Posts Tagged ‘Heart Disease’

The Role of Gender in Heart Disease

mom-daughter-gran (1)Every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.

An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease. While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease. (AHA Go Red statistics)

For years, heart disease was thought of as a “man’s disease,” but more women than men die of heart disease each year. Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen. Despite increased awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer [2].

Risks

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women. Yet, only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

The largest risk factors of heart disease affect both men and women. 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
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Mental stress and depression
  • Pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy

There are also other risk factors that are not modifiable such as age and family history. Although men and women share a lot of the same risks, your gender can play a role in heart disease. Some risks that vary by gender are the following:

  • Age – men tend to develop coronary artery disease earlier in life. However, after age 65 the risk of heart disease in women is almost the same as in men.
  • Women, especially younger women (<65 yrs), have worse outcome after a heart attack.
  • Diabetes is a particularly important risk factor for developing heart disease in women. The symptoms of heart disease in diabetic women can be very subtle. Women may have mild heartburn or breathlessness during physical exertion rather than chest pain that is considered typical in men or in people without diabetes.
  • Unhealthy behaviors – Men tend to engage in certain high-risk behaviors that can have adverse effects on the heart, such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption. 20.5% of adult men smoke cigarettes compared to 15.3% of women, putting men at a higher risk [3]. Similarly, studies have shown that high-volume drinking is consistently more prevalent among men than among women [4].

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of heart attack in women is some type of pressure, discomfort or pain, in the chest. However, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pains. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Right arm pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

These symptoms can be more subtle, like pressure or tightness, than the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks in men. Women’s symptoms may be triggered by mental stress and may occur more often when women are resting, or even when they’re asleep.

About the Author

parashar-susmitaSusmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS, FAHA, FACC is a Board certified cardiologist at the Emory Heart and Vascular Center and Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Parashar is an educator and cardiovascular outcomes researcher with emphasis on women and heart disease, preventive cardiology and heart disease in cancer patients. She has received several grants and awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association (AHA) to conduct research on women and heart disease. Dr. Parashar was awarded the 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

 

Sources
[1] CDC.gov – Heart Disease Facts
American Heart Association – 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Update, compiled by AHA, CDC, NIH and other governmental sources

[2] CDC.gov – Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_women_heart.htm

[3] 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/

[4] Wisnack et al. “Gender and Alcohol Consumption: Patterns From the Multinational Genacis Project.”
Addiction. 2009 Sep; 104(9): 1487–1500. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844334/

[5] CDC.gov – Men and Heart Disease Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_men_heart.htm

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/

Is a Daily Aspirin Regimen Right for Me?

DailyAspirin_ 7-8It’s long been considered common knowledge that aspirin reduces the risk of the formation of blood clots, which causes heart attacks and strokes. While it was once used on an occasional basis for fever, or aches and pains, aspirin is now taken daily like a vitamin pill for many. And what’s not to love? It costs two cents a day and has some potential incredible benefits; however, popping aspirin on a daily basis to lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke may not be a good approach for everyone.

Risks

It may seem like it’s not that big of a deal, but taking aspirin when you don’t need to can lead to some potentially serious health problems. When you take aspirin, the level of stomach protection is decreased which tends to cause bleeding. As a result, people who take aspirin regularly will have roughly double the likelihood of having an ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding. An unneeded aspirin regimen can also make your blood too thin, causing problems if you need surgery.

Is it for you?

So how do you decide whether or not a regular, preventive dose of aspirin is right for you? Firstly, for those with coronary heart disease the answer is generally yes, unless there is a personal history of stomach bleeding. For those without coronary heart disease the decision is more complicated and is based on your individual risk of having a heart attack versus your risk of bleeding from aspirin. In this case it is best to consult your cardiologist to help you make an informed decision

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to identify those individuals who most likely don’t need to take aspirin on a daily basis. Generally, healthy people in their 20s to 40s, with no cardiac risk factors and no major risk factors for developing the other diseases aspirin can prevent, should not take aspirin unless advised by a physician. For those with very low risk, the focus should be on a healthy lifestyle, which includes getting enough exercise, eating properly, and getting plenty of sleep. These are all safe alternatives to a daily aspirin regimen.

Less is more

Despite the risks, daily aspirin can be beneficial to certain high-risk people, provided they take the appropriate dosage. If you and your doctor decide you should be taking aspirin daily, you need to evaluate how much is right for you. In the case of aspirin and other NSAIDs, a little goes a long way. The recommended dose for someone who needs to be on an aspirin regimen is 81 milligrams a day.

