What We Can Learn About Heart Disease from Bob Harper's Heart Attack

Posted by Judy Horwitz on Mar 7, 2017 10:40:59 AM

Bob Harper, personal trainer and host of the NBC show “The Biggest Loser,” recently suffered a heart attack.  He reportedly collapsed while working out at the gym and a doctor who was there performed CPR on him.  News of his heart attack came as a great surprise to viewers and fans since he is just 51 years old and appeared to be extremely fit and healthy. (Harper told People magazine that heart problems run in his family, and that his mother died of a heart attack.)

People have a lot of questions about how someone like Bob Harper could have a heart attack and Einstein cardiologist Leandro Slipczuk, MD, PhD, (right) addresses some of the questions:

How does someone who is relatively young and extremely fit have a heart attack?

Data indicates that healthy behaviors such as physical activity, non-smoking, healthy diet and lack of abdominal adiposity (belly fat) could prevent four out of five heart attacks. Nevertheless, other factors such as family history of heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol provide a significant risk. Sometimes a heart attack can happen even without risk factors and this is why screening is important. 

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

5 Things Every Woman Should Do To Take Care of Her Heart

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 21, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Many women are unaware that heart disease is the greatest threat to their health. Yet, heart disease takes more women’s lives annually than every form of cancer combined.

Women’s symptoms of heart disease can be more subtle than men’s, and their response to them is often delayed. Women may feel tired or easily fatigued, but they often make excuses to themselves about what is happening and dismiss the signs.

There are anatomical distinctions as well. Women tend to develop diffuse plaque that usually builds up evenly in their arteries, which are smaller than a man’s. This is significant because it makes it harder for doctors to see a blockage in a woman’s arteries.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

Do You Know the Signs of a Heart Attack?

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 13, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Would you know if you were having a heart attack? Many symptoms mimic a heart attack such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chest muscle pain or anxiety. It can be difficult to know when your symptoms are heart related. Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack can help you decide what to do.

In a study of more than 2,000 heart attack patients, those who recognized heart attack symptoms early and received medical attention within 90 minutes did far better than those who waited for treatment.

No two heart attacks are alike. Heart attacks may cause sudden, intense pain or pressure in the center of the chest. They may also come on more slowly with little or no pain, but cause vague symptoms such as weakness or indigestion. These are the symptoms that people may ignore. Additionally, a woman’s symptoms may differ from a man’s, advises the American Heart Association (AHA).

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

Can Strengthening Your Muscles Also Strengthen Your Heart?

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 8, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Lifting weights does more than build strong bones. Strength training can also contribute to heart health by building lean muscle mass, which helps to burn extra calories, keep blood sugar in check and improve cholesterol levels.

Strength training, especially for older adults, can also make it easier to perform everyday activities such as lifting a bag of groceries. Resistance exercises are also important for bone health and can help prevent osteoporosis.

Many fitness centers offer low impact strength-training classes. But if you cannot get to a gym and feel uncomfortable working with weights at home, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests trying some of the following activities for strength training:

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

The Salty Six: The Hidden Sodium in the Foods We Love

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 6, 2017 10:42:22 AM

February is American Heart Month. One way to help take the strain off our hearts—specifically, our blood pressure—is to reduce the amount of sodium in our diets. We do need some sodium to regulate blood pressure, but too much is unhealthy.

Unfortunately, we tend to ingest a lot of sodium through the foods we eat.

Courtesy of the American Heart Association, here are six popular foods that are loaded with sodium.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

The Hidden Dangers of Masked Hypertension

Posted by Chesna McDonald on Feb 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

High blood pressure affects millions of people, but is it possible to have hypertension without even knowing it? According to a new study, this is the case for one in eight Americans.

The condition, known as masked hypertension, occurs when a patient’s blood pressure is normal when measured in a doctor’s office or clinic but high outside of the office. This undiagnosed condition puts the patient at an increased risk for heart disease because patients are unaware that they even have hypertension.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, measured the blood pressure of patients who were monitored for 24 hours a day and found 14 percent of participants to have masked hypertension. This is unlike “white-coat hypertension,” which does not put patients at higher risk for heart disease. That’s when patients have higher blood pressure measurements when they are in the doctor’s office but normal rates outside of the office.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

Einstein Philadelphia Adds Fourth Cardiac Cath Lab

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 1, 2017 10:30:00 AM

A new catheterization lab is opening at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, which will expand capacity by 25 percent, bringing the number of cath labs at the Philadelphia campus to four.

