Posts Tagged ‘heart disease symptoms’

Heart Disease in Men

heartdiseas_8-5Heart disease is one of the leading health risks facing men today. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 307,225 men in 2009—that’s 1 in every 4 male deaths [1]. According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three adult men has heart disease, and men comprise more than 48 percent of the deaths that occur due to heart conditions [2].

When we think of heart disease in men, we tend to think of coronary artery disease—the narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart—but heart disease is actually an umbrella term that includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart. These conditions can include:

• Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias
• Heart valve disease
• Heart failure
• Congenital heart disease
• Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
• Aorta disease

Signs & Symptoms

You’d think that with such a serious disease you’d have significant warning signs, but you may be developing heart disease without knowing it. In fact, half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms [3]. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

The first sign of heart disease is often a heart attack or other serious event, but there are a few key signs to be aware of that can help recognize problems before they progress. In the early stages, symptoms include but are not limited to:

• Difficulty catching your breath after moderate physical exertion
• Erectile dysfunction – studies found that even minor erection difficulties could be indicators for heart disease. Erection difficulties are mainly caused by blockages in the small arteries that supply the penis. This is a good indicator of what is happening in other larger arteries in the body, including those that supply the heart.
• A sense of discomfort and/or pain in your chest
• Unexplained pain in your upper torso, neck, and jaw
• A change in your extremities (ie: pain, numbness, tingling)

Risks

Apart from the above symptoms, there are certain risk factors that can make you more prone to heart disease. The good news is that many of the major contributing factors can be controlled, including:

• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Tobacco use
• Raised blood glucose (diabetes)
• Physical inactivity
• Unhealthy diet
• Cholesterol/lipids
• Overweight and obesity

There are also other risk factors that are not modifiable such as age, gender and family history.

What You Can Do

Lots of things affect whether you get heart disease, and you control many of them. Some immediate steps you can take are the following:

Keep an eye on your blood pressure. In terms of global attributable deaths, the leading CVD risk factor is raised blood pressure (to which 13 per cent of global deaths is attributed). High blood pressure is now classified as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 in people under 60, and greater than 150/90 in people over 60.

Stop tobacco use. Tobacco use is second in factors leading to attributable deaths, with 9 percent attributed [4]. More than 20 of every 100 adult men (20.5%) smoke cigarettes compared to 15.3% of women, putting men at a higher risk [5].

Work on your weight. Many Americans are overweight. Bringing your weight to a healthy level is a plus for your heart. This can be accomplished by being physically active and enjoying healthy eating.

Maintain your social and emotional health. Cut out as much stress as possible. Find ways to ease the stress you can’t avoid. Exercise, meditation and talking to people you trust are three ideas to start with.

Limit your alcohol use. Anything more than moderate drinking is considered unhealthy. What’s moderate drinking? Up to 1 glass a day for women, and up to 2 glasses a day for men.

Lastly, consult your physician. Your doctor can help you develop healthy habits, prescribe appropriate medications, and figure out if your family’s medical history puts you at risk. Even if you have heart disease, you can live a healthier, more active life by learning about your disease and treatments and by becoming an active participant in your care.

About the Author

sperling-laurenceLaurence S. Sperling, M.D., FACC, FAHA, FACP is the Founder and Director of The Heart Disease Prevention Center at Emory. He is currently Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at the Emory University School of Medicine and Professor of Global Health in the Hubert Department of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Sperling also serves as the current President of The American Society for Preventive Cardiology.

 

Sources:
1. Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009[PDF-2M]. National vital statistics reports. 2011;60(3).
2. American Heart Association. “Statistical Fact Sheet. 2013 Update.” http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319573.pdf
3. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125(1):e2–220.
4. World Heart Federation. “Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.” http://www.world-heart-federation.org/press/fact-sheets/cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors/
5. Center for Disease Control (CDC). “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/

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.

Understanding the Different Types of Heart Disease

Heart Disease TypesDid you know there are more than 50 types of heart disease? “Heart disease” is actually a general term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart. Heart disease generally describes a heart’s capacity for pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body. Other heart conditions, such as infections and conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or beating rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.

Some of the most common types of heart disease are:

Heart Disease Risk QuizAlthough some of the types of heart disease listed above are not preventable, Emory Women’s Heart Center physicians work with subspecialty physicians from across the Emory Healthcare system to ensure that the treatment you receive for your heart disease is high quality. In many of the areas listed above such as congenital heart disease and heart valve disease, Emory physicians and researchers have been instrumental in bringing the newest treatments and procedures to the bedside.

The good news is that many types of heart disease can be prevented with healthy habits. You can reduce your risk of certain types of heart disease, such as heart attack, coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease by doing the following:

  • Eating a low sodium diet
  • Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables while limiting processed foods and those high in saturated fat
  • Exercising at least 3 – 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day
  • Stop smoking!
  • Controling your diabetes and high blood pressure

Take control of your heart health by educating yourself on the types of heart disease, risk factors and symptoms. This is very important to ensure that if you or a loved one does develop heart disease you can take quick action and 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.

About Susmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS, FACC
Dr. Susmita ParasharSusmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS is a Board certified cardiologist at the Emory Heart and Vascular Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to joining as faculty in the Division of Cardiology, Dr Parashar was Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Medicine at Emory for 8 years. She applies her experience as a Board certified internist in providing a holistic care to patients. She was awarded the American Heart Association (AHA) Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research in Women’s Health Award to recognize outstanding work in the area of women’s health and cardiovascular disease and Emory Department of Medicine Early Career Faculty Research Award for Clinical Research.

Dr. Parashar completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Medical College of Georgia, Augusta and Cardiology fellowship at Emory University. She completed her Master of Public Health and a Master of Science from Emory in 2005. A passionate clinician-researcher and educator, she trains medical students, residents and cardiology fellows. In addition, she conducts clinical research. Dr Parashar’s clinical and research focus is in preventive cardiology with a focus on women and cardiovascular diseases.

She has received several grants and awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the AHA to conduct research on women and heart disease. She has served as Emory principal investigator for large NIH funded clinical research for heart attack patients. She was also invited to participate as a co-investigator for the NIH funded Cardiovascular Health Study for older adults. She has presented her work in national and international scientific meetings, including the AHA Annual Session, AHA Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke, American College of Cardiology Annual Session, Society of General Internal Medicine and International Congress of Coronary Heart Disease.

Dr. Parashar has authored/coauthored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, including invited textbook chapters, manuscripts, abstracts and review articles. Her work has been published in such prestigious journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine and Circulation, and highlighted by the Nature and national media such as CNN, CBS and NPR news. She believes in family-career balance and applies her experience as a mother of two young children and wife to her work.

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.

Related Resources:

 

 

Atlanta Man Narrowly Avoids Heart Attack – Do You Know When to Go?

Know When to Go to the E.R.Saint Joseph’s Hospital patient and triathlete, Joe Michalak, narrowly missed a heart attack by listening to the risk factors of heart disease. On Father’s Day weekend, he felt some tweaks in his chest and instead of ignorning his symptoms, he went to the hospital right away. Luckily, Joe listened to his body. In hindsight, he had a 95 percentage blockage in his left anterior artery and 80 percent blockage in another one.

Learn more about Joe’s symptoms and what prompted him to make a trip to his local E.R. at Saint Joseph’s Hospital.