Oct 24, 2016

By Jane Brown

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It’s at the heart of the matter: The latest in heart health research discoveries and innovations.

Today marks the beginning of the annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. More than 3500 cardiovascular experts from across Canada and around the world are in Montreal for the event.

Among the findings to be shared, high blood cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke. As your blood cholesterol rises so does your risk of heart disease.

In another finding, yoga is good for the heart and soul. Participants in an Ontario prevention study investigating the impact of restorative yoga (with its deep breathing, meditation, calming effects and stretching exercises) saw positive changes in both blood pressure and heart rate levels. In fact, they had significantly reduced rates of systolic blood pressure compared to the control groups – reductions of 19.5 percent directly after the yoga class and of 9.5 percent four hours later. Similar reductions were found for diastolic blood pressure and heart rate.

And then there’s the stethoscope which is quickly becoming outdated. Two hundred years after it was invented, the iconic symbol of medicine risks becoming obsolete, squeezed out by upstart miniaturized palm sized ultrasound devices that allow doctors to instantly visualize the heart’s structure and function.

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