Recent Posts

Heart & Vascular
Can I Inherit Varicose Veins?
Mar 16, 2018 By Emory Healthcare

vein_ 7-29Varicose veins are large, abnormal blood vessels visible on the skin surface. They almost always affect the legs and often appear as bulging, twisted blue veins. Many theories exist for why varicosities occur in veins, but the consensus is that weak vein walls and valves are the main cause. Inside your larger veins are valves that allow blood to flow toward the heart, but, open to prevent backward flow of blood toward the feet (reflux). If the valves don't function properly, excess blood will remain in the veins, raising the pressure and causing them to swell and distend. Some veins will enlarge enough to weaken the walls and become varicose. Though rarely dangerous, varicose veins can often cause symptoms of aching, weakness or heaviness.

The Role of Genetics

Heredity is one of the most important risk factors for developing varicose veins and spider veins. Your risk of developing varicose veins is increased if a close family member has the condition, suggesting a relationship between genetics and the onset of varicose veins. So just how do genetics affect your veins? • Some people can inherit problems such as having too few valves or valves that do not function [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Your Heart Questions Answered by the Women's Heart Center - pt 2
Mar 13, 2018 By Emory Women's Heart Center

Heart Failure Live Chat 7/25/17Thank you for your patience and for your participation in American Heart Month! We received so many great questions, it took us a while to get through them all. We hope you find our Part 2 answers helpful. Thank you to our Emory Women's Heart Center experts  Dr. Alexis CutchinsDr. M Carolina GongoraDr. Gina LundbergDr. Susmita Parashar, and Stacy Jaskwhich for answering these submitted questions. Review Part 1 questions and answers here! What are the signs of heart disease? Are there any silent signs?  Signs of heart disease may include the ones we would typically think about:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • palpitations
Some other signs of heart disease that may not be as distinguishable (or considered silent as they are not recognized as a heart problem) could be:
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • sweating or flushing
  • neck pain
  • jaw pain
  • back pain
  • general fatigue
All symptoms are more suggestive of heart disease when they occur with exertional activity or are triggered by emotional stress.  Some symptoms occur over time and people acclimate to them or shrug them off as “being out of shape” or “going through menopause”.  [...]

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Glaucoma Risks and Treatment Options
Mar 12, 2018 By Emory Eye Center

March 11-17 is World Glaucoma Week and the perfect time to learn more about this potentially blinding condition and how early detection can make a difference. When a person has glaucoma, the normal fluid pressure inside the eye slowly rises, damaging the optic nerve that’s responsible for transmitting images to the brain. If the elevated eye pressure continues, glaucoma will worsen one’s vision. Without treatment, it can cause blindness within a few years. The good news is, glaucoma is treatable. The risk of blindness from glaucoma decreases when the condition is diagnosed and treated early.

Signs of Glaucoma

More than 3 million Americans – and more than 60 million people worldwide – have glaucoma, yet many don’t realize they have it. That’s because most people with glaucoma don’t have any pain or notice their initial vision loss. Physicians diagnose glaucoma by combining an eye pressure test with a comprehensive eye exam that includes dilation. Patients with suspected glaucoma will also have a visual field test and an evaluation of the optic nerve. Having these tests on a regular basis can help detect glaucoma in its early stages before vision loss [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Real Patients, Real Stories: Regulating a Racing Heart
Mar 10, 2018 By admin

Brittany Martin, a children's dance coach, experienced constant adrenaline over the course of a year, leading her to visit Emory University Hospital. "My body was in fight or flight mode all the time," she says. Martin began seeing a doctor in Mcdonough in 2015 for an elevated heart rate. She attributed her heart racing to stress from her dance team at the Platinum Peaches studio in Decatur, Georgia. She was preparing for a competition. Then, one Monday last summer, she felt worse. She became more concerned about the increased headaches, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Her husband drove her to the emergency room, where doctors ran tests to determine if she was experiencing a heart attack. The doctors performed an electrocardiogram and looked for troponin her blood, a sign of damage to the heart muscle. The results showed that everything looked fine. Martin was sent to have a head CT scan. The severity of her headaches was brutal to the point where she was screaming and kicking. After an extra troponin test was in the suspicious range, she was sent to the cardiac catheterization lab thinking "I'm 30 years old. Why am I having a heart cath?" The doctors did not [...]

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Kidney Failure Treatment Options
Mar 8, 2018 By Emory Healthcare

What is Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure is the end result of a gradual loss of kidney function. The most common causes are high blood pressure and diabetes. Kidney failure occurs when one loses about 90% of kidney function, and when the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) falls below 15. Those suffering from end-stage kidney failure have two treatment options: dialysis or a kidney transplant.


Dialysis is a common treatment process that helps the body remove waste from the blood. This process replaces the function of kidneys and keeps the body in balance by not only removing waste but preventing salt and extra water from building up in the body, helping to control blood pressure, and keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in the blood. There are two main types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis Hemodialysis replaces the work of kidneys by helping clear waste and extra fluid from your blood. During this treatment, blood is passed from the body through a set of tubes to a special filter called a dialyzer. Once the blood passes through the filter, the cleansed blood is returned to the body through another set of [...]