About Dr. Baer
Jefferson Baer, MD, MPH – https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/physicians/b/baer-jefferson.html – is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of Preventive Cardiology at Emory University Hospital Midtown.  Dr. Baer specializes in cardiology and in valvular heart disease. He pursued a degree in medicine from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC, and his internship in Internal Medicine and his residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA.   He completed his fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle WA.

Takeaways from Dr. Lundberg’s Hypertension Chat

Hypertension Live ChatThanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, June 23, for our live online chat on “Things You Never Knew About Your Blood Pressure” hosted by Dr. Gina Lundberg of the Emory Women’s Heart Center!

To prevent hypertensive heart disease, it’s important that you consistently keep your blood pressure nice and low. Dr. Lundberg noted that the good news is that 80% of all cardiovascular deaths could be prevented with better lifestyle – healthy eating and exercise – and better blood pressure monitoring, and discussed ways to help you achieve this goal.

If you missed this chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the hypertension chat transcript.

Here are just a few highlights from the chat:

Question: Are there any foods I should incorporate into my diet to control high blood pressure?

Gina Lundberg, MDDr. Lundberg: There is no one food you can eat to lower your blood pressure. The best thing you can do is to make a change to your diet as a whole. I’d recommend following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet. This diet is very high in fruits and veggies (potassium and magnesium). Potassium correlates to lower blood pressure. You can find more info about the DASH Diet here.

 

Question: Is it normal for my blood pressure and heart to race? I exercise regularly.

Gina Lundberg, MDDr. Lundberg: Yes, when you exercise routinely your heart rate will go up slower but you will still get to a peak heart rate with prolonged exercise. Many people feel their heart is racing with sudden activities such as walking up the stairs, but this is common as there is no warm up prior to the activity.

 

Question: How much does stress really impact blood pressure?

Gina Lundberg, MDDr. Lundberg: Stress can raise your blood pressure and your heart rate from internal release of adrenaline. Some people over-respond to their adrenaline and get dangerously high blood pressures very suddenly. An exercise stress test can simulate stress on the body and help determine if blood pressure is getting dangerously high. Sudden surges in blood pressure can cause stroke or heart attack. Chronic stress can lead to chronically elevated mild to moderate hypertension which can also be dangerous for your eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us live for the chat! If you have additional questions for Dr. Lundberg, feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

Things You Never Knew About Your Blood Pressure

blood pressure live chatYou’ve probably heard high blood pressure, or hypertension, called the “silent killer” because it can damage your arteries and organs without you ever realizing something is wrong. Not only can it damage your heart, but it can also cause stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, erectile dysfunction, fluid buildup in the lungs and angina.

Join us on Tuesday, June 23, at 12:00 p.m. for a live, interactive web chat about “Things You Never Knew About Your Blood Pressure.” Dr. Gina Lundberg will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about high blood pressure. For instance, did you know that common over the counter medication can increase your blood pressure? Did you know you can have high blood pressure and never experience any symptoms at all?

During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Register now for our June 23 chat:

Chat Sign Up

About Dr. Lundberg

Gina Lundberg, MDGina Price Lundberg, MD, FACC , is the clinical director of the Emory Women’s Heart Center and a preventive cardiologist with Emory Clinic in East Cobb. Dr. Lundberg is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

She is a national American Heart Association (AHA) spokesperson and was a board member for the Atlanta chapter from 2001 to 2007. Dr. Lundberg was the Honoree for the AHA’s North Fulton/Gwinnett County Heart Ball for 2006. In 2009, she was awarded the Women with Heart Award at the Go Red Luncheon for outstanding dedication to the program. She is also a Circle of Red founding member and Cor Vitae member for the AHA.

She has been interviewed on the subject of heart disease in women by multiple media outlets, including CNN and USA Today. In 2007, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Dr. Lundberg to the advisory board of the Georgia Department of Women’s Health, where she served until 2011. In 2005, Atlanta Woman magazine awarded Dr. Lundberg the Top 10 Innovator Award for Medicine. In 2008, Atlanta Woman named her one of the Top 25 Professional Women to Watch and the only woman in the field of medicine.

Dr. Lundberg attended the Medical College of Georgia and trained in internal medicine at Atlanta Medical Center (Georgia Baptist). She completed her cardiology fellowship at Rush University in Chicago. She has been in practice in Atlanta since 1994. She is board certified in cardiology and internal medicine and was recertified in both in 2002. Dr. Lundberg has two children and considers motherhood her first and foremost career. Dr. Lundberg has lived most of her life in the metro Atlanta area.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center

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. Call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiac screening and find out if you are at risk for heart disease.

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.

What’s Causing Your Fainting Spells?

fainting spellsMany people have experienced what is commonly called “passing out” or “fainting.” The medical term for this is syncope.

