Posts Tagged ‘female heart disease’

Women & Heart Disease Live Chat- February 23, 2016

women-hrt-disease260x200Heart disease kills 6 times more women than breast cancer each year, making it the number one killer of women.

Many people consider heart disease to be a predominantly male-oriented condition. However, heart disease is the number one killer in women and affects one out of every three in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease occurs when fatty build-up in your coronary arteries, called plaque, prevents blood flow that’s needed to provide oxygen to your heart. When the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced, or completely cut off, a heart attack occurs.

The Emory Women’s Heart Center is dedicated to screening, diagnosing, treating and preventing heart disease in Atlanta’s women. We’re thankful the awareness about heart disease, and the unique challenges faced by women, continues to be on the rise. The most important weapon against heart disease is awareness. Women need to research their family history and take time to educate themselves on not only the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease, but preventive medicine as well.

How can you educate yourself? Join Emory Women’s Heart Center physician, M. Carolina C Gongora, M.D., on Tuesday, February 23 at 12pm EST for an online web chat on women and heart disease. She will be available to answer your questions such as: unique challenges women face specific to heart disease, what women can do to prevent heart disease, the importance of getting treatment right away and the research underway to combat heart disease in women. Register for this live chat.

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Takeaways from Dr. Cutchins’ Chat on Heart Disease in Women

Heart Disease PreventionThank you for attending the live chat on women and heart disease on Tuesday, February 11. We had a great discussion, so thank you all who posed questions. We were thrilled with the number of people who were able to register and participate in the chat. (You can check out the transcript here). We hope this means the word is spreading that heart disease is the number one killer of women and in many cases it is preventable if we take action.

The response was so great that we had a few questions we were not able to answer during the chat so we will answer them below for your reference.

Kim – Do you have advice for how we handle ER/EC encounters and successfully get the ER/EC doc/ staff to acknowledge active Heart Disease in the pre-menopausal woman?? With newer diagnoses such as coronary endothelial dysfunction/severe coronary vasospasms for me diastolic CHF due to the preceding perhaps advice on how to navigate our local healthcare systems when we cannot get to Emory. Are these disorders and often the testing that goes along with them that is often NORMAL, are they becoming more well-versed to the medical establishments or not?

Dr. Alexis Cutchins

Dr. Cutchins: 

Kim – This is a very good question but not so easy to answer. The Emory Women’s Heart Center is working hard on trying to educate physicians in our communities about heart disease in women. We are stressing to these physicians that heart disease can exist with negative ED test results. That said, when a woman presents to the ED with symptoms the physicians are doing their best to make sure there is nothing acute or life threatening going on with the patient. If all ED tests are normal and the patient is still concerned, the patient should follow up afterwards with a cardiologist who specializes in women with heart disease. All of the diseases you have described above are real and should be taken seriously. We have multiple treatment options for patients who fall into those categories. To find out more information you can visit emoryhealthcare.org/womensheart.

Tonia – Recently diagnosed with CHF- should I be concerned about my heart murmur?

Dr. Alexis CutchinsDr. Cutchins: 

Hi Tonia. Although I can’t speak to your condition without seeing you in person, I can tell you that in general, it’s not uncommon for patients with CHF (congestive heart failure) to have heart murmurs. Typically, I recommend patients speak to their physician and ask their physician(s) to perform an echo (heart ultrasound) if it has not been imaged already.

A heart murmur could be caused from any number of factors including:

  • Increased flow across a heart valve
  • Leaking of a heart valve
  • Tightening of a heart valve.

Stay in close connection with your cardiologist to evaluate your case. If you need a cardiologist who specializes in heart disease and women, you can choose an Emory Women’s Heart Center physician by calling 404-778-7777 or visiting emoryhealthcare.org/womensheart.

Flora – I have atrial fibrillation (AF) will I get better?

Dr. Alexis CutchinsDr. Cutchins:

Hi Flora. I can’t speak to your condition without seeing you in person, but for many people, atrial fibrillation can get better. Some people have atrial fibrillation that comes and goes and some are in AF all the time. Typically, depending on a patient’s symptoms while they are in AF there are a variety of treatment options available ranging from medications to surgical procedures. How an individual feels with the diagnosis can vary so it is important to visit your cardiologist and discuss your particular case in person.

