Posts Tagged ‘lower heart disease risk’

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.

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.

What Can You Do to Fight High Blood Pressure?

hypertensionDid you know that over 30% of adults (over the age of 20) have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension?* Did you also know that high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease? The good news is that high blood pressure can be prevented if you educate yourself and take the recommended course of action from your physician.

What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
Blood pressure is the amount of the blood force against the arterial walls. The upper number is the pressure when the heart is contracting and the lower number is when the heart is at rest.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when one or both numbers are elevated. Normally it should be under 140/90 mmHg, and anything above this is considered elevated.

What are the symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
Many people think that you can tell if you have high blood pressure by experiencing symptoms like headache, nose bleeds or chest pains, but the reality is that hypertension is a symptomless disease. When blood pressure is elevated and is not treated, you heart, brain and kidneys can suffer the consequences and you do not know it.

Get checked for High Blood Pressure
Everyone should know what their blood pressure numbers are and get treated if elevated or prevent it from being elevated. Factors like age, obesity, family history, increased salt consumption, medications, lack of exercise, alcohol, drugs, renal disease and hormonal abnormalities can contribute to the development of high blood pressure.

What can I do to prevent high blood pressure?

  1. Reduce salt (sodium) intake – Salt is known to retain water and increase blood pressure and the United States is considered a society that consumes a high salt diet. Most of the salt we eat comes from processed and packed foods. The recommendation is to consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day, to get an idea a teaspoon of salt has 2,400 mg of sodium!
  2. Consume Potassium – Potassium counterbalances the effects of sodium, at least 4,700 mg daily is advised. Some of the foods rich in potassium are potatoes, greens, bananas, tomatoes and oranges. Patients with renal disease should discuss with their doctors about their potassium intake.
  3. Limit alcohol consumption – Men should limit their alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day and women to 1 drink daily.
  4. Exercise! Exercise! Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity to keep your circulation, lungs and heart healthy.

If despite of trying your best to prevent hypertension your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor can work with you to find an appropriate medical regimen to control it. Medications that help your body eliminating the sodium excess, retaining potassium or relaxing your blood vessels can be prescribed to you. Together with diet and exercise, medications can control hypertension and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

To learn more about ways to prevent and treat hypertension, join us at the Community Education Series sponsored by the Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna, 3949 South Cobb Drive Smyrna, GA 30080. The event will take place  on Wednesday June 18th, 2014 at 7:00 pm. To find out more, visit https://www.emoryadventist.org/education-events.

*Centers for Disease Control

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 currently sees clinical patients at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Midtown and Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Smyrna. To schedule a general preventive cardiology consult please call 404-778-7777.
Dr Gongora went to medical school in Bogotá, 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.

Related Links

Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Smyrna
Emory Women’s Heart Center
Manage Your Blood Pressure & Keep Your Heart Healthy
Emory Explores New Treatment Option to Reduce High Blood Pressure

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:

Join us for a Heart Disease Prevention Event in March!

Heart events in Atlanta March 2013The HeartWise℠ Risk Reduction Program Lecture Series aims to reduce people’s risk of heart disease through education and interaction. In addition to serving patients who currently suffer from heart disease, we also provide help to individuals who could be at risk for heart complications in the future including those who smoke, do not exercise or have high blood pressure.

You can register for our HeartWise events online!

WomenHeart of Atlanta: Support Group
Monday, March 11, 12pm – 1:15pm

Fundamentals of Strength Training
Clay Knight, Exercise Physiologist
Monday, March 18, 8:30am – 9:00am, Repeated at 12pm – 12:3pm

Angina
Jane Whitmer, RN
Monday, March 25, 12pm – 12:30pm

Benefits of Vitamin D
Paul White, MD, Rehabilitation Medicine Resident
Wednesday, March 20, 11:30am – 12pm

Admission is free and everyone is welcome and parking is validated for up to 2 hours. Call 404-778-2850 to reserve your seat, or you can sign up for a HeartWise lecture online.

*If you would like to purchase a t-shirt or calendar where the proceeds go to the HeartWise scholarship fund which allows patients who run into financial challenges continue the wellness and prevention, please call 404-778-2850.

Related Resources: