Surprising Clues to Your Heart Health

Featured Article, Healthy Heart, Healthy Living
on March 12, 2008

According to new info from Harvard, the health of your heart can affect the rest of your body. Here's how:

Lungs. Chronic lung diseases, like emphysema, can enlarge the heart's right ventricle. The breathing problem known as sleep apnea can affect blood pressure. In the other direction, heart failure can cause breathlessness and fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Kidneys. The heart and kidneys are tightly linked. Even mild kidney damage increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke, or dying from one of these. And heart disease may be a warning that the kidneys are under siege.
Brain. Depression, loneliness, anxiety, anger, chronic stress and other emotions can promote heart disease or make it worse. High blood pressure, cholesterol-clogged arteries, inflammation and other risk factors for heart disease contribute to Alzheimer's disease and a condition called vascular dementia.
Skin. Cardiologists have long looked to the skin for signs of heart disease. Yellowish eruptions can signal a cholesterol-processing disorder, while bluish lips and cheeks can be a tip-off of trouble with the mitral valve. New research suggests that psoriasis, a lifelong skin disorder, is somehow linked to heart disease.