Imelda – Is taking baby aspirin now is safe?

Dr. Alexis Cutchins

Dr. Cutchins:

Like most medication, taking baby aspirin can provide side effects and is risky in some populations of people. In some cases it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. In certain populations, such as women over the age of 65, the benefit outweighs the risk. For women over 65 who are at risk for heart disease and have well controlled blood pressure, a baby aspirin is recommended to decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack. Also women of any age with diabetes or diagnosed coronary artery disease, who do not have a contraindication, typically should take a daily baby aspirin. We always recommend to patients that they consult with their physician prior to taking any new medication to make sure it does not interact with any other medication the patient may be taking.

Imelda – Is fish oil and vitamin E is good for the heart?

Dr. Alexis CutchinsDr. Cutchins:

Fish oil is useful for women with high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. The recommendation is to take 1800mg/day of “EPA” which should be found on the bottle. Also fatty fish such as salmon, is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids that are protective. For more information on how fish oil can improve your heart & brain health please visit this blog on fish oil, posted last week on the Emory Advancing your Health Blog.

I am not as familiar with the benefits and risks associated with taking Vitamin E but it is not specifically recommended for women by the American Heart Association.

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

About Dr. Cutchins
Alexis 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.

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Heart Disease is Not Just a “Man’s Disease”

Heart Disease PreventionHeart disease is often considered “a man’s disease” so you may be surprised to learn that over 8.6 million women worldwide die from heart disease each year. This accounts for over 1/3 of all deaths in women. In fact, heart disease kills 6 times more women each year compared to breast cancer.*

Interesting Facts on Heart Disease in Women Vs. Men:

  • Women often times wait longer than men to go to an emergency room for treatment while having a heart attack.
  • Physicians, not specifically trained in women and heart disease, some times have a harder time diagnosing heart attacks in women because of the differences in presentation of symptoms.
  • Women’s hearts respond better than men’s hearts to healthy changes in lifestyle.
  • Within a year after a heart attack, 38% of women will die, compared to 25% of men.
  • Women are more than 2 times more likely to die after bypass surgery then men.

Women with Diabetes are Four Times More Likely to Develop Heart Disease

A new research study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine demonstrated that women under 60 who have diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop coronary artery disease compared to those without diabetes. This news is especially important as none of the subjects had heart disease at the time of their enrollment.

In addition, we know that women under the age of 60 tend to have lower rates of heart disease compared to their male counterparts. However, this study shows that the presence of diabetes eliminated that gender disparity. These findings highlight the need for aggressive screening and management of other risk factors for coronary heart disease among younger diabetic women.

It is imperative to recognize that heart disease can present differently in women compared to men. Women often wait longer to get help and this can lead to irreversible damage to the heart muscle.

The most common symptoms of heart disease in women are :

  1. Chest Pain
  2. Pain in the back, neck, arms or jaw
  3. Upper abdominal pain
  4. Nausea or lightheadedness
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Sweating
  7. Fatigue

If you suspect you have heart disease, visit your physician to be screened. You can check out the Emory Women’s Heart Center for details on screening. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, get help immediately. Remember, every minute makes a difference and could save your life.

About Dr. Isiadinso
Ijeoma Isiadinso, M.D.Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD MPH is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Isiadinso completed her undergraduate studies at Binghamton University in New York majoring in biology and sociology. She then pursued a joint degree in medicine and public health at MCP Hahnemann (Drexel University) School of Medicine. Dr. Isiadinso completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Cardiology at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. She served as Chief Fellow during her final year of her cardiology fellowship.

Her commitment to public health has led to her involvement in several projects focused on heart disease and diabetes. She has participated in research projects with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and presented her work at national conferences. 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 has served as the health advisor to nonprofit organizations. She has participated in panel discussions at high schools, universities, and with the Black Entertainment Television Foundation.

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.