Syncope happens when, for short periods of time, there is a sudden drop in blood pressure and there is reduced blood flow to the brain. The most common cause of syncope, especially in healthy young people, is vasovagal syncope. The good news is that, even though vasovagal syncope sounds scary, most of the time it is nothing to worry about.

Vasovagal syncope is due to slow heart beat or expansion of blood vessels. This allows the blood to accumulate in your legs, which lowers your blood pressure and reduces blood flow to the brain. There are certain situations that can provoke these responses, for example pain, fear, standing for too long, being over tired or over heated. It could even be an unusual reaction to coughing, having a bowel movement or urinating. Before you faint you might experience lightheadedness, nausea, cold sweats, a feeling of warmth or blurry vision.

The diagnosis of vasovagal syncope can be made without further testing or by excluding other causes, but sometimes tests like blood work, electrocardiogram, exercise stress test or tilt table test are performed. In most cases, treatment for vasovagal syncope is not necessary. Your doctor might recommend that you increase your liquid and salt intake, wear compressions stockings or avoid prolonged standing, especially in crowded or hot places. Occasionally, medication to increase your blood pressure is needed.

Other less frequent causes of syncope are problems in the brain or in the valves, muscles or the electrical system of the heart. All of these causes will be considered by your doctor or nurse when evaluating your case. Because the causes may vary, it is important that every person who faints is evaluated by a healthcare professional.

To make an appointment with an Emory Healthcare physician, please call 404-778-7777.

About Dr. Gongora

Carolina Gongora, MDDr. Gongora is a Board certified cardiologist at the Emory Heart and Vascular Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Gongora went to medical school in Bogota, Colombia, where she is from originally. She moved to Atlanta in 2005. Before starting her training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Emory University, Dr. Gongora did a post doctoral research fellowship in hypertension and renal disease. Her research was partially funded by the American Heart Association. During this time she published in recognized journals like the Journal of American College of Cardiology, Hypertension and Circulation. Also, she presented in nationally renowned meetings, like the American Heart Association, the American Society of Hypertension and the American Physiology Society meetings, among others. She has been a member of the American College of Cardiology, the American Physiological Society and the American Heart Association-Council for high blood pressure. She is board certified in Cardiology, Internal Medicine and Echocardiography.

Benefits of Stress Reduction

Stress ReductionWhether it’s a tight work deadline, an overdue bill or busy parental duties, stress affects all of us. It’s important to understand how stress impacts your health before it starts to severely impact your wellbeing. Reducing stress can help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, increase blood flow and lower fatigue.

According to the American Heart Association, stress may affect a person’s risk for heart disease, which is the leading killer of Americans.

Things you can do to reduce stress include meditation, eating healthy foods, breathing deeply and leaning on loved ones for support. For some people, simply slowing down may help, while for others, moving around and/or exercising may be the answer.

To learn more about stress reduction, please join us for the annual Reward Your Heart event hosted by Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. You can enjoy an evening of relaxation and heart-healthy information, featuring chair massages, yoga demonstrations and delicious tastings of wines, specialty olive oils and dark chocolates.

The evening will include informal consultations with physicians, nutritionists and exercise specialists from Emory Healthcare. Learn about “Stress and the Effects on Your Heart” with speaker Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, world-renowned expert on stress and the heart.

Reward Your Heart Event Details

WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Doctors Center Building Atrium
5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30342

COST: Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple. Register online at med.emory.edu/RewardYourHeart or mail a check payable to Emory Women’s Heart Center at:
Department of Medical Education
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342

Emory Healthcare provides the following resources to connect with world-renowned cardiovascular specialists:
Emory Heart & Vascular Center
Emory Women’s Heart Center

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis CutchinsAlexis 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.

Is Jaw Pain a Warning Sign of a Heart Attack?

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 the pain signals to the jaw instead.

If the jaw pain is constant, it may be due to a dental health issue. However, if it’s a symptom of a heart attack, the pain is more likely to be intermittent and increase with activity. If you experience jaw pain and there’s no other obvious cause, you should call 911 — even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack. A heart attack can begin to damage the heart within 30 minutes of the start of symptoms, and sometimes the damage is irreversible. Visit the Emory Women’s Heart Center website to learn about other atypical heart attack symptoms .

It can also help to know your personal risk level and what you can do to help prevent a heart attack. Call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment with an Emory Women’s Heart Center specialist today.

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis Cutchins, MDAlexis Cutchins, MD is an 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 the Emory Women’s Heart Center

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 Price 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. Call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular screening and find out if you are at risk for heart disease.

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