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Heart & Vascular
Emory Participates in 2014 Metro Atlanta Heart Walk
Sep 29, 2014 By Emory Healthcare

Emory Atlanta Heart WalkEmory Healthcare once again joined the American Heart Association (AHA) in raising awareness of heart disease, aka “the silent killer,” at the 2014 Metro Atlanta Heart Walk on Sept. 20. The non-competitive, three-mile walk raises funds to help fight America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, heart and stroke, through corporate, survivor, and community teams who encourage others to donate to the cause. The Metro Atlanta Heart Walk is deeply embedded within Emory Healthcare culture. Every year, hundreds of Emory Healthcare employees sign-up to lead teams, raise money and walk to benefit initiatives driven by the AHA. More than 1250 Emory Healthcare employees walked among the 15,000 registrants, and raised $225,000, the most of any corporate sponsor in Georgia. The AHA’s work in research and prevention aligns with the Emory Healthcare’s mission to educate health professionals [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Is Jaw Pain a Warning Sign of a Heart Attack?
Sep 8, 2014 By Alexis Cutchins, M.D.

jaw painWhile chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women, it may not be the most prominent one. This is especially true for women, who are more likely than men to experience a heart attack without any chest pain at all. However, women are also more likely than men to experience other, less common symptoms, including jaw pain. Heart attacks occur when oxygen-rich blood is unable to flow through the arteries and into the heart muscle. When this happens, a distress signal is sent to the spinal column through the nerves connected to the heart. Many nerves meet in the same location on the spine, including those coming from the jaw. As a result, when the signals from the heart reach the brain, sometimes the brain misinterprets the source of the original signal, and instead of alerting the body about the danger by sending pain signals to the heart, it sends [...]

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Heart & Vascular
What Is Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and Does It Require Treatment?
Sep 2, 2014 By David DeLurgio, MD

SVT heartSupraventricular tachycardia (SVT), also referred to as paroxysmal SVT or PSVT, is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) in which the heart beats too fast. When the heart beats too fast, it may not function effectively, resulting in less oxygen-rich blood reaching the tissues throughout the body. SVT often starts and ends suddenly, and may not be associated with any symptoms. However, many people do experience symptoms as a result of SVT, including palpitations (rapid, noticeable heartbeats), dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and chest pain (angina). In most cases, SVT occurs because of a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system. The heart is made up of two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). In a normal heartbeat, an electrical impulse originates from an area in the right atrium called the sinus node. This impulse travels first to the [...]

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Heart & Vascular
What Is Bradycardia and Why Does It Occur?
Aug 26, 2014 By Anshul M. Patel, MD

bradycardiaBradycardia is the medical term for a heart rate that is too slow — specifically, a heart rate less than 60 beats per minute in adults. However, under some circumstances, a heart rate less than 60 beats per minute is perfectly healthy and not a cause for intervention. For instance, a resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute in a person who is physically fit may be normal, and it can be normal for the heart rate to dip below 60 beats per minute in some older adults and in anyone during sleep. The heart consists of two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). In a normal heartbeat, an electrical impulse originates from an area in the right atrium called the sinus node. This impulse travels first to the atria, causing them to contract and pump blood into the ventricles. The electrical impulse then continues along its circuit to the ventricles, signaling [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Can the Right Diet Help Prevent Heart Disease?
Aug 20, 2014 By Susmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS, FACC, FAHA

Healthy DietThe simple answer is yes. A proper diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk for heart disease. But changing entrenched eating habits can be difficult, and it can help to have a deeper understanding of the roles various nutritional components play in the function of your heart and circulatory system. Fats Fats serve a number of essential roles within your body, such as supporting cell growth, providing energy, helping with nutrient absorption and assisting in the production of certain hormones. But not all fats are the same, and it’s important to choose the right kinds to include in your diet. In general, saturated fats and trans fats increase the bad type of cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. These fats tend to be solid at room temperature, such as butter. Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), on the other hand, can help lower the amount of LDL [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Is a Fast Heart Rate Dangerous?
Aug 18, 2014 By Dr. El-Chami