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

We ♥ Wine – A Local Event Raises Awareness on Women’s Heart Disease

Emory Johns Creek Women's Heart Center Event

Dr. Gina Lundberg chats with guests at a presentation on the new Emory Women’s Heart Center.

Gina Price Lundberg, MD, Clinical Director of Emory Women’s Heart Center recently spoke to the group of almost 30 guests about women’s heart disease—which is now the leading cause of death and disability in women in the U.S.—to residents and members of St Ives Country Club at a private wine tasting event. The reason, Lundberg explains, is that women’s heart disease symptoms can be dramatically different from men’s—and alarmingly subtle. In some cases, Lundberg explains, women who were having heart attacks thought they merely had a bad case of the flu.

Hence the creation of the Emory Women’s Heart Center, which originated at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and has now expanded to locations in Johns Creek, Midtown and East Cobb. With the help of Dr. Lundberg, the Emory Johns Creek Hospital team introduced the new  Emory Women’s Heart Center at the event, where Johns Creek Wine & Crystal provided wine service. On the menu were a trio of wines from Ehler’s Estates, a California winery owned by the non-profit Leducq Foundation, which awards more than $30 million annually to directly support international cardiovascular research. One of the cabernets served was appropriately labeled One Twenty Over Eighty.

Additional locations are opening soon in Decatur and on Clifton Road. The mission of the Women’s Heart Center, she says, is to educate women as well as their physicians about the differences in women’s cardiac symptoms and risk factors. Emory Women’s Heart Center also offers an innovative program of one-on-one screenings that are tailored to each woman and take about two hours to complete. Lundberg says these screenings are designed for women who think they may be at higher risk but are not currently under the care of a cardiologist. “If you’ve already had a heart attack or are currently seeing a cardiologist, continue long term follow up for risk reduction,” she advises.

Laboratory and nursing staff from Emory Johns Creek hospital provided free blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol screenings. Jeffery Hershey, MD, of Emory Heart and Vascular at Johns Creek, used the screening results to calculate preliminary risk scores for the guests.

For more information about Emory Women’s Heart Center, visit emoryhealthcare.org/womensheart. To schedule an appointment, please call 404-778-7777.

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Understanding Heart Disease in Women

Dr. Farheen Shirazi

Dr. Farheen Shirazi

Dr. Farheen Shirazi, Emory Heart & Vascular Center cardiologist, recently conducted a live web chat on the topic of women and heart disease. During the chat, Dr. Shirazi provided participants with information ranging from how women can prevent heart disease to the importance of getting treatment right away, and details on the latest research underway to combat heart disease in women.

One of our attendees in Tuesday’s chat asked Dr. Shirazi, “What is the best diet for patients with heart disease?” Dr. Shirazi noted that the most effective diet will depend on each person’s specific risk factors for heart disease, but in general, the most recent evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet is heart healthy. Dr. Shirazi explained that the Mediterranean Diet is rich in lean protein (poultry), good fats (olive oil) and omega-3s (fatty fish), and low in saturated fats and bad carbohydrates. And like any healthy diet, the Mediterranean Diet is low in sodium and loaded with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Another great question fielded by Dr. Shirazi in Tuesday’s live chat was related to symptoms and warning signs of heart disease, “I have read that symptoms of coronary heart disease are different in woman than in men, but when symptoms present, at what point should you seek medical attention? I sometimes feel chest discomfort, even sharp pains, but how will I know if it’s more serious than say stress for example?” Dr. Shirazi says patients should trust their instincts if something doesn’t “feel right,” in which case, Dr. Shirazi recommends seeing a medical professional. “A provider will be able to evaluate your symptoms and do appropriate screening. If you’re having any symptoms such as: chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, excessive fatigue, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or abdominal pain (to list a few), you should see your primary care physician. Your cardiologist will then be able to further assess your risk for heart disease,” she says.

In addition to the questions above, Dr. Shirazi answered questions related to cholesterol levels, hormone replacement therapy, and several other topics specific to heart disease in women. Most importantly, though, she reminded participants to take action immediately if they are at risk for, or experiencing symptoms of, heart disease.

For more information, check out the Women and Heart Disease chat transcript.

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