Heart Disease

Types of Cardiovascular Disease

heart-word-cloud 9-4Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. But did you know there are more than 50 types of heart disease? Heart disease is actually an umbrella term that includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart, some of which are genetic, and many of which are the result of lifestyle choices.

Types of Cardiovascular Disease:

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common form of heart disease. It occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart narrow or harden, which is known as atherosclerosis. CHD is usually the cause of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Major risk factors include: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, diabetes, advancing age, inherited (genetic) disposition.

Heart Attack – Also called “myocardial infarction,” a heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is severely reduced or cut off, due to the hardening and narrowing of the coronary arteries from the build-up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances, known together as “plaque.” A blood clot forms around the plaque, blocking blood flow. This results in permanent damage or death of part of the heart muscle. The most common symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arms or shoulder
  • Feeling weak, lightheaded, or nauseous

Arrhythmia – “Arrhythmia” means your heartbeat is irregular. It doesn’t necessarily mean your heart is beating too fast or too slow. It just means it’s out of its normal rhythm. When the heart doesn’t beat normally, it can’t pump blood effectively to the lungs, brain, and other organs, causing them to potentially shut down or become damaged. You could have an arrhythmia even if your heart is healthy, as it can be a side effect of medicines that you are taking or a manifestation of an abnormality elsewhere in your body.

Heart failure is a serious condition that commonly develops slowly over time, and is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65. Heart failure is a bit of a misnomer, since it does not actually mean the heart has stopped working; rather, the heart pumps weaker than normal, causing blood to move through the body at a slower rate and increases pressures in the heart. The weakened heart muscle has to work overtime to keep up with the body’s demands, which can leave a person tired. Some of the symptoms of heart failure:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
  • General fatigue and weakness

Congenital Heart Disease is a category of heart disease in which congenital heart defects are present at birth. Defects occur when the fetus is developing and may produce symptoms at birth or during childhood, while others aren’t discovered until a person is an adult. Some causes of congenital heart defects are:

  • Chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome
  • Maternal viral infection in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Maternal drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy, and certain medications such as Warfarin

Heart Muscle Disease (Cardiomyopathy) is a progressive disease that causes the heart to be abnormally enlarged, thickened and/or stiffened. Cardiomyopathy limits the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively, and often leads to heart conditions like arrhythmias or heart failure.

While there is a wide range of heart and vascular conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, the good news is that many types of heart disease can be prevented with healthy habits. You can reduce your risk of certain types of heart disease, such as heart attack, coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease by doing the following:

  • Eating a low sodium diet
  • Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables while limiting foods high in saturated fat
  • Exercising at least 3 – 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day
  • Stop smoking!
  • Controlling your diabetes and high blood pressure

If you suspect you have heart condition, talk with a trained Emory Healthcare doctor, who can recommend or administer screening or diagnostic tests.

About Dr. Danny Eapen, MD

eapen-dannyDanny Eapen, MD  is an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Eapen specializes in preventive cardiology and adult heart disease. He pursued a degree in medicine from the University of Miami, Miami FL, and his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. He also completed his research and general cardiology fellowship at Emory University.

The Role of Gender in Heart Disease

mom-daughter-gran (1)Every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.

An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease. While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease. (AHA Go Red statistics)

For years, heart disease was thought of as a “man’s disease,” but more women than men die of heart disease each year. Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen. Despite increased awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer [2].


Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women. Yet, only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

The largest risk factors of heart disease affect both men and women. The good news is that many of the major contributing factors can be controlled, including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Tobacco use
  • Raised blood glucose (diabetes)
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Cholesterol/lipids
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Mental stress and depression
  • Pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy

There are also other risk factors that are not modifiable such as age and family history. Although men and women share a lot of the same risks, your gender can play a role in heart disease. Some risks that vary by gender are the following:

  • Age – men tend to develop coronary artery disease earlier in life. However, after age 65 the risk of heart disease in women is almost the same as in men.
  • Women, especially younger women (<65 yrs), have worse outcome after a heart attack.
  • Diabetes is a particularly important risk factor for developing heart disease in women. The symptoms of heart disease in diabetic women can be very subtle. Women may have mild heartburn or breathlessness during physical exertion rather than chest pain that is considered typical in men or in people without diabetes.
  • Unhealthy behaviors – Men tend to engage in certain high-risk behaviors that can have adverse effects on the heart, such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption. 20.5% of adult men smoke cigarettes compared to 15.3% of women, putting men at a higher risk [3]. Similarly, studies have shown that high-volume drinking is consistently more prevalent among men than among women [4].


