Heart Health

A Heart Attack May Look Different in Women

Heart Attack in WomenWhile the symptoms of a heart attack are often similar in men and women, women are more likely to experience “atypical” symptoms than men. That’s why it’s particularly important for women to be familiar with the full range of heart attack symptoms, including those that aren’t as common, but may be more common in women than men.

  • Chest Pain or Discomfort

This symptom isn’t always “painful.” It can also feel like squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or fullness, and be anywhere from mild to severe.

  • Heaviness or Pain in Other Areas

These may include the back, neck, jaw or arms. This is more common in women. The pain or pressure can be gradual or sudden. It may come and go, gradually intensify or awaken one from sleep.

  • Cold Sweating

This can occur even without chest discomfort. If there is no obvious reason for sweating, such as exercise or hot flashes, consider having your physician investigate this further.

  • Fatigue

Some women may experience extreme exhaustion even during routine tasks, a gradual or sudden decrease in energy level, or an inability to complete tasks they were able to do in the past.

  • Nausea

Nausea can be a symptom of other problems, such as the flu, heartburn or stomach ulcers. However, nausea can also be a symptom of heart disease or angina.

  • Shortness of Breath

This can occur with minimal activity or with activities that previously did not cause breathing difficulty. This is especially important because people with diabetes experiencing a heart attack may not necessarily have chest pain, and this may be their only symptom.

  • Lightheadedness

This may occur with activity or in conjunction with any of the other symptoms.

In the case of a heart attack, no symptom should be taken lightly. If symptoms exist, call 911 as soon as they appear – even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack. It could save your life. And remember, with heart attacks, TIME = MUSCLE: A heart attack can begin to damage the heart within 30 minutes of the start of symptoms, and sometimes the damage is irreversible.

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.

Related Links

Congenital Heart Defect Repair in Childhood: Will I Need Another Surgery?

congenital heart repairNot too long ago, most babies born with serious heart defects died in childhood. Thanks to advances in cardiac care, some estimates indicate that today as many as 90% of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are able to live well into adulthood. In fact, there are now more adults than children living with CHD, and it has become increasingly clear that this growing population requires ongoing, specialized care. For instance, even if their defects are treated surgically in childhood, many patients will require additional surgery as adults to keep their hearts functioning correctly.

When many surgical procedures were first performed to correct congenital heart defects in children, the medical community generally assumed they were curative. But as the first generation of post-operative patients survived into adulthood, some began to develop late complications associated with the procedures they underwent as children.

Unfortunately, many of these late complications develop gradually and are associated with non-specific symptoms. In addition, CHD is so closely associated with infancy and childhood, that many patients assume they no longer need to worry about their condition once they have reached adulthood. Consequently, they may not make the connection between the symptoms they develop as adults and their CHD—especially if it was successfully corrected in childhood.

This relatively recent phenomenon bolsters the argument that patients with CHD—even if their defect was surgically corrected in childhood—need to continue regular follow-up with a congenital heart specialist into adulthood so that he or she can monitor for subtle changes that may indicate a serious problem.

Another issue with managing CHD in adulthood is that adult cardiologists may have difficulty treating conditions in hearts repaired—often effectively re-configured—by pediatric surgeons years earlier. Conversely, pediatric surgeons may be unfamiliar with the unique complications that can arise years later as “corrected” anatomy ages, and in general may not have the specific training and experience required to address congenital disease in adults.

In response to this growing crisis, Emory and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have teamed up to help ensure that patients with CHD don’t get lost to follow-up as they transition into adulthood. The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia combines the expertise of Children’s Sibley Heart Center with that of Emory’s Adult Congenital Heart Center to address this crucial need. It is the first program of its kind in the South and one of the largest in the country.

About Dr. Kogon

Brian E. Kogon, MD , is chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s Sibley Heart Center and Emory University Hospital , surgical director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Emory University Hospital and director of the Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kogon received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completed his residency in general surgery and a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Indiana University. He then went on to complete his fellowship in pediatric cardiac surgery at Emory University, joining the staff in 2004.

