Posts Tagged ‘heart disease risk’

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.

Reversing Heart Disease – Is it Possible?

Did you know that in women, heart disease takes more lives than every type of cancer combined? The good news is that in the last 20 years deaths due to heart disease have declined thanks to advances in medicine as well as education of the population.

In the past, heart disease was thought to be just a “man’s disease,” but surprisingly more women currently die from cardiovascular disease than men. Therefore, it is important to take action to prevent and potentially reverse heart disease. If you think you may be at risk, schedule your heart disease screening today.

There are various things you can do to reverse heart disease and if action is taken quickly, heart disease symptoms can be reduced in a very short period of time.

  • Evaluate your diet to determine if the foods you are eating are causing plaque build up. If you stop consuming foods that are contributing the plaque build up, your arteries will have a better chance to recover. A plant based diet incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains can likely help to reverse heart disease.
    • If this diet is too restrictive, or you are just looking to prevent heart disease, the USDA ‘s new “MyPlate” program is a good option. It suggests filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and the other half is split between lean proteins and good carbs, like brown rice or quinoa. In addition, the program says to:
      • Reduce saturated fat to less than 7% of your daily total calories
      • Choose healthier fats, like from salmon, omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, avocados and olives
    • This will ensure that you feel better, no matter how old or how sick you may have felt before, in a more sustainable way.
  • Exercise – If you really want to reverse heart disease, you have to start working exercise into your daily routine. If you have never exercised, you can start with as little as 15 minutes a day and work your way up to 30 minutes a day. If you don’t have time to hit the gym each day, work 30 minutes into your daily routine. Walk your child to school, take the stairs at work, go for a 15-minute walk at lunch, or mow your lawn. These are all ways to get your heart rate up during your daily activities.
  • Relax – take time each day to totally unwind and de-stress. Turn off the computer, turn off the TV, put the kids to bed and totally relax. Stress is a big contributor to heart disease, the quicker you learn to manage your stress the quicker you will be able to reverse some of the symptoms of heart disease.

Heart Disease Screening

About Farheen Shirazi, MD

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 Resources:

What is Congestive Heart Failure? Can I Prevent It?

Heart Disease Risk QuizMore than 5 million Americans live with Congestive Heart Failure, and heart failure costs the United States more than $32 billion dollars each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Congestive heart failure affects all ages including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly, and is equally prevalent among women and men. There are two conditions that cause congestive heart failure; systolic dysfunction and diastolic dysfunction. Systolic dysfunction is when the heart muscle becomes weak and cannot pump blood adequately. Diastolic dysfunction is when the heart muscle becomes very thick and stiff making it difficult for the heart to fill with blood (often a result of poorly controlled high blood pressure and a frequent causes of heart failure hospital admissions in women).

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood to all the organs and tissues of the body (either because it is too weak or because it is not filling well enough). Instead of going where it needs to go, fluid can back up into different organs in the body. This fluid “congestion” is what gives this condition its name. Initial symptoms of congestive heart failure are swelling, heavy breathing and fatigue.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

Some examples of the effect congestive heart failure can have on different organs of the body are:

  • The lungs can become congested – called a pulmonary edema – which can lead to breathing problems, a decreased ability to exercise, and fatigue.
  • Fluid can build up in the liver, which decreases its ability to get rid of the body’s toxins and create important proteins needed to function.
  • The Gastro-intestinal tract can be affected and may become less likely to absorb much-needed nutrients and medicines.
  • Fluid also commonly swells up in the ankles, feet, legs and arms – called edema.
  • Eventually, if untreated, all parts of the body can be negatively affected.

The good news is that congestive heart failure can be prevented!

Preventing Congestive Heart Failure

  • Regularly monitor your blood pressure and if you are diagnosed with hypertension work with your physician to develop the best approach to lower it. Blood pressure control is the best way to stop congestive heart failure from occurring
  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight (if you are overweight)
  • Exercise more often – it is recommended to exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week in order to keep your heart healthy and reduce risk of developing coronary artery disease
  • Surgery, when appropriate, for those patients with congestive heart failure due to valvular disease.
  • Medication – work with your Emory Women’s Heart Center specialist to develop the best treatment plan for you if you have had a heart attack or have high blood pressure. This will ensure your heart maintains the best condition possible as you move forward.

 

Heart Disease Screening

Heart disease may be prevented if you are motivated to take the necessary steps to protect your heart! Schedule your comprehensive cardiovascular screening today to assess your risk for heart disease and to develop your personalized prevention plan.

Take action today to potentially save a life!

Related Resources:

 

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.

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.

 

About Dr. Cutchins

Dr. Alexis CutchinsDr. 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.

New Research Shows Calcium Supplements May Be Dangerous to a Man’s Heart

Calcium Supplements Man Heart Disease StrokeA recent study by the National Cancer Institute and other researchers showed that men who consumed more than 1,000 mg of calcium a day experienced a higher risk of death from heart disease and stroke after the 12 year study period.

Emory Healthcare and Saint Joseph’s Hospital cardiologist Gina Lundberg, MD providers her recommendations to her patients about calcium supplements. She recommends that her patients eat foods high in calcium such as skim milk and Greek yogurt and avoid the supplements.

Read the full USA Today article to find out more recommendations about how to protect your heart in the most appropriate ways.

What Kind of Shape Your Heart Is In?

Do you know what kind of shape your heart is in? Knowing the risk factors for heart disease and your level of risk can help you  act to reduce your heart disease risk level by as much as 80%.

Watch this Fox 5 Interview with Emory Heart & Vascular Center cardiologist, Dr. Laurence Sperling as he gives you tips on how to make sure you keep your heart in top shape.

Quit Smoking to Save Your Life

You may have noticed we’ve been featuring a variety of short interviews with our doctors from the Emory Heart & Vascular Center and Fox 5 News. These interviews have touched on topics ranging from a possible connection between heart surgery and depression to knowing the key numbers that most impact your heart.

In our next of such posts, Dr. Angel Leon, Chief of Cardiology at Emory University Hospital Midtown, talks about the importance of quitting smoking to save your heart from severe damage. In this Fox 5 Atlanta news report, Dr. Leon urged people to quit, even if you have tried to quit before and were unsuccessful – the less you smoke the better off you are. He provides several resources you can use to help you quit. View the entire news piece and if you are a smoker. Quit today! It could save your life!

Dr. Angel LeonAbout Angel Leon, MD:
Dr. Leon is a Professor of Medicine and the Chief of Cardiology at Emory University Midtown. His specialties include electrophysiology, cardiology, and internal medicine, and his areas of clinical interest include arrhythmia ablation, electrophysiology lab, and pacemaker. Dr. Leon holds organizational leadership memberships with the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, and he’s been practicing with Emory since 1991.