Heart Valve Disease

Heart Valve Disease

Our hearts have four valves:  the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves.  They work together to keep blood flowing in the correct direction; through the heart’s chambers and to the rest of the body. 

Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of our heart valves do not work properly, disrupting the flow of blood throughout our bodies.  This disease can be congenital (developing before birth) or acquired (developing after birth). Heart valve disease can lead to serious complications such as stroke, heart failure, blood clots, heart rhythms abnormalities or death.

The three main problems encountered in heart valve disease are:

  • Stenosis- which occurs when the flaps of a heart valve do not fully open due to the thickening of valve tissue. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood which can lead to heart failure. Stenosis can develop as a result of a buildup of calcium or other deposits on the valves. 
  • Regurgitation – this happens when the valve doesn’t close all the way. If our valves do not close correctly this will cause blood to leak backward into the heart and less blood to flow to our bodies.
  • Atresia- this is present at birth and occurs as a result of the valve not being developed. Instead of a valve, a piece of tissue forms that restricts the flow of blood.

Stenosis and regurgitation can be caused by pre-existing heart conditions, age-related changes, rheumatic fever or infections. There are no known causes for atresia.

Some people with heart valve disease may not experience symptoms during the early stages of the disease. When symptoms present they can include:

  • A heart murmur or an unusual heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Swollen ankles, feet or belly

Several factors can increase the risk of heart valve disease. Risk factors include:

  • Older age ( As you age your heart valves become stiffer and thicker)
  • A history  of infective endocarditis
  • Rheumatic fever resulting from an untreated strep infection
  • Heart conditions present at birth
  • Atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque inside the arteries),  heart attack, advanced heart failure or other conditions that can cause harm to the heart valves

If you are experiencing symptoms of heart valve disease, you should inform your doctor.   A physical examination will be conducted during which your doctor will listen for a heart murmur.  Your doctor may order a series of diagnostic tests such as an echocardiography, chest X-ray, cardiac MRI or electrocardiogram to evaluate your heart’s health. 

Treatment for heart valve disease may include surgery or medications. Your doctor will most likely recommend that you make heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

To schedule an appointment with a  cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7100.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Heart Disease and Hot Weather

Summertime heat affects everyone, but for people who suffer from heart disease, it can be life threatening. Activities that are performed when the weather is mild may not have much risk associated with them but once the temperature rises they can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. People with heart disease are very susceptible to extreme weather conditions.

When we are exposed to the heat, our bodies respond by sweating, which is the body’s way to maintain a normal temperature. . Heat as well as the body’s response to it, leads to enlarged blood vessels, lower blood pressure and higher heart rate. This combination can cause people with heart problems to serious problems due to the stress on the cardiovascular system. If the heart is already weakened it may not be able to pump blood effectively and keep the blood pressure at a high enough level. This can lead to an overheating of the body. Some medications that are prescribed for heart patients also lower the heart rate, which can be compounded during the hot weather.

Some helpful tips for people with heart disease in the hot weather are:

  • Stay out of the heat during the middle of the day
  • Wear clothing that is loose fitting and light
  • Do not perform strenuous activities in hot weather
  • Keep hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Stay indoors in an air conditioned environment

Discuss with your physician ways to stay healthy during the hot summer months. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Don’t Ignore The Signs of A Ministroke

Ministroke also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when there is a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.

The symptoms of a ministroke are sometimes ignored because they typically last only for a few minutes (in some instances up to 24 hours), and may mimic symptoms of migraines, low blood sugar or seizures.

Although the symptoms of a ministroke generally do not cause permanent damage, they must not be dismissed. One in three people who have a ministroke are at risk of having a major stroke within a year; therefore, it is important to pay attention to the warning signs.  Signs and symptoms of TIA include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, legs or arms (especially on one side of the body)
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden headache
  • Slurred speech or difficulty understanding others

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment can reduce your risk of having a major stroke.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Living With A Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a small electronic device that is implanted in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. It works by producing electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to beat at a normal rate.

Doctors may recommend pacemakers to patients diagnosed with heart arrhythmias (a condition which causes the heart to beat in an irregular rhythm) or patients living with symptoms resulting from bradycardia (slow heart rate).