Dr. Kogon is now a nationally recognized leader in pediatric and adult congenital heart disease. He has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and presents nationally at the major cardiothoracic surgery society meetings. He has earned various awards over the years, most recently the Teacher of the Year award for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery from the Sibley Cardiology Fellowship Program and Emory University.

Dr. Kogon’s major areas of interest include pediatric cardiac surgery, cardiac transplantation and adult congenital heart surgery.

About the Congenital Heart Center of Georgia

The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Healthcare. The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a comprehensive program for children and adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) that provides a continuum of lifesaving care from before birth through adulthood. The program is led by Emory Healthcare cardiologist Wendy Book, MD, Robert Campbell, MD, chief of cardiac services and director of cardiology at Children’s Sibley Heart Center, and Brian Kogon, MD, chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s Sibley Heart Center and Emory University Hospital and surgical director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Emory University Hospital. To schedule an appointment please call 404-778-7777.

Related Links

What You Should Know about Hypertensive Heart Disease

anginaHypertension, also called high blood pressure, occurs when blood flows through the arteries with too much force. Left untreated over time, hypertension can cause other heart disorders, collectively called hypertensive heart disease. Two of the most common hypertensive heart disorders are hypertensive coronary artery disease and hypertensive left ventricular hypertrophy.

Hypertension causes arteries to stretch beyond a healthy limit, resulting in tears in artery walls. Though the 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. When this process occurs in the arteries that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood (coronary arteries), the result can be a decrease in heart function (heart failure) or a heart attack.

Hypertension also causes the heart to have to work harder to move blood through the body. Like any muscle, this increased workout results in the wall of the heart thickening and hardening, most notably in the left ventricle, the chamber primarily responsible for pumping blood out to the rest of the body. These changes in the ventricle wall can eventually decrease the heart’s pumping capability. This condition is called hypertensive left ventricular hypertrophy.

Common symptoms of hypertensive heart disease include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain (angina), especially after exertion
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (palpitations)

Left untreated, hypertensive heart disease can lead to heart failure, stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.

The good news is that hypertension can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, and the sooner the condition is discovered, the less serious damage it will cause to your heart.

If you are a woman who has hypertension or simply wants to learn more about your potential risk for heart disease, call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment with an Emory Women’s Heart Center specialist.

Heart Disease Screening

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.

Related Links

Signs and Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defects

CDH BabyBecause congenital defects can decrease the heart’s ability to pump blood and deliver oxygen throughout the body, they often produce telltale signs. Below are some of the more common symptoms that indicate a baby may have congenital heart disease (CHD).

  • Heart Murmur

A heart murmur is often the first sign of CHD. In basic terms, a murmur is just an extra heart sound, in addition to the regular sounds of a beating heart. Heart murmurs usually don’t indicate the presence of any heart problem. Sometimes a doctor can use a stethoscope alone to determine whether a particular murmur is a sign of heart disease. In other cases additional tests are necessary to determine the exact nature of a murmur.

  • Breathing Difficulties

Breathing difficulty caused by blood building up in the lungs (lung congestion) is a sign of a serious defect that will likely need medical or surgical intervention in the first year of life. Lung congestion may be the result of excessive blood flow from the left side of the heart to the right side through an abnormal connection, such as a hole in the heart or a connection between major blood vessels that allows blood to bypass the heart. Congestion can also be the result of an obstruction in blood flow on the left side of the heart that causes blood to back up in the vessels returning blood from the lungs.

  • Blue Skin

Some CHDs result in an inadequate amount of oxygen in the blood, which can cause the baby’s skin to have a bluish tint, especially in the lips, tongue, fingernails and toenails—called cyanosis. Cyanosis can result from an obstruction of blood flow to the lungs or a hole within the heart that allows oxygen-poor blood to flow from the right side to the left side and out to the body. It can also be related to other heart issues, including an abnormal positioning (transposition) of the arteries leaving the heart.

  • Failure to Thrive

Another result of inadequate oxygen in the blood is that an infant may lose weight or not gain enough, or may take longer to reach developmental milestones. These symptoms can result directly from the body not receiving enough oxygen to thrive, or they may be an indirect consequence of the infant tiring during feeding because of a lack of oxygen and, as a result, not receiving enough nutrients.

