High Blood Pressure

How the “Superwoman” Syndrome Impacts Heart Health

superwoman4Are you a woman who tries to do it all? Many women are busier than ever these days juggling their careers, families, children, household duties, social lives and other obligations. When we can’t do it all, many of us feel guilty that we are unable to achieve perfection and balance in our lives. At the times we are most stressed, many of us make unhealthy choices, such as leaving exercise out of our daily routine, eating unhealthy foods and not getting enough rest. Unfortunately, this “superwoman” syndrome can lead to higher blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, higher cholesterol, cancer and importantly, heart disease, which is the number one killer of women in this country.

Heart disease may be prevented and is potentially reversible in many cases, so it’s important to learn how to make the best choices for our future health.

1. Realize that it is ok to not be perfect all the time. You are not alone — ask any other woman, and most likely you will learn that she is experiencing some of the same struggles as you. When you can’t be perfect, learn to laugh through the chaos.

2. Learn stress-relieving techniques. Determine the avenue for stress relief that works best for you. For some people it is going out for a run or scheduling a girls’ night, while others may prefer some time alone. Determine which activities make you happiest and make sure to work some of these into your schedule.

3. Eat healthy foods. Food choices can dramatically impact the way you feel. Make sure to balance protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and good fats in each meal so that your body has the energy it needs to make it through the toughest days.

4. Rest. Make sure to get six to eight hours of rest each night. Although it may be hard to pack this much rest into the day with your hectic schedule, try to rest as much as possible so you are alert and more productive. When you are rested, you can accomplish more, and you feel better overall.

5. Exercise. Try to work exercise into your daily routine. Exercise has been proven to increase energy levels, lower stress and improve mood. If you don’t have time to go out for a morning run, walk up stairs, park at the back of the parking lot, do squats at your desk while on a teleconference or lift hand weights while you are waiting for your child to get ready for school.

All of the recommendations above do not have to be completed at once — at first, try taking small steps toward improving your health. If you have a high-stress lifestyle and think you may be at risk for heart disease, schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular screening at the Emory Women’s Heart Center. Emory Women’s Heart Center nurse practitioners may be able to help you craft a plan to help you reduce stress and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

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Farheen Shirazi, MDAbout Farheen Shirazi, MD

Farheen Shirazi, MD, is an 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 New York University, her residency at Stanford University and her 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 area 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 and cardiology. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Shirazi sees patients at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center at East Cobb, as well as the Emory Heart & Vascular Center at 1365 Clifton Road.

She enjoys drawing, painting and reading classical literature in her spare time.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center

The 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. Find out if you are at risk for heart disease by scheduling your comprehensive cardiac screening. Call 404-778-7777.

Related Links

Quiz: Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

Stress & Heart Disease Chat With Dr. Parashar

Keep Your Heart Healthy – Get Active!

Signs That You May Need a Cardiovascular Screening

Make a Healthy Nutrition New Year’s Resolution You Will Keep All Year Long!

Emory Explores New Treatment Option to Reduce High Blood Pressure

heart-stethoscopeAbout, 10-20 percent of high blood pressure, or hypertension, patients cannot control their symptoms with medication. A new experimental procedure, The SYMPLICITY HTN-3 Blood Pressure trail, is being conducted to help these patients drop their blood pressure an average of 30 points.

Dr. Chandan Devireddy recently reported to Fox 5 Atlanta that approximately 40 percent of people with treatment-resistant hypertension experience surges of adrenaline, signaling the kidneys to ramp up blood pressure. For these patients—who can’t control their blood pressure no matter how many medications they’re taking—Dr. Devireddy and his team are exploring a new treatment option. Because Dr. Devireddy has identified the kidneys as a potential source of the problem in treatment-resistant hypertension patients, the study will evaluate how hypertension among these patients is affected by delivering radio frequency energy to the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys. The goal of the procedure is to diminish or cease the excess adrenaline being delivered to the kidneys, thereby reducing blood pressure.

The study’s procedure, which will be conducted at Emory University Hospital Midtown, is recruiting 20 volunteers. Candidates for the study are those with long-term high blood pressure that hasn’t responded to treatment from at least three medications.

“The SYMPLICITY HTN-3 Blood Pressure study is double-blinded, so half of the volunteers will get the investigational procedure; half will get a so-called “sham” procedure. Researchers and participants won’t know who got what until it’s over,” says Dr. Devireddy.

Read more about the SYMPLICITY HTN-3 Blood Pressure trial being conducted at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

 

Related Resources

Is Your High Blood Pressure Out of Control?

High Blood Pressure Web ChatDo you have uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) and need another option for your care?