The most common symptoms of heart attack in women is some type of pressure, discomfort or pain, in the chest. However, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pains. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Right arm pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

These symptoms can be more subtle, like pressure or tightness, than the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks in men. Women’s symptoms may be triggered by mental stress and may occur more often when women are resting, or even when they’re asleep.

About the Author

parashar-susmitaSusmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS, FAHA, FACC is a Board certified cardiologist at the Emory Heart and Vascular Center and Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Parashar is an educator and cardiovascular outcomes researcher with emphasis on women and heart disease, preventive cardiology and heart disease in cancer patients. She has received several grants and awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association (AHA) to conduct research on women and heart disease. Dr. Parashar was awarded the AHA Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research in Women’s Health Award to recognize outstanding work in the area of women’s health and cardiovascular disease


[1] CDC.gov – Heart Disease Facts
American Heart Association – 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Update, compiled by AHA, CDC, NIH and other governmental sources

[2] CDC.gov – Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_women_heart.htm

[3] Center for Disease Control (CDC). “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/

[4] Wisnack et al. “Gender and Alcohol Consumption: Patterns From the Multinational Genacis Project.”
Addiction. 2009 Sep; 104(9): 1487–1500. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844334/

[5] CDC.gov – Men and Heart Disease Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_men_heart.htm

Heart Disease in Men

heartdiseas_8-5Heart disease is one of the leading health risks facing men today. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 307,225 men in 2009—that’s 1 in every 4 male deaths [1]. According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three adult men has heart disease, and men comprise more than 48 percent of the deaths that occur due to heart conditions [2].

When we think of heart disease in men, we tend to think of coronary artery disease—the narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart—but heart disease is actually an umbrella term that includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart. These conditions can include:

• Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias
• Heart valve disease
• Heart failure
• Congenital heart disease
• Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
• Aorta disease

Signs & Symptoms

You’d think that with such a serious disease you’d have significant warning signs, but you may be developing heart disease without knowing it. In fact, half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms [3]. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

The first sign of heart disease is often a heart attack or other serious event, but there are a few key signs to be aware of that can help recognize problems before they progress. In the early stages, symptoms include but are not limited to:

• Difficulty catching your breath after moderate physical exertion
• Erectile dysfunction – studies found that even minor erection difficulties could be indicators for heart disease. Erection difficulties are mainly caused by blockages in the small arteries that supply the penis. This is a good indicator of what is happening in other larger arteries in the body, including those that supply the heart.
• A sense of discomfort and/or pain in your chest
• Unexplained pain in your upper torso, neck, and jaw
• A change in your extremities (ie: pain, numbness, tingling)


Apart from the above symptoms, there are certain risk factors that can make you more prone to heart disease. The good news is that many of the major contributing factors can be controlled, including:

• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Tobacco use
• Raised blood glucose (diabetes)
• Physical inactivity
• Unhealthy diet
• Cholesterol/lipids
• Overweight and obesity

There are also other risk factors that are not modifiable such as age, gender and family history.

What You Can Do

Lots of things affect whether you get heart disease, and you control many of them. Some immediate steps you can take are the following:

Keep an eye on your blood pressure. In terms of global attributable deaths, the leading CVD risk factor is raised blood pressure (to which 13 per cent of global deaths is attributed). High blood pressure is now classified as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 in people under 60, and greater than 150/90 in people over 60.

Stop tobacco use. Tobacco use is second in factors leading to attributable deaths, with 9 percent attributed [4]. More than 20 of every 100 adult men (20.5%) smoke cigarettes compared to 15.3% of women, putting men at a higher risk [5].