  • Excessive Sweating

Many CHDs can cause excess blood flow through the lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. The increase in exertion required to breathe can, in turn, result in excess sweating. Because feeding is a common form of activity in babies, this excess sweating is often closely associated with feeding, though any activity that causes an increase in the infant’s breathing rate can also cause increased sweat production. Excess blood flow to the lungs can also accelerate the infant’s metabolism, a side effect of which is increased sweating.

If you notice any of these signs in your baby or child, call your doctor right away. If your doctor notices these signs, you may be referred to a pediatric cardiologist.

About Dr. Rodriguez

Fred Rodriguez, MDFred Rodriguez, MD, is a pediatric cardiologist who practices pediatric cardiology at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center and adult congenital heart disease at the Emory Clinic and Emory University Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez earned his medical degree from the Louisiana State University at New Orleans School of Medicine, where he also completed his combined residency in both internal medicine and pediatrics. Following his residency, he completed a cardiology fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, with additional training in adult congenital heart disease. He is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric cardiology and internal medicine.

About the Congenital Heart Center of Georgia

The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Healthcare. The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a comprehensive program for children and adults with congenital heart disease that provides a continuum of lifesaving care from before birth through adulthood. It is the first comprehensive congenital heart disease program in the South and one of the largest in the country. The program is led by Emory Healthcare cardiologist Wendy Book, MD, Robert Campbell, MD, chief of cardiac services and director of cardiology at Children’s Sibley Heart Center, and Brian Kogon, MD, chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. To schedule an appointment, please call 404-778-7777.

Related Links

Tasty, Heart Healthy Summer Breakfast recipe!

struedel1Grab some healthy summer fruits and mix up a heart healthy summer breakfast muffin that your family will love! This fat – free streusel muffin recipe is delicious and filling. Try it out to add some spice to your summer meals!

Fat – Free Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all –purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • ½ cup blueberries or diced apples

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the yogurt and milk, blending just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in fruit. Fill lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups ½ full with batter. Place 1 teaspoon of cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of each, and add batter to fill the cups ¾ full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until well browned. Serve warm.

*Makes 12 muffins

Nutritional Information

  • Calories – 138
  • Fat – > 1 gram
  • Cholesterol – < 1 milligram
  • Sodium – 230 milligrams

This heart healthy summer recipe will fill you up and give you the energy to attack all your fun summer activities!

The Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening, preventing and treating heart disease in women. Take the online heart disease risk assessment quiz to see if you are at risk for heart disease and if so, schedule your Cardiac Screening today to get individualed action plan for ensuring your heart is ready for the fun of summer! Call 404-778-7777 to learn more.

Heart Disease Screening

About Dr. Shirazi

Farheen Shirazi, MDFarheen Shirazi, MD is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Shirazi completed medical school at Morehouse School of Medicine before completing her internship at NYU, residency at Stanford University and fellowship at Emory University. She is passionate about teaching patients how to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke. Her practice encompasses the scope of general cardiology, with a focus on cardiovascular disease prevention and women’s health. Dr. Shirazi has published in the arena of preventive cardiology and is currently working on literature in the field of women’s cardiovascular health.

Dr. Shirazi is board certified in Internal Medicine (2009) and Cardiology. She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Heart Association, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Shirazi will see patients at Emory at East Cobb – Heart & Vascular as well as Emory Heart & Vascular Center at 1365 Clifton Road. She enjoys drawing, painting and reading classical literature in her spare time.

10 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Diet

Veggie Heart HealthyA healthy diet is one of the best ways to combat heart disease. And including healthier choices in your diet isn’t hard, since there are lots of delicious heart-healthy foods available, including whole grain breads, fruit, vegetables, fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and even chocolate. There are also some things you should avoid—or avoid too much of. Below are 10 tips to help you get on the path to a more heart-healthy diet.