The new lab reflects the increasing demand for procedures which can be performed without open heart surgery. “People want minimally invasive options,” said Jon George, MD, medical director of the Catheterization Laboratory. “Sometimes if you offer surgery as the only option, patients decline and don’t get treatment. If you are able to offer a less invasive option, they may be more willing to do it.”

While opening blocked arteries in the heart is now commonplace, newer technology has enabled interventionalists to expand the spectrum of minimally invasive therapies. Diseased heart valves can now be replaced without open heart surgery through catheters, and blockages in veins, the vessels that return blood back to the heart, are also treatable in the lab.  All of these procedures are performed with a multi-disciplinary team in place, after discussion of the benefits and risks of open surgery versus minimally invasive procedures.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

Getting Back in Shape after a Heart Attack

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 1, 2017 10:30:00 AM

A heart attack affects more than just the heart muscle. Emotions, self-confidence and plans for the future can all take a beating in the days and weeks following this traumatic event. Here are a few guidelines for moving forward and making the transition back to a heart-healthy life.

1. Understand what went wrong and what you can do about it.

Knowing what contributed to your heart attack—high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, etc.—will help you understand why certain medications are being prescribed for you. It will also make you a more informed participant in a personalized exercise program.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

Pioneering Einstein Cardiologist Honored with Woman of Heart Award

Posted by Jill Porter on Jan 19, 2017 10:00:00 AM

When Marjorie Stanek was a little girl, she accompanied her physician father on his house visits and hospital rounds. “He loved medicine,” she said, remembering that he inspired many members of the extended family to pursue careers in medicine. And even though she almost passed out while watching him perform surgery when she was a young teen, she became a doc, too.

Stanek is in her 40th year of practice at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, where she was the first full-time female cardiologist when she was hired in 1977. Now, she’s been named the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women 2017 Woman of Heart Award.

“I love cardiology and I’m thrilled to be honored by this wonderful organization for my work,” said Dr. Stanek, 70, who lives in Huntingdon Valley.

The award recognizes an “outstanding healthcare professional who has made it their mission to make a difference in the lives of those who have been impacted by heart disease,” according to the American Heart Association.

“I often think about my patients, especially in the middle of the night. You’re never free of that.”

Dr. Stanek was among the women pioneers who broke gender barriers when they became physicians.

Her husband’s class of 160 at Temple Medical School had eight women. She attended Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania—now Drexel—and said she’s “grateful” for the opportunity to pursue the career she loved, rather than bitter at the discrimination that may have kept her out of a coed school.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

Tragic Reminders: Heart Disease Still the No. 1 Killer of Men and Women

Posted by Jill Porter on Dec 28, 2016 11:39:34 AM

Actor Alan Thicke, dead at 69. Singer George Michael, dead at 53. Actor Carrie Fisher (right), dead at 60. All three celebrities were felled by cardiovascular catastrophes, a reminder that heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of men and women.

The reminder is especially relevant at this time of year. Heart-related deaths spike around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, because of overeating, overdrinking, stressful travel, family tensions and a propensity to willfully ignore symptoms so as not to ruin the festivities.

“These are three kinds of cardiovascular diseases that result in devastating loss,” said Vincent Figueredo, MD, Associate Chair of Medicine and Chief of Clinical Cardiology at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. “High blood pressure is a common denominator in all of them,” he said, speaking generally, without direct knowledge of the medical history or health status of the three stars.

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Topics: Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Care

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Perspectives highlights the expertise and services provided by the physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare providers at Einstein Healthcare Network. Through this blog, we share information about new treatments and technologies, top-tier clinical teams and the day-to-day interactions that reinforce our commitment to delivering quality care with compassion. Here, you will also find practical advice for championing your health and wellness.

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