Work on your weight. Many Americans are overweight. Bringing your weight to a healthy level is a plus for your heart. This can be accomplished by being physically active and enjoying healthy eating.

Maintain your social and emotional health. Cut out as much stress as possible. Find ways to ease the stress you can’t avoid. Exercise, meditation and talking to people you trust are three ideas to start with.

Limit your alcohol use. Anything more than moderate drinking is considered unhealthy. What’s moderate drinking? Up to 1 glass a day for women, and up to 2 glasses a day for men.

Lastly, consult your physician. Your doctor can help you develop healthy habits, prescribe appropriate medications, and figure out if your family’s medical history puts you at risk. Even if you have heart disease, you can live a healthier, more active life by learning about your disease and treatments and by becoming an active participant in your care.

About the Author

sperling-laurenceLaurence S. Sperling, M.D., FACC, FAHA, FACP is the Founder and Director of The Heart Disease Prevention Center at Emory. He is currently Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at the Emory University School of Medicine and Professor of Global Health in the Hubert Department of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Sperling also serves as the current President of The American Society for Preventive Cardiology.


1. Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009[PDF-2M]. National vital statistics reports. 2011;60(3).
2. American Heart Association. “Statistical Fact Sheet. 2013 Update.” http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319573.pdf
3. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125(1):e2–220.
4. World Heart Federation. “Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.” http://www.world-heart-federation.org/press/fact-sheets/cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors/
5. Center for Disease Control (CDC). “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/

Things You Never Knew About Your Blood Pressure

blood pressure live chatYou’ve probably heard high blood pressure, or hypertension, called the “silent killer” because it can damage your arteries and organs without you ever realizing something is wrong. Not only can it damage your heart, but it can also cause stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, erectile dysfunction, fluid buildup in the lungs and angina.

Join us on Tuesday, June 23, at 12:00 p.m. for a live, interactive web chat about “Things You Never Knew About Your Blood Pressure.” Dr. Gina Lundberg will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about high blood pressure. For instance, did you know that common over the counter medication can increase your blood pressure? Did you know you can have high blood pressure and never experience any symptoms at all?

During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Register now for our June 23 chat:

Chat Sign Up

About Dr. Lundberg

Gina Lundberg, MDGina Price Lundberg, MD, FACC , is the clinical director of the Emory Women’s Heart Center and a preventive cardiologist with Emory Clinic in East Cobb. Dr. Lundberg is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

She is a national American Heart Association (AHA) spokesperson and was a board member for the Atlanta chapter from 2001 to 2007. Dr. Lundberg was the Honoree for the AHA’s North Fulton/Gwinnett County Heart Ball for 2006. In 2009, she was awarded the Women with Heart Award at the Go Red Luncheon for outstanding dedication to the program. She is also a Circle of Red founding member and Cor Vitae member for the AHA.

She has been interviewed on the subject of heart disease in women by multiple media outlets, including CNN and USA Today. In 2007, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Dr. Lundberg to the advisory board of the Georgia Department of Women’s Health, where she served until 2011. In 2005, Atlanta Woman magazine awarded Dr. Lundberg the Top 10 Innovator Award for Medicine. In 2008, Atlanta Woman named her one of the Top 25 Professional Women to Watch and the only woman in the field of medicine.

Dr. Lundberg attended the Medical College of Georgia and trained in internal medicine at Atlanta Medical Center (Georgia Baptist). She completed her cardiology fellowship at Rush University in Chicago. She has been in practice in Atlanta since 1994. She is board certified in cardiology and internal medicine and was recertified in both in 2002. Dr. Lundberg has two children and considers motherhood her first and foremost career. Dr. Lundberg has lived most of her life in the metro Atlanta area.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center

Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening for, preventing and treating heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned cardiologist Gina Lundberg, MD, provides comprehensive cardiac risk assessments and screenings for patients at risk for heart disease, as well as a full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease. Call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiac screening and find out if you are at risk for heart disease.