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Cosmetic Medicine
How to Get Natural Looking Results with Your Cosmetic Procedure
Mar 8, 2018 By Dr. Anita Sethna

We’re all guilty of it — flipping through magazines or even old pictures of our twenty-year-old selves, thinking “I want to look like THAT!” Unfortunately, that’s how some people approach cosmetic surgery, and the results are less than ideal or not what was expected. The goal of plastic surgery is to look like the best version of yourself. Not the model in the magazine, and not the teenage version of yourself. But the freshest, most vital version of the person you look at in the mirror each day. So how can you get the most natural, beautiful results that cosmetic procedures have to offer?

Start Early and Start Small

The adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” definitely applies to cosmetic procedures. The best way to avoid looking over-done is to start with small, subtle interventions early on to delay certain telltale signs of aging. For example, you can start Botox© (injectables) treatments when lines first begin to form between your eyes or on your forehead. Botox and other injectables work by stopping muscles from making repetitive motions that create lines. When we treat these muscles with Botox, the lines fade and may even [...]

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Why Diagnosis Isn't Always Simple
Mar 8, 2018 By Emory Reproductive Center

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a syndrome associated with irregular menstrual cycles, acne or excess hair growth, and, occasionally, difficulties with weight control. While PCOS is a broad diagnosis, many women with PCOS do not fit the stereotypical PCOS mold. So, how do I know if I have PCOS? A diagnosis of PCOS requires 2 of the following 3 characteristics:

  1. Irregular menstrual cycles: Periods that occur in an unpredictable pattern or greater than 45 days apart. Women with lengthened cycles typically do not ovulate regularly.
  2. Elevated levels of male hormones: This can be visible clinical signs (e.g. excess hair growth or acne) or unseen lab signs including elevated testosterone levels.
  3. Polycystic-appearing ovaries on transvaginal ultrasound: On an ultrasound, there are many “antral follicles,” which contain small immature eggs. Although the syndrome is called “polycystic ovary syndrome” women with PCOS have a large number of immature eggs or follicles, rather than ovarian cysts. Another hormone, called Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), is often elevated in women with PCOS but this is not part of the formal diagnosis.
Given that the criteria to be [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Emory Healthcare and Atlanta Falcons Announce New Healthcare Partnership
Mar 8, 2018 By Emory Healthcare

Emory Healthcare and the Atlanta Falcons have entered into a new medical partnership that designates Emory Healthcare as the Official Team Healthcare Provider of the Atlanta Falcons. Emory Healthcare physicians in sports medicine, cardiology and ophthalmology have been providing medical support for the players and coaches for years, including during the Falcons’ trip to the Super Bowl in 2017. The new partnership promotes a broader relationship between Emory Healthcare and the entire Atlanta Falcons organization that builds on the medical support and care currently provided to the team. The partnership also gives Emory Healthcare new opportunities to engage in community outreach and educate Falcons fans on the importance of maintaining or achieving a healthy lifestyle through preventative care, good nutrition, exercise, regular checkups, and screenings. Along with the Atlanta Falcons, physicians at Emory Healthcare also serve as the official team health care providers for the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, and the Atlanta Dream, as well as Georgia Tech and several other college and high school athletic associations. “We are excited to have Emory Healthcare as [...]

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Brain Health Center
Sleep Apnea and the Gender Difference
Mar 7, 2018 By Emory Healthcare

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder where one’s breathing involuntarily and repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. There are three different types of sleep apnea with separate root causes:
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)– the most common form that occurs when the throat muscles relax
  • Central Sleep Apnea – occurs when the brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea – occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea can have serious health consequences including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, pregnancy complications, metabolic disorders, and cognitive and behavior disorders, and higher risks for car crashes and work-related accidents. Central sleep apnea has health consequences associated with heart failure, opioid use, strokes, and brain injuries.

Signs and Symptoms

Commons signs:
  • Reduced or absent breathing
  • Frequent loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Restless sleep
Common symptoms:
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Decrease in attention, concentration, motor skills, and verbal

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Heart & Vascular
The Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Mar 7, 2018 By Emory Heart & Vascular Center

legs (1)Though spider veins and varicose veins are both classified as vein disorders, there are some distinct differences between them.

What do They Look Like?

Spider veins are small, wispy, web-like veins on the skin surface, usually less than one millimeter in diameter. They may be purple or red and often appear in clusters or nests, which may look like a bruise. Varicose veins are larger veins, which often have a blue color and generally bulge under the skin. Both types of veins are visible and one of the primary treatment goals is an improvement in cosmetic appearance.

What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins are usually inherited. Obesity, female hormones and prolonged sitting or standing are also contributing factors. Varicose veins are most often a result of valves that function incorrectly. Normal valves allow blood to flow in only one direction—out of the leg and towards the heart. Faulty valves allow blood to flow backward into the leg, increasing pressure in the veins. This increased pressure dilates and elongates the vein, causing it to protrude and appear curved or twisted.

Do These Veins Cause Problems?

Spider veins do not usually cause [...]

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