Spotlight On: Heart Failure

Credit: iStock Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition that leads to decreased heart pumping capacity. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump enough blood to the body to meet its needs. Conditions that cause heart failure include heart disease (no, they are not the same), diabetes and high blood pressure. Those at … Continue reading Spotlight On: Heart Failure

Vitamin C Might Help Counteract Too Much Sitting

Credit: iStock If you are reading this, chances are you’re sitting down. Whether working at a desk, relaxing on the couch or commuting by car or public transit, the majority of us sit for the better part of our day. All of that sitting could have some not-so-great effects on our long-term health. We have … Continue reading Vitamin C Might Help Counteract Too Much Sitting

Can You Win an Underwater Breath-holding Competition?

Credit: iStock As kids, many of us had competitions to see how long we could hold our breath under water. It may have seemed like a simple and fun way to compete with our friends, but our bodies were actually doing amazing things to help us stay under water for longer periods of time. Humans … Continue reading Can You Win an Underwater Breath-holding Competition?

COVID-19 Could Spell Long-term Trouble for Heart and Blood Vessels

Credit: iStock We’ve learned a lot about how SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—affects our respiratory system. But as we learn more about the virus and its physiological consequences, it’s becoming clear that COVID-19’s effects may go beyond the lungs. With its demonstrated—sometimes long-lasting—effects on the heart and blood vessels, COVID-19 may be just as much … Continue reading COVID-19 Could Spell Long-term Trouble for Heart and Blood Vessels

Invisible and Deadly: Small Particles Cause Big Problems for Our Hearts

Credit: iStock Most of us have heard arguments about climate change and how increasing levels of pollution are destroying the Earth and its natural resources. Air pollution, however, has a much more direct impact on us. In particular, tiny particles in the air invisible to the naked eye are causing big problems for our hearts. … Continue reading Invisible and Deadly: Small Particles Cause Big Problems for Our Hearts

2020’s Most-read I Spy Physiology Posts

Credit: iStock In a year like no other in our lifetimes, many of us found ourselves putting aside our usual pursuits and thirsting for information on the coronavirus pandemic. I Spy Physiology blog contributors quickly switched gears to keep you informed, including a series of posts covering the physiology of COVID-19 and how it affects … Continue reading 2020’s Most-read I Spy Physiology Posts

Giving Sugar the Run-around: How Exercise Protects Blood Vessels from Sugary Drinks

Credit: iStock An estimated 70% of people living in the U.S. add too much sugar, about 23 teaspoons, to their diet each day. This is alarming because diets high in added sugar increase the risk for developing chronic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death … Continue reading Giving Sugar the Run-around: How Exercise Protects Blood Vessels from Sugary Drinks

How ACE2 Influences COVID-19 Severity in Older Adults

Credit: iStock In the spring of 2020, ACE2—angiotensin-converting enzyme 2—became a major focus of attention as the entryway of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. As of early November 2020, over 47 million cases of COVID-19 were confirmed worldwide, with more than 9 million cases in the U.S. Since the beginning … Continue reading How ACE2 Influences COVID-19 Severity in Older Adults

This Halloween, Celebrate the Creepy-crawlies that Keep Us Safe

Credit: iStock Each Halloween season, we celebrate all those spooky critters that give us the heebie-jeebies. But there might be more to cheer for than you realize. Scientists who study these creepy-crawlies are learning ways they may improve human health. Gila Monster In 1992, John Eng, MD, an endocrinologist working at the Veterans Affairs Medical … Continue reading This Halloween, Celebrate the Creepy-crawlies that Keep Us Safe

COVID-19 and the Heart

Credit: iStock SARS-CoV-2—the virus responsible for COVID-19—is a respiratory virus. When first discovered, the virus was thought to mostly affect the lungs. We now know that it affects many different organs in the body, including the heart. All respiratory viruses, including the seasonal flu, lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. But SARS-CoV-2 appears … Continue reading COVID-19 and the Heart