How to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease PreventionCoronary heart disease (CHD) is the buildup of plaque within the heart’s arteries, which causes a decrease in blood flow. When a coronary artery becomes fully blocked and blood flow has stopped, a heart attack results. As you may know, heart attacks may permanently damage the heart muscle.

Risk factors for CHD include: high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, diabetes, smoking, obesity, being post-menopausal for women and being older than 45 for men. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing CHD.

CHD and heart attacks are preventable. Living a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, stress reduction, weight management and physical activity is key. CHD may begin in childhood, and initial plaque buildup may be detected as early as the teenage years.

According to the National Institute of Health, common symptoms of coronary heart disease include shortness of breath and angina (pain or a feeling of increased pressure in the chest). Less common symptoms include nausea, sweating, fatigue, dizziness and decreased exercise tolerance.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

If you would like to make an appointment to be evaluated for coronary heart disease by an interventional cardiologist, please call HealthConnection at 404-778-7777.

For heart-healthy recipe ideas, click here.

About Dr. Chang

George Chang, MDGeorge Chang MD, FACC is a board certified interventional cardiologist practicing at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital (ESJH). He has been at ESJH since 1999 and is currently serving as Chief of Physician Services for Emory Clinic at Emory Saint Joseph’s. He completed his undergraduate studies at Baylor University and Cardiovascular Fellowship at Emory University. He has an appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Why is Screening for Heart Disease Important?

Cardiovascular ScreeningDid you know that Emory Healthcare offers preventive health and wellness screenings throughout the metro Atlanta area? Our goal is to improve the health of our patients and provide communities greater access to important screening services, as well as the Emory Healthcare Network of physicians and providers.

Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to the diagnosis, screening, treatment and prevention of heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned women’s heart specialist Gina Lundberg, MD, provides comprehensive heart screenings for patients at risk for cardiovascular disease as well as a full range of treatment options for those already diagnosed with heart disease.

Why is heart disease screening important?

Screenings are often the best way to identify risk factors that may contribute to heart disease. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), few people have “ideal risk levels on all screening tests. However, if you do have test results that are less than ideal, it doesn’t mean you’re destined to develop a serious cardiovascular disease. On the contrary, it means you’re in position to begin changing your health in a positive way.”

What does a heart disease screening entail?

Emory Women’s Heart Center offers three screening options which are based on the patient’s needs:

Plan A: ($75) Initial Assessment for All Women
Your initial screening includes a review for any family history of cardiovascular disease and a comprehensive global cardiac risk assessment that includes your age, blood pressure, total cholesterol level, HDL level, smoking history and hypertension history. You will also work directly with a nurse practitioner to develop an individualized plan that helps you reduce your identifed risk factors.

Our comprehensive examination includes:

  •  Body mass index
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol evaluation
  • Depression scale assessment
  • Fasting blood sugar test
  • Exercise recommendations
  • Physical exam
  • Pregnancy history
  • Sleep evaluation
  • Waist circumference
  • Weight consultation

Plan B: ($100) Women with Intermediate Risk, Hypertension or Diabetes Mellitus

  • Ankle brachial index (ABI) – Screening for circulation abnormalities in the lower extremities
  • Echocardiogram – Test to evaluate the structural aspects of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) – Test to evaluate the electrical conduction of the heart
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) – Blood test to determine diabetes risk
  • Microalbuminuria – Urine test to screen for early kidney disease

Plan C: ($100) Women with Intermediate Risk or Diabetes Mellitus

  • Calcium score – Computed tomography (CT) of the coronary arteries to help determine risk for coronary disease or blockage

The AHA recommends that cardiovascular screening start at age 20. Use your screening as an opportunity to take charge of your health, modify unhealthy behaviors and have a positive impact on your life. To request an appointment with the Emory Women’s Heart Center, please call 404-778-7777 or click here.

Are You at Risk? Heart Disease Risk Factors

heart riskDid you know that, in some cases, heart disease is preventable? Being aware of your risk factors allows you to take control of your heart health!

