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Heart & Vascular
More Atlantans Avoid Open-Heart Surgery with Latest Valve Treatment
Feb 18, 2020 By Emory Heart & Vascular Center

It started with shortness of breath, which Donna Jan Green had become used to given a history of heart issues going back to childhood. But it became worse. When she'd visit one of the craft shows she loved attending, she couldn't walk far without having to sit down. It grew so bad that even going to check the mail required a long rest at the mailbox before she could muster the energy to walk back inside. The calcifying valves within Green's aorta—the body's largest artery, which carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart—were taking her breath away. It was why Green found herself at Emory's Structural Heart & Valve Center, mentally preparing herself for open-heart surgery of the type she'd endured many years ago when her mitral valve began to fail. At least, until she was introduced to a four-letter acronym. "They told me, 'You're a good candidate for a TAVR,'" [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Is There a Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Feb 3, 2020 By Mark Rheudasil, MD

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 [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Manage Your Blood Pressure and Keep Your Heart Healthy!
Dec 23, 2019 By Dr. Robertson

doctor checks patient blood pressureDid you know that approximately 90 percent of all Americans will develop hypertension over their lifetime? One in three adults has high blood pressure, yet, many people don’t even know they have it. Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs when your blood flows with too much force through your arteries, stretching your arteries beyond a healthy limit and causing microscopic tears. Though our body naturally repairs these tears with scar tissue, that tissue also traps plaque and white blood cells, which can turn into blockages, blood clots, and hardened, weakened arteries. These effects, in turn, prevent blood flow and cause heart tissue to die, causing further severe conditions, such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and heart failure. High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease and can injure or kill you. It is known as the [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Real Patients, Real Stories: Emory Provides Less-Invasive Lifesaving Heart Surgery Option for 95 Year Old
Feb 18, 2019 By Emory Heart & Vascular Center

Feeling lightheaded at his home in South Carolina, Ed Iler, 95, was rushed by paramedics to the nearest hospital emergency room. He complained of chest pain and was told by his doctor he had a heart murmur. “I’m 95 years of age and I have never been told that before,” said Iler, an active member of his community who enjoys gardening, hiking and spending time with family and friends. The following week, he was experiencing more chest discomfort and shortness of breath. He was rushed to the hospital where they discovered a leaky mitral valve. This meant the mitral valve of the heart wasn’t closing properly. The abnormal blood flow signals the heart to pump harder, which causes stress on the body. Although the examining cardiologist in South Carolina felt he was strong and healthy enough to have surgery, he was concerned that open heart surgery might be too much for a [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Dark Chocolate: The Heart Healthy Gift for Your Valentine
Feb 14, 2019 By Dr. Jason Reingold

For Valentine’s Day, go ahead and give your sweetheart some dark chocolate this year ... to consume in moderation. In past years, more research has suggested a beneficial link between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the reduction of the risk of cardiovascular events. In one study, participants with the highest levels of chocolate intake had a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke compared with participants who consumed the lowest levels of chocolate. The secret behind chocolate’s beneficial effects on the heart is the effect of powerful micronutrients - flavonoids and phenols found naturally in the cocoa bean. These compounds function like antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables where free radicals are neutralized and destroyed, helping the body resist damage to cells. For example, flavanols help keep LDL [...]

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Heart & Vascular
The Link Between Lupus and Heart Disease
May 9, 2018 By Dr. Ijeoma Isiadinso

Lupus has been called a cruel and mysterious disease. An autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system that’s supposed to protect your body attacks it instead. Its causes are unknown and no two cases are alike. Attacking different parts of the body, lupus causes joint pain, rash, fatigue, and fever. It’s estimated that 1 in 2,000 people in the U.S. have it, yet most people with lupus don’t look sick. While lupus can strike anyone, 90 percent of the people living with lupus are female. It occurs 2 to 3 times more frequently among women of African, Hispanic or Asian descent than among Caucasian women.

World Lupus Day May 10th

Because so few people have heard of lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE), organizations around the globe joined together to create World Lupus Day. Each year since 2004, activities on May 10th focus on increasing public awareness [...]

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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 [...]

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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
[...]

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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 [...]

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Heart & Vascular
The Link Between the Flu and Heart Attack
Mar 3, 2018 By Emory Healthcare

Doctors have discovered a link between heart attacks and the flu. Not only does the flu vaccine help prevent more than a bad cold, it has the potential to lower the chance of having a heart attack for those who are at high risk. "When someone comes into the hospital with a heart attack, it's not uncommon that this individual has had some type of viral illness or process in the recent past," said Dr. Laurence Sperling of Emory Heart & Vascular Center. In one study, participants 35 years and older whom were at risk of a heart attack increased their risk six times within a week of getting the flu. The vaccine may be effective short-term against heart attacks like quitting smoking or taking blood pressure medications. "Every single one of our patients who has heart disease, part of our process is to discuss a flu vaccine. Not just to prevent the flu, but as a means of [...]

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