  1. Eat Fish Regularly 
    Omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA) that are found naturally in fish can provide numerous cardiovascular benefits, including reducing blood triglycerides, reducing blood clotting and regulating heart rhythms.
  2. Include Lycopene-Rich Foods in Your Diet
    Lycopene is a plant nutrient that has been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. There is lots of lycopene in tomato products (particularly cooked ones), pink grapefruit and watermelon.
  3. Eat the Right Kinds of Fat
    Aim for a balance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Research indicates that both types have benefits, including reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Try choosing extra virgin olive oil or canola oil instead of butter or margarine, and natural peanut butter rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Also, almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are good sources of healthy fat and make for easy snacks.
  4. Eat Plenty of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
    In general, richly colored fruits and vegetables contain lots of helpful plant nutrients, and many have been shown to help protect against heart disease, among other health conditions.
  5. Include Plenty of Fiber in Your Diet
    A diet high in both soluble and insoluble fiber can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber, in particular, helps lower cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, oat bran, fruits (such as apples, pears, citrus fruits and berries), vegetables, (like carrots, cabbage and sweet potatoes) and legumes. Insoluble fiber is found in grain products like whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas.
  6. Eat Chocolate—in Moderation
    Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and bittersweet chocolate all contain a unique kind of saturated fat — stearic acid — that doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels, and dark chocolate is also a good source of substances called antioxidants that are helpful in combating heart disease and other health problems. But chocolate also contains added sugars and caffeine , which should be consumed in limited portions (see below), so don’t eat too much.
  7. Try the DASH Eating Plan
    “DASH” stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” The DASH diet is low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. In addition to helping with hypertension, the DASH diet may also help lower cholesterol. Learn more about the DASH Eating Plan.
  8. Reduce Salt
    Salt makes the body retain fluid, which can strain the heart. This can lead to increased blood pressure and added burden on your heart muscle. Try replacing added salt in your diet with fresh or dried herbs, lemon, onion or no-salt seasonings. Get ideas for other tasty salt substitutes.
  9. Limit Caffeine
    While there isn’t a consensus on the effects coffee can have on your heart, many experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to the equivalent of no more than three or four cups of coffee a day. But remember that other foods and drinks, such as tea, chocolate and many soft drinks, also contain caffeine and factor these into your daily total as well.
  10. Curb Added Sugars
    More than sugars found naturally in fruit and dairy products, added sugars are associated with elevated bad cholesterol and triglycerides and low good cholesterol, which increase the risk of heart disease.

If you are a woman who thinks you may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease, call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment with an Emory Women’s Heart Center specialist.

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis Cutchins, MDAlexis Cutchins, MD is an 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.

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 Price 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.

Related Links

Looking for a Great Heart Healthy Recipe for Your Spring BBQ? We Can Help!

Red Bean SaladIt is spring time and that means it is time to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather! Enjoy this tasty heart healthy recipe provided by the Emory Women’s Heart Center to to add some variety to your spring/summer cookout.

Red Bean Salsa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 15.5 ounce can red beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Lime slices (optional)

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour to blend flavors. Garnish with lime slices if desired.

The Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening, preventing and treating heart disease in women. Take the online heart disease risk assessment quiz to see if you are at risk for heart disease and if so, schedule your Cardiac Screening today to get individualed action plan for ensuring your heart is ready for the fun of summer! Call 404-778-7777 to learn more.

Heart Disease Screening

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis Cutchins, MDDr. Alexis 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.

Related Links

Emory Women’s Heart Center
Quiz – find out if you are at risk for heart disease
Eat Heart Healthy – Mediterranean Salmon Recipe via Dr. Cutchins
What is Congestive Heart Failure? Can I Prevent It?
Emory Healthcare Healthy Recipes Pinterest Board

Congenital Heart Defects in Newborns

newbornCongenital heart defects (CHDs) are abnormalities present at birth that can affect the structure and function of the heart. Approximately 1% of infants born in the United States have CHDs. A baby’s heart begins to develop at conception, but is completely formed by eight weeks into the pregnancy. CHDs occur during this crucial first eight weeks of the baby’s development. Specific steps must take place in order for the heart to form correctly. Often, CHDs are a result of one of these crucial steps not happening at the right time, leaving a hole where a dividing wall should have formed or a single blood vessel where two ought to be, for example.