If so, the Emory Heart & Vascular Center is now enrolling patients in a study for this condition. Called the Symplicity HTN – 3 Study, this clinical research study will test the safety and effectiveness of a procedure called renal denervation using the Symplicty Catheter System as a treatment for uncontrolled hypertension. You may be eligible to participate in the research if you are between the ages of 18 and 80, you have an average systolic blood pressure (SBP) > to 160mmHg and you are taking three or more antihypertensive medications. Chandan Devireddy, MD, FACC, FSCAI is the principle investigator in the trial at Emory.

For more information about the clinical trial, please contact Emory HealthConnection 404-778-7777.

CAUTION: Investigational device. Limited by Federal (United States) law to investigational use.

If you have high blood pressure and want to learn more about what you can do to manage it, join us tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. for a chat on hypertension with Dr. Susmita Parashar. Visit Emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats to register and see a complete listing of Emory Healthcare’s live chats.

High Blood Pressure Related Resources:

Talk to an MD About Your Blood Pressure – No Appointment!

 

Do you suffer from high blood pressure and want to ask a physician questions without scheduling an appointment?
High Blood Pressure Chat

One third of people living in the United States  experiences high blood pressure. If you are one of the many who suffer from high blood pressure, join Emory Heart & Vascular Center preventive cardiologist Dr. Susmita Parashar on Tuesday, December 6 at 12:30 p.m. for an interactive online Q & A web chat. The topic is “Diagnosing, Treating and Managing High Blood Pressure.”

Dr. Parashar will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about hypertension including symptoms, diagnosis, and treating and living with hypertension. To register for the online chat, visit: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/heart or click the image to the right to be directed to the chat sign-up form.

 

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Emory Researchers Making Strides to Combat Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity & the HeartResearchers at Emory’s Heart & Vascular Center are taking strides to combat childhood obesity by being at the forefront of the formation of the Global Coalition to Combat Cardio – Metabolic Syndrome. This is a group of public health officials and medical experts from around the world led by Emory Heart & Vascular Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Omar Lattouf, MD, PhD.

Cardio-metabolic syndrome (CMS) is a cluster of diseases and risk factors—including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat—that puts a person at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The underlying causes are obesity, being overweight, physical inactivity and genetic factors.

The coalition will initially focus on an educational campaign to combat childhood obesity. Lattouf outlined plans to bring lessons about nutrition, exercise and the health hazards associated with obesity into Georgia classrooms.

Obesity & Heart Health Related Resources:

Manage Your Blood Pressure & Keep Your Heart Healthy!

Manage blood pressure heart healthDid you know that approximately 90% 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 “silent killer” as it shows no symptoms, except in its most extreme cases known as hypertensive crisis, and without knowing it, you can damage your heart, brain, eyes and kidneys.

Blood pressure measures the force pushing against your arterial walls. A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, systolic and diastolic. The systolic blood pressure is usually the higher number on the top that shows the pressure on the arteries when the heart is beating or contracting. This usually increases as you get older, but is given more attention as it can be major risk factor for heart disease for those 50 years and over. Diastolic blood pressure is the lower number at the bottom that measures the pressure on the arteries between heart beats or when the heart is resting.

It is very important to maintain your blood pressure at a healthy level to avoid severe health conditions. A normal level of blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic, so less than 120/80 mm Hg, for ages 20 and over. Keeping your blood pressure within this range can help reduce your risk of overstretched or injured blood vessel walls and blockages that cause your heart to pump harder as well as protect your body so that your tissue receives regular supplies of oxygen-rich blood.

High blood pressure is manageable and with a few lifestyle changes, you can stay healthy and avoid medication:

  1. Eating a heart-healthy diet, which includes reducing sodium as well as saturated and trans fat, cholesterol and added sugars, and eating foods high in whole grain fiber, lean protein, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  2. Being physical active and maintaining a healthy weight- 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity five times a week. Unfit or moderately fit adults had twice the risk for high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and diabetes than those who were highly fit.
  3. Managing stress
  4. Limiting alcohol- one to two drinks for men and one drink for women
  5. Avoiding tobacco smoke
  6. Regular Blood pressure screenings- the American Heart Association recommends a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every 2 years after age 20, if your blood pressure is more than 120/80 mm Hg. You can also consider home-monitoring.

Emory Healthcare is a proud sponsor of American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life Campaign that promotes My Life Check –Life’s Simple 7. Eating better is one of the 7 steps to a healthier heart.

Learn more about The Emory Heart & Vascular Center  by visiting: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/heartandvascular

About Gregory Robertson, MD:
Dr. Robertson specializes in Cardiology and Internal Medicine, and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory.  He sees patients at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.   He is very experienced in the management of hypertension and some of his other areas of clinical interest include atherosclerosis, cardiac catheterization, cardiovascular disease, valve disease, and peripheral artery disease. Dr. Robertson holds an organizational leadership membership at The American College of Cardiology, and has contributed to multiple publications in his field.