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7 Simple Steps for Heart Health

New studies on women and job stress, benefits of moderate alcohol, dangers of grief, and more

Job strain and the working woman's heart

Women who work in demanding jobs but have no power to make decisions or use their creative skills suffer from what researchers call job strain, a form of psychological stress. These women have a 40 percent higher chance of having a heart attack, bypass surgery or angioplasty to clear blocked arteries than their more relaxed colleagues.

Fear of losing a job is linked with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excess weight but not directly with heart attacks or procedures to clear blocked arteries.

Too little may be too late

Low on vitamin D? Watch out!

Studies indicate that blacks are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D and more likely to have strokes than whites. But much to their surprise researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that while vitamin D deficiency is associated with fatal strokes among whites, there was no such relationship among blacks.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure and heart attack — and is also associated with death from these conditions. Fortunately, supplements improve survival, according to a University of Kansas study.

A short supply of vitamin D also plays a role in the development of prehypertension, slightly elevated blood pressure that will likely turn into high blood pressure. Further studies can determine if supplements will prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure, note West Virginia researchers.

Happy hour for your heart? >>

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