Some CHDs are known to be associated with genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, but the cause of most CHDs is unknown. In these cases, doctors generally assume the cause is some mixture of environmental and inherited (genetic) factors.

Common types of congenital heart defects, which can affect any part of the heart or its surrounding structures, include:

While CHDs sometimes go undiagnosed for years — even into adulthood — others cause serious symptoms at birth, requiring the infant to be placed in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for immediate evaluation by a cardiologist.

Today there are more treatment options for CHDs than ever before, and most defects are treated successfully. If you suspect that your child has a heart defect, the sooner you get medical attention, the better chance your child will have of making the fullest recovery possible.

About Dr. Campbell

Robert Campbell, MD, is chief of cardiac services and director of cardiology at Children’s Sibley Heart Center. Dr. Campbell earned his medical degree from Emory University, where he also completed a residency in pediatrics. He completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

About the Congenital Heart Center of Georgia

The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Healthcare. The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a comprehensive program for children and adults with congenital heart disease that provides a continuum of lifesaving care from before birth through adulthood. It is the first comprehensive congenital heart disease program in the South and one of the largest in the country. The program is led by Emory Healthcare cardiologist Wendy Book, MD, Robert Campbell, MD, chief of cardiac services and director of cardiology at Children’s Sibley Heart Center, and Brian Kogon, MD, chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. To schedule an appointment, please call 404-778-7777.

Related Links

Are You Looking to Get Your Heart and Diet into Shape for Summer Swim Season?

Apple HeartIf so, Emory Women’s Heart Center nurse practitioner, Christine Nell – Dybdahl NP-C, MPH, MSN, has some recommendations to help you shape up your heart for the summer and for life. Chris recommends patients follow the 2011 Heart Disease Prevention Guidelines for Women and follow a Mediterranean style heart healthy lifestyle habits. Chris notes that many of her female clients are unaware of the specific dietary intake recommendations for women.

Suggestions based on a 2000 calorie diet per day.

  • Load up on Fruits and vegetables!
  • Fruits and vegetables should visually take up half of your plate.
  • You should aim for at least 4 ½ cups a day of nonstarchy, fruits and vegetables.
  • When possible, make the veggie to fruit ratio be greater than two to one.
  • Examples of serving size are:

½ cup juice
1 small fruit
¼ cup dried no sugar added fruit
1 cup raw veggie
½ cup cooked veggie

Make sure to consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids!

  • We recommend women should consume (preferably fatty fish), at least two times a week.
  • Daily average intake of omega 3’s should be approximately 1,000 mg.
  • Examples of serving size is:

A single serving of fish is 3 ½ ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards.

  • One serving of salmon has between 1,000 to 1,800mg of omega 3 fatty acids.

Nuts, legumes, and seeds should be eaten at least four times a week.

  • Examples of servings size:

1 ½ ounces nuts (A combo of walnuts and almonds is great)
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
½ cup legumes or beans
½ ounce of seeds

Eat your Fiber!

  • Fiber should be around 30 grams per day.
  • Consumer soluble fibers to help with lowering blood cholesterol.
  • Example:

One cup of cooked winter squash or pinto beans equals 4 grams of soluble fiber.

Don’t forget your whole grains!

  • Avoid refined grain products.
  • Consume approximately 3 whole grain servings per day.
  • Examples:

Two slices of whole wheat bread equals 2 grams of soluble fiber.
½ cup of brown rice

Limit sugar, alcohol, sodium, fat, and cholesterol intake.

  • Added sugars should be limited to six teaspoons or 24 grams per day.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than one serving per day.
  • Examples:

4 ounces of wine
12 ounce beer
1.5 ounce of 80-proof spirits

  • Limit sodium to fewer than 1,500mg daily.

Remember that a teaspoon is equal to about 2400mg/day.
Did you know that most of the sodium consumed in the American diet comes from breads?

  • Limit saturated fat to fewer than 7% of your total energy intake.