TachycardiaTachycardia is a general term used to describe a rapid heartbeat. In some instances, tachycardia is the body’s normal reaction to situations that cause increased levels of adrenaline and generally poses little or no health risk. However, other types of tachycardia can be more serious. When the heart beats significantly faster than normal, it can be less effective in providing oxygen-rich blood to tissues throughout the body. Though tachycardia sometimes goes unnoticed, it many cases the reduction in oxygen supply is associated with a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness and chest pain. Some types of tachycardia can even lead to a heart attack or stroke. Tachycardia can sometimes be reversed with lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol or caffeine consumption, controlling stress or making adjustments to your medication [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Are Heart Palpitations Cause for Concern?
Aug 11, 2014 By Michael Hoskins, MD

Heart BeatPalpitations are rapid, noticeable heartbeats that may be felt in the chest, back or throat. Often, they are associated with a fluttering sensation in the chest or that of the heart skipping a beat. They can occur following exertion or while you are at rest. Most of the time, palpitations are not a sign of a serious health condition. For instance, caffeine and nicotine consumption can cause palpitations. They can also occur as a result of stress or anxiety, vigorous exercise, a fever, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy or menopause, taking certain medications or the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine. In these cases, palpitations will generally resolve on their own or with changes in behavior — such as drinking less coffee, learning to control anxiety or making adjustments to the medications you take. But palpitations can also be an indication of underlying health [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Do All Heart Attacks Present With Chest Pain?
Jul 31, 2014 By Dr. Ijeoma Isiadinso

women heart painChest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women. However, it is important to understand that the exact nature of chest pain can be quite different in women and is often not the most prominent symptom of a heart attack. Most of us probably think of a heart attack the way it is portrayed on television and in the movies: A sudden, dramatic occurrence that causes the victim to clutch his or her chest in agony. Women, however, may report chest pressure, discomfort, fullness or a burning sensation. In addition, they often experience pain in adjacent areas, such as the upper abdomen, upper back, neck, arms and jaw. As a result of this variation of presenting symptoms, women who have complaints other than chest pain during a heart attack may be overlooked or not evaluated in a timely fashion. Women are more likely than men to have already sustained heart [...]

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Heart & Vascular
Has Your Heart Ever “Skipped a Beat”? It Was Probably a Premature Contraction
Jul 28, 2014 By Faisal Merchant, MD

Heart AtriumThe heart is made up of two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). In a normal heartbeat, an electrical impulse originates from an area in the right atrium called the sinus node. This impulse travels first to the atria, causing them to contract and pump blood into the ventricles. The electrical impulse then continues along its circuit to the ventricles, signaling them to contract and pump blood out to the lungs and the body. Sometimes, abnormal electrical signals originate from areas of the heart other than the sinus node. These extra impulses may target the atria or the ventricles, causing them to contract out of rhythm with the regular heartbeat. This type of arrhythmia is called a premature contraction. Premature contractions are common and may even go unnoticed. However, some people report a feeling of the heart skipping a beat, often followed by a [...]

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Heart & Vascular
What Is Atrial Flutter?
Jul 24, 2014 By Faisal Merchant, MD

Atrial FlutterAtrial flutter, also called “heart flutter,” is a type of arrhythmia that occurs when the upper two chambers of the heart (the atria) contract too rapidly. The first contraction in a normal heartbeat occurs in the atria. This contraction pumps the blood into the lower chambers of the heart, called the ventricles. The second contraction occurs in the ventricles and serves to pump blood out of the heart. In atrial flutter, the atria contract at an abnormally fast rate, but only about half of these contractions are followed by the second ventricular contraction. This causes the heart to work inefficiently and may result in poor blood supply to the body, including the brain and the heart muscle itself. If the heart and brain do not receive enough blood, organ failure can occur in the form of congestive heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Atrial flutter can occur on its [...]

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