Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

Bridging the Racial Gap in Heart Disease

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Feb 24, 2017 11:00:00 AM


Each February we celebrate both Black History Month and Heart Month. This is a great opportunity to reaffirm the importance of working together as a society that fights against avoidable deaths including premature heart disease. In African Americans, avoidable deaths from premature heart disease are especially common and death from all cardiovascular disease is 33% higher than in the general population. Ethnic minority populations face barriers to heart disease diagnosis and care, receive lower quality treatment, and experience worse health outcomes than the general population. This is not acceptable, and I would like to applaud and celebrate those individuals and organizations that are working hard to help understand and bridge the racial gap in heart disease.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, CVD Testing, Men's Health, Empowerment, Women's Health

Why Exercise is So Important for Diabetics

Posted by Chad Knutson, RD, CDN, CDE, CSCS on Nov 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Exercise can play a key role in managing diabetes in several different ways such as improved glucose uptake, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased glucose tolerance. The American Diabetes Association recommends those with prediabetes or diabetes get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 90 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Ideally, this is at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. Let’s look more closely at how exercise can help manage pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Wellness, Alternatives to Medication

Giving Thanks For “Diabetes Reversal”

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Nov 10, 2016 11:35:00 AM

November is National Diabetes Month, and with Thanksgiving just ahead I’d like to express my gratitude to my patients with diabetes and prediabetes. I am tremendously fortunate to have had the privilege of working with thousands of people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes throughout my 20+ years of medical practice. Every week I see patients at the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and serve as the Medical Director for the Boston Heart Lifestyle Program serving thousands of patients with type 2 diabetes and related risk factors. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve as a diabetes expert for WebMD, including 5 great years leading the WebMD Diabetes Community.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Success Stories

Twitter Language Predicts Heart Disease Risk

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Sep 29, 2016 11:30:00 AM


This amazing study published in 20151, demonstrated that heart disease rates in a community could be predicted quite well just by looking at how positively or negatively people were expressing themselves toward others. Using anonymous data analysis, millions of Twitter phrases were used to measure the degree of positivity and negativity expressed in various counties throughout the U.S. Researchers looked for expressions of anger, frustration, and discontent, as well as expressions of happiness, and positivity. For example, the frequency of phrases that included angry curse words was particularly predictive of high rates of heart disease deaths in the same community. On the other hand, high rates of positive or optimistic phrases or words, such as “great” or “wonderful”, predicted lower death rates.

This “community attitude rating” as I will call it, was such a strong predictor of heart disease death rates, that it outperformed any other prediction measure the researchers could find. Regardless of the mix of age, ethnicity, gender, income, education or other demographics, the “community attitude rating” was the clear winner. Twitter language was even more predictive of heart disease death rates than rates of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity in a community.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Men's Health, Women's Health

Targeting Better Heart Disease Prevention

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Jun 2, 2016 11:32:00 AM


Great news! A recently published study highlights and strengthens the evidence supporting a key principle and effective strategy in heart disease prevention. In this study1, published by the American Diabetes Association’s peer-reviewed journal Diabetes Care, Dr. Nathan Wong and colleagues demonstrate the tremendous health benefits of cumulative cardiovascular risk factor optimization.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Latest Science

Minnesota Coronary Experiment—Trying To See In A Blizzard?

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Apr 19, 2016 2:20:07 PM

I was startled last week by new research study findings that have unexpectedly “transported” me back to my own origins and fundamental assumptions. This study originated in Minnesota in the 1960’s—and so did I. The newly published results of the Minnesota Coronary Experiment, conducted nearly a half-century ago, have made headlines and raised uncertainty and controversy about how dietary intake causes heart disease and atherosclerosis.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Latest Science

8 Important Facts About Diabetes

Posted by Dominique Adair, MS, RD, CLS, TTS on Apr 7, 2016 11:37:00 AM

Diabetes is more common than you may think. In fact, type 2 diabetes affects some 18 million Americans! That means that you, your relatives and/or your friends may have diabetes or have been affected by it in some way. But how much do you actually know about diabetes?

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Wellness, Men's Health, Women's Health

How to Avoid Diabetes

Posted by Dominique Adair, MS, RD, CLS, TTS on Mar 10, 2016 11:24:00 AM

A few years ago a patient said to me, “Dominique, you act like everyone has diabetes.”  That really struck home. I had been explaining to him that he should exercise regularly (about 300 min/week) and eat a mostly plant-based diet with enough lean, heart healthy protein and occasional high-fiber grains. “That’s how my aunt has to eat,” he said. ”She has diabetes but I don’t,” he expressed. Suddenly, I realized what I had probably been recommending all along—eat as if you have diabetes and you are less likely to get it. 

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Wellness

The Guidelines Will Kill You.  No, Really…if You are a Woman, They Will.

Posted by Susan Hertzberg, Boston Heart CEO on Feb 4, 2016 11:30:00 AM


For the first time ever, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement on heart attacks in women, saying in part that “women are understudied, underdiagnosed and undertreated.”  The statement, published in Circulation, concluded that the undertreatment with guideline-based recommendations is “leading to worse outcomes and increased rates of readmissions, reinfarctions and deaths in the first year after MI.” 

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, CVD Testing, Women's Health