Traditional risk factors for heart disease in men and women are:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)– can damage arteries by speeding up the atherosclerosis process.
  • Diabetes – women with diabetes have a two to four times higher risk of stroke or death from heart disease compared with women who do not have diabetes.
  • Age – women over 55 are more likely to have a heart attack.
  • High blood cholesterol– a high level of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can narrow the arteries as the deposits build up in the arteries.
  • Obesity– being overweight (Body Mass Index, BMI, over 25) can lead to high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
  • Family history – a person with a family history of heart disease is at higher risk for heart disease.
  • Lack of physical activity and poor diet – people who live sedentary lifestyles and eat unhealthy foods are more likely to develop heart disease.

Other risk factors for women that are not typically present in men include:

  • Metabolic syndrome— metabolic syndrome combines extra weight (fat) around your mid section, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”) and high triglycerides.
  • Mental stress and depression – If a person is depressed she is less likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Smoking – poses a greater risk to women than men.
  • Estrogen levels – lower levels of estrogen after menopause lead to microvascular disease or cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels.
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments for breast cancer
  • Pregnancy complications – history of pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes as well as delivering a pre – term infant.
  • Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis – history of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

Take Our Heart Disease Risk Quiz!

If you have any of the risk factors described above, we encourage you to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment with an Emory clinician. You may do so by calling 404-778-7777, or clicking to request an appointment specifically with the Emory Women’s Heart Center.

What’s Causing Your Leg Pain? – Join Us for a Live Web Chat!

PAD Live ChatPeripheral artery disease (PAD) is a commonly undiagnosed disease affecting about 8.5 million Americans. Symptoms vary from cramping in the lower extremities, as well as pain or tiredness in leg or hip muscles. According to the American Heart Association, many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else, which is why it can easily go undiagnosed. Having the correct diagnosis is important because people with PAD are at a higher risk of heart attack or stroke, and if untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Many people think their leg pain is due to arthritis, sciatica or just a part of aging. People with diabetes may even confuse PAD pain with a neuropathy, a common diabetic symptom that causes a burning or painful discomfort of the feet or thighs. It is important to know that, while PAD is potentially life-threatening, it can be managed or even reversed with proper care. If you’re having any kind of recurring pain, talk to your healthcare professional.

Join me on Tuesday, March 24, at 12:00 p.m. for an interactive web chat entitled “What’s causing your leg pain?” Dr. Robertson will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about PAD, including symptoms, diagnosis and misdiagnosis, prevention and treatment.

During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Register now for our March 24 chat at emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats.

About Dr. Robertson

Gregory Robertson, MDGreg Robertson, MD, is the chief of the Emory Heart and Vascular Clinic at Johns Creek. At the Emory Johns Creek Hospital he is chief of cardiology and the medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization laboratory and interventional program. He is board certified in Vascular Medicine, Endovascular Medicine, Interventional Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. Robertson’s research has had a focus on the development of new technologies and techniques to treat blocked leg arteries in patients with peripheral arterial disease, helping patients walk farther and prevent limb amputation in diabetic patients. While in the San Francisco Bay Area for 16 years before moving to Atlanta, he practiced with the well-known medical device inventor Dr. John Simpson, whose development teams invented the atherectomy procedure and the first percutaneous arterial closure device. Atherectomy is a procedure which allows the physician to remove plaque in blocked arteries without major surgery. His newest project is with Dr. Simpson’s invention of the Avinger Ocelot and Pantheris devices which open blocked arteries using smart laser imaging.

Dr. Robertson’s clinical expertise is oriented on performing minimally-invasive procedures to avoid major surgery. He has developed many of the vascular programs at the new Emory Johns Creek Hospital including 1) carotid artery stenting, 2) percutaneous repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms and 3) limb preservation for those at risk of limb amputation. He has also developed the cardiac intervention programs for emergency heart attack victims and elective procedures to include PCI and PFO/ASD closure.

Cardiology Experts Near You

Women's Heart ScreeningsEmory Women’s Heart Center (EWHC) is a unique program dedicated to the diagnosis, screening, treatment and prevention of heart disease in women. The Center provides comprehensive heart screenings for patients at risk for cardiovascular disease as well as a full range of treatment options for those already diagnosed with heart disease. According to the NIH, heart disease kills 1 in 4 women. Fortunately, many women can take preventive measures to minimize their risk of a cardiovascular event by controlling their risk factors.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or physical inactivity, family history of premature heart disease, high cholesterol, menopause, mental stress and certain pregnancy-related conditions (eclampsia, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes) or autoimmune diseases (lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).

