Heart attack at 43, Boston Marathon at 56

Today, Larry Haydu will attempt something that most people would have assumed was impossible — and perhaps even unadvisable. Haydu, 56, who was almost completely sedentary until last summer, will run the Boston Marathon.

Advice for all ages: Don’t skip the dentist

Earlier this month, a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and London announced that aggressive treatment of gum disease can improve the function of blood vessel walls in the body, potentially reducing the risk of heart attacks.

Carotid Stents Get Better, But Proof They Work is Scant

Stents, long famous for their success in propping open clogged arteries in the heart, are now being used in neck arteries in an effort to reduce strokes.

Technical advances have made the stents safer to insert in neck arteries, and some experts now fear that doctors may adopt the procedure — and patients may clamor for it — before there is sufficient research to support it.

Inflammation is Culprit in Many Ailments

The idea is as simple as it is radical: Chronic inflammation, spurred by an immune system run amok, appears to play a role in medical evils from arthritis to Alzheimer’s, diabetes to heart disease.

Diabetes and Heart Disease are Closely Linked

More than 30 years ago, when Dr. David Heber was an intern at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he asked the senior doctors the same question over and over.

“How come all my patients have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes? Are these things linked?” His mentors would shrug and say, “Dave, common things occur commonly. Go back to work,” he said.

Pump Head – a Possible Outcome of Coronary Bypass Surgery

When Bill Clinton, 58, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery on Labor Day, the former president, like most Americans who have similar operations, spent time – in his case, 73 minutes – hooked up to a heart-lung machine while surgeons re-routed blood vessels to his heart.

Cinnamon Joins Cholesterol Battle

A common spice already enjoyed by many Americans appears to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, a potential boon to millions of people with diabetes and millions of others with high cholesterol.

Blood Pressure Drugs – Confusing but Crucial

In December, a study of more than 42,000 white and black Americans found that old-fashioned, cheap diuretics – “water pills” – work at least as well and sometimes better than more expensive drugs to treat high blood pressure and certain heart problems.  The study, dubbed ALLHAT, was published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Our Columnist Goes Under the Knife

I was very scared, shivering as much from fear as from the chilly room temperature. I was waiting on a gurney at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to be wheeled in for a catheter ablation, an invasive cardiac “procedure.” (Ah, the euphemisms.)

New Fixes for Electrical Problems in the Heart

Until last winter, Joseph Moniz, 50, a Fall River man with congestive heart failure was waiting, like 4,000 other Americans, for a heart transplant to save his life.

He never got it. But he got something better: a small device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) like the one Dick Cheney got, a familiar gadget but with a new twist.