Takeaways from Dr. Gongora’s Live Chat on Women & Heart Disease

women-hrt-disease260x200Thank you to everyone who joined us on February 23rd, for our live chat on “Women & Heart Disease” hosted by Carolina Gongora, M.D., cardiologist with the Emory Women’s Heart Center.

We had a lot of great questions! Heart Disease is the number one killer of women, so it was wonderful to have so many women engaged and interested in their heart health. The physicians at Emory Women’s Heart Center are dedicated to diagnosis, screening, treatment and prevention of heart disease in women.

We hope that you found the discussion informative. If you missed the chat or are interested in reviewing all of Dr. Gongora’s answers, you can view the chat transcript.

Below are a few highlights:

Question: What is the effect of depression on my cardiovascular health?

Dr. Gongora: Although men and women share similar risk factors for heart disease, there are some that are more frequent and damaging in women and depression is one of them. Depression increases the risk of heart attack and cardiac related death by 50%. If you are experiencing signs of depression, it is important that you consult your doctor for treatment.

Question: What is the best diet for heart disease?

Dr. Gongora: The Mediterranean and DASH diets have shown to reduce risk of developing and worsening heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional foods from Italy and Greece, hence the name. It consists of daily servings of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and whole grains. Frequent ingestion of fish, moderate ingestion of low fat yogurt and cheese and eggs, and infrequent ingestion of red meats, refined oils, refined grains and processed sweets. This diet has been shown to prevent heart disease and stroke.

The DASH diet is meant to prevent hypertension. It favors food lower in sodium and richer in potassium, magnesium and calcium. It is similar to Mediterranean diet in recommending intake of plenty of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.

Question: What is generally the first sign of an impending heart attack for a woman?

Dr. Gongora: Women tend to have symptoms other than the recognized central chest pain. Symptoms like back pain, arm, neck, and jaw, as well as unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, and weakness occur more frequently in women compared to men. Remember, if you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

To learn more about the Emory Women’s Heart Center, visit our website. To make a new patient appointment, call 404-778-7777.

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