This is estimated to be less than 15 grams per day.
This should be lowered to 5% if you have high blood cholesterol.

  • Limit cholesterol intake to under 150mg/day.

The average egg yolk has about 180mg of cholesterol.

  • Avoid trans-fatty acids.

Avoid any foods that have the ingredient “hydrogenated”.

Make time during the busy summer season to exercise! In addition to these heart healthy dietary recommendations, be sure to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can be accomplished in at least 10 minute increments such as with brisk walking during a break at work.

For weight loss, this recommendation should be increased to 60-90 minutes per day. Additionally, for weight loss, many women should consider reducing their calorie intake to about 1,200-1,500 calories per day. It is also helpful to do at least 2 days per week of muscle strengthening activities.

Take the heart disease risk assessment quiz to determine if you are at risk for heart disease!

To get a full assessment of your heart health, schedule your heart screening today:

Heart Disease Screening

References

  • Mosca, et al. AHA Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women. JACC 2011:57; 1404-1423.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center

Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening, preventing and treating heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned cardiologist Gina Lundberg, MD provides comprehensive cardiac risk assessment and screenings for patients at risk for heart disease as well as full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease care.

Christine Nell – Dybdahl, NP – C, MPH, MSN has been a registered nurse since 1994 and a nurse practitioner since 1998. She brings to the practice over 20 years of cardiology experience. She is the clinical nurse director for Emory’s Center for Heart Disease Prevention and is active with the Emory’s Women’s Heart Program. She received her BSN from Kent State University and her dual
master degrees from Emory University in nursing (board certified family nurse practitioner) and public health (health education and promotion). Her interests include cardiovascular disease prevention, heart healthy life style changes, cholesterol abnormalities, women’s heart care, and family-involved chronic heart disease management. Chris is a member of the American College of Cardiology, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She makes it a priority to connect interested patients and researchers at Emory. She is the founder and clinical leader of the Women Living with Angina Support Group. She has co-authored several journal articles and has spoken at many conferences on a wide variety of topics

Related Links

Emory Women’s Heart Center
Quiz – Are you at risk for heart disease?
Top Symptoms of Heart Attacks in Women
Eat Heart Healthy – Mediterranean Salmon Recipe via Dr. Cutchins

What Is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital Heart GraphicCongenital heart disease, or CHD, is a broad term that covers a range of conditions present at the time of birth that can affect the structure and function of the heart. CHD is the most common type of birth defect, but thanks to a number of advances in medical and surgical treatment, more and more children with CHD are surviving into adulthood. In fact, according to the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), there are about one million adults living with CHDs in the U.S.

Some of the most common conditions that cause congenital heart disease include:

As children with CHDs grow into adults, they need ongoing specialty cardiac care. Yet, this high-risk group often experiences lapses in cardiac care due to the perception that they are “fixed” or because they aren’t experiencing symptoms. Moreover, CHDs are so closely associated with infancy and childhood that people often think the conditions just don’t affect adults.

The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia was created to bridge the gap between pediatric and adult care for people with CHDs. If you were born with a CHD and haven’t been evaluated regularly by a cardiologist, you were recently diagnosed with a CHD or you have a child who will be transitioning into adult care in the near future, learn more about the Congenital Heart Center of Georgia and make an appointment today.

About Dr. Book

Wendy Book, MDWendy Book, MD , is the director of the Emory Adult Congenital Heart Center. She has 15 years of experience in adult congenital heart disease, including clinical and research experience. She has a background in heart failure, transplantation and pulmonary hypertension, which complement skills of other Emory Adult Congenital Heart Center physicians. She is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology.

About the Congenital Heart Center of Georgia

The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Healthcare. The Congenital Heart Center of Georgia is a comprehensive program for children and adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) that provides a continuum of lifesaving care from before birth through adulthood. It is the first comprehensive CHD program in the South and one of the largest in the country. The program is led by Emory Healthcare cardiologist Wendy Book, MD, along with Robert Campbell, MD, chief of cardiac services and director of cardiology at Children’s Sibley Heart Center. To schedule an appointment please call 404-778-7777.

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