Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure? Just Breathe (In)

Tom Heinbockel demonstrates inspiratory muscle strength training using an electronically tapered flow resistive loading device. Photo credit: Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado About half of American adults have high blood pressure. This is alarming because high blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. Could a … Continue reading Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure? Just Breathe (In)

The Physiology of Grief

Credit: iStock Many of us have experienced the death of a loved one and the grief that inevitably accompanies it. Such loss is widely considered to be the most stressful event we will ever encounter in our lives. I have been thinking about this lately because in just a few months it will be five … Continue reading The Physiology of Grief

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

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

Can Your Blood Vessels Last Until 100?

Credit: iStock As life expectancy increases in the world, centenarians—people who have celebrated their 100th birthday—have become increasingly common. Scientists now have more data related to changes that accompany aging than ever before. One thing the data show is that cardiac (heart) muscle must stay strong and, most importantly, resistant to fatigue for our heart … Continue reading Can Your Blood Vessels Last Until 100?

For the Love of a Dog

Apollo Archimedes' love for his human may also have boosted her health. Credit: Jessica Taylor During February, thoughts of love and relationships are in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches. Chocolate hearts pepper both television ads and candy bowls for good reason: The heart has long been a symbol of many forms of love. Physiology … Continue reading For the Love of a Dog

Breathe Deep to Explore the Heart’s Physiology

Credit: iStock Breathe in, breathe out. You may have heard that deep breathing techniques are good for your health because they can help you relax and manage stress. You may not know that they are also useful teaching tools for learning about cardiovascular physiology—the study of how the heart and blood vessels work. Breathing—particularly deep … Continue reading Breathe Deep to Explore the Heart’s Physiology

Heff Peff: When Filling the Heart Fails

Credit: iStock Heart failure is a common disease in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body. Many people may have heard of heart failure that prevents the heart from contracting properly or pumping enough blood. The measure most commonly used to calculate how well the heart contracts is … Continue reading Heff Peff: When Filling the Heart Fails

Watermelon: A Tasty Summer Treat That’s Good for Heart Health

Summertime means warm weather, and with increasing temperatures come backyard barbeques and potluck celebrations. No summer cookout is complete without the “essential” foods, and watermelon is a favorite for many of us. The juicy red fruit is tasty and refreshing and may even be good for our health. Watermelon is a whopping 92 percent water. … Continue reading Watermelon: A Tasty Summer Treat That’s Good for Heart Health