syncope (transient loss of consciousness), your doctor will want to do an evaluation to figure out what caused it. Fortunately, in most cases the evaluation of syncope should be pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, too many doctors fail to approach this problem in a systematic way, and their patients can wind up having unnecessary tests and experiencing unnecessary anxiety.
Hypertension - high blood pressure - is at least as important in older people as it is in younger people. And it's at least as important that hypertension in older people be adequately, in order to prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, the treatment of hypertension in people above age 65 tends to be quite a bit trickier than it is in younger people.
PVCs are a common form of cardiac arrhythmia, and their significance can be confusing to both patients and their doctors. Read about PVCs, how to tell if they're medically significant, and how they are treated, here.
A reader asks whether his doctor's recommendation that he have a coronary calcium scan - despite not having any cardiac symptoms, and with a normal stress test - is a reasonable one.
On rare occasions, pregnancy can lead to a condition called postpartum cardiomyopathy, or pregnancy-associated heart failure.
Women who develop postpartum cardiomyopathy experience the onset of heart failure either during the last month of pregnancy, or within five months of delivering a baby. These women have no prior underlying heart disease, and no other identifiable reason to develop heart disease. Their heart failure can be a temporary, self-limited condition, or can progress to severe, life-threatening heart failure.
A recent, highly-publicized study has concluded that e-cigarettes are not effective in promoting smoking cessation. In fact, the study design does not permit us to say much, one way or the other, about the efficacy of e-cigarettes. The way the press and much of the medical establishment have embraced this study to disparage e-cigarettes says more about their anti-e-cigarette agenda, than it does about the actual study, or the usefulness of e-cigarettes themselves.
Smokers who sincerely want to quit deserve every opportunity to do so. As society deliberates on the appropriate role of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation, we ought to expect reasonable objectivity from the media and medical editorialists.
While many doctors refer to vasovagal (cardioneurogenic) syncope as "simple fainting spells," treating this condition sometimes can be anything but simple.
For people who have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (Pots), merely standing up can produce severe symptoms. When upright, their heart rates increase to uncomfortable levels. While symptoms - most often lightheadedness and palpitations - may be only mild, they are often incapacitating.
Recently, researchers from the University of Texas identified a new symptom of heart failure - shortness of breath while bending over, or "bendopnea." The presence of bendopnea, they say, appears to indicate the presence of more advanced forms of heart failure.