At our Lithonia office, we have both Family Practice and Cardiology providers to offer the following services:

  • Annual health & wellness evaluations for your entire family
  • Heart screenings for women who could be at risk for heart disease, but have not been diagnosed with heart disease
  • Diagnostic cardiac care for women who are currently experiencing symptoms of heart disease
  • Health counseling and advice to empower women to take steps to prevent heart disease
  • Long-term management of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression or heart disease
  • Preoperative cardiac evaluation
  • Routine immunizations: influenza, tetanus, pneumovax, etc.
  • Referrals to Emory specialists as needed

To make an appointment with the Emory Women’s Heart Center, please call 404-778-7777 to speak to an Emory HealthConnection nurse. View other convenient Emory Women’s Heart Center locations.

Please note: Comprehensive heart screenings are for patients who are at risk for heart disease but are not having symptoms and have not been diagnosed with heart disease.

Physician Spotlight

Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD is Director at Emory Women’s Heart Center at Lithonia. This location is particularly convenient for patients and their families because it provides patients with access to both cardiologists and general medicine specialists.

Dr. Isiadinso is passionate about preventing heart disease in women and has clinical interests in cardiovascular disease prevention, preoperative evaluation, cardiovascular risk reduction, coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, counseling on lifestyle changes for patients at risk, or with, family history of heart disease. . Her research interests include inequalities in health care, community and preventive health, lipid disorders, women and heart disease, and program development and evaluation.

Dr. Isiadinso is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and cardiovascular computed tomography. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Preventive Cardiology and the American Public Health Association.

Benefits of Stress Reduction

Stress ReductionWhether it’s a tight work deadline, an overdue bill or busy parental duties, stress affects all of us. It’s important to understand how stress impacts your health before it starts to severely impact your wellbeing. Reducing stress can help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, increase blood flow and lower fatigue.

According to the American Heart Association, stress may affect a person’s risk for heart disease, which is the leading killer of Americans.

Things you can do to reduce stress include meditation, eating healthy foods, breathing deeply and leaning on loved ones for support. For some people, simply slowing down may help, while for others, moving around and/or exercising may be the answer.

To learn more about stress reduction, please join us for the annual Reward Your Heart event hosted by Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. You can enjoy an evening of relaxation and heart-healthy information, featuring chair massages, yoga demonstrations and delicious tastings of wines, specialty olive oils and dark chocolates.

The evening will include informal consultations with physicians, nutritionists and exercise specialists from Emory Healthcare. Learn about “Stress and the Effects on Your Heart” with speaker Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, world-renowned expert on stress and the heart.

Reward Your Heart Event Details

WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Doctors Center Building Atrium
5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30342

COST: Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple. Register online at med.emory.edu/RewardYourHeart or mail a check payable to Emory Women’s Heart Center at:
Department of Medical Education
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342

Emory Healthcare provides the following resources to connect with world-renowned cardiovascular specialists:
Emory Heart & Vascular Center
Emory Women’s Heart Center

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis CutchinsAlexis Cutchins, MD is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Cutchins completed medical school at Emory University School of Medicine before going to New York Presbyterian Hospital for her Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine. She completed an NIH-supported research fellowship in vascular biology and a clinical fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at the University of Virginia in 2012. She has a special interest in heart disease in women in addition to heart disease prevention and risk reduction in cardiology patients.

Dr. Cutchins has published several different articles on adipose tissue distribution and obesity in journals such as Circulation Research, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and Stroke and has a special interest in the effects of adipose tissue distribution on the heart.

Dr. Cutchins is board certified in Internal Medicine (2007) and Cardiovascular Diseases (2012). She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Cutchins sees patients at Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Emory Saint Joseph’s.

She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, their three daughters and their dog. She loves to cook and ride horses.