If a pacemaker is needed to help treat either condition, minimally invasive surgery is required to implant the device.  After implantation, your doctor will discuss in detail, precautions to consider while wearing a pacemaker. You may be advised to:

  • Stay away from magnets or strong magnetic fields.
  • Make certain to take medications as recommended.
  • Keep cellphones at least six inches away from the device.
  • Do not linger in areas with walk-through anti-theft detectors.
  • Carry a pacemaker ID card.
  • Inform airport security agents that you are wearing the device, as your pacemaker can set off metal detectors. Hand-held scanners contain a magnet that may interfere with your device, remind the agent to avoid using the scanner near your pacemaker.
  • Avoid using arc welders and chainsaws.
  • Take special precautions to protect your device during certain medical procedures such as MRI scans or radiation therapy.

Most people living with pacemakers can continue their normal day-to-day physical activities.  Speak to your doctor about what level of physical activity is best for you.

Pacemakers require maintenance. Although the average battery life of your pacemaker is five to 15 years, your doctor may ask you to come in at least once a year to make sure your device is functioning properly.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department provides pacemaker implantation and evaluation services. To schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained cardiologists, please call (718) 206-7100.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What Is CoQ10 and what are its Heart Health Benefits?

Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is naturally produced by our bodies to aid cells in growing and functioning properly.

As we age our bodies produce less of it and those diagnosed with heart disease are often found to have inadequate amounts. Although we can obtain CoQ10 from foods such as fish, whole grains and meat, it isn’t enough to significantly increase levels in our bodies.

Supplements are sometimes recommended to make up for a lack of CoQ10.  Studies show they may be beneficial in slightly reducing blood pressure and improving symptoms of heart failure.

Although taking CoQ10 supplements is generally safe, findings are mixed and as with any supplement, there are side effects, as well as drug interactions with certain medications.   It is highly advised that you speak with your doctor before taking CoQ10.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Lamb Kebabs and Lima Bean Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lima beans are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They can increase energy levels by helping to restore iron and are delicious in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, by themselves or mixed with other vegetables.

Try this easy and delicious Lamb Kebabs and Lima Bean Salad recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3/2 pound boneless lamb top round steak or shoulder chop, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges (stem end left intact)
  • 1 pound frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 ounce Feta, crumbled (1/4cup)
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup torn fresh mint leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for at least 15 minutes. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make the vinaigrette: whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Transfer half the vinaigrette to another medium brown, add the lamb and toss to coat.
  3. Heat broiler. Thread the lamb, lemon and onion onto the skewers and place on a broiler-proof baking sheet.  Broil 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  4. Add the beans and 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain well and add to the bowel with the remaining vinaigrette.  Add the Feta, olives and mint and toss to combine.  Serve with the kebabs

Serves:                 4

Total Time:         40 min

For this and other easy recipes visit –

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/lamb-kebabs-with-lima-bean-salad

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Bike Month – Stay Safe and Fit

National Bike Month begins on May 14th and culminates with Ride to Work Day on May 18, 2018.

Communities nationwide will participate in this week-long recognition good health and bring attention to the need of lessening toxic emissions that motor vehicles are having on our environment.

According to Bicycling Magazine, more than half of all Americans live less than 5 – 10 miles from work. By utilizing the extensive miles of bike lanes to and from your work destination, you could probable arrive at your destination in less than an hour.

Riding a bicycle to work can be a fun and effective way to get fit.  Cycling is beneficial for the cardiovascular system because it increases oxygen intake and stimulates the heart. Studies show that riding can increase energy levels by 20 percent and in one hour burn up to 488 calories when pedaling at 12 to 14 miles per hour.

Although a bicycle is an excellent fitness tool, it is also considered a vehicle.  Therefore, the rules of the road must be obeyed and a bicycle should be operated safely to prevent injuries and accidents. Statistics show that bicyclists face higher risks in crash-related injuries and deaths than drivers in a motor vehicle.

Follow these basic riding tips to ensure your safety and reduce the risks:

  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic and do not weave in between other vehicles.
  • Obey traffic laws and signals.
  • Do not listen to music or speak on cell phones while riding.
  • Wear a proper fitting helmet.
  • Never pass another vehicle on the right.
  • Always keep your hands on the brakes.
  • Stay aware of dangerous road hazards such as potholes and broken glass.
  • Use hand signals to show motorist where you are going.

So suit up, remember to wear your helmet and cycle your way to health and a cleaner environment!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Visiting the Mall Can Improve Your Health!

We all know that regular physical activity is important to our overall health, especially for seniors.

Did you know walking is a great way for older adults to remain active?

Seniors who commit to taking a brisk walk each day may be at a lower risk of:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast and colon cancers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

With the onset of colder months upon us, how can older adults continue their walking routine and remain active?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that in the colder months, you can utilize indoor malls for your brisk walk.  Malls can be pedestrian friendly, they are climate-controlled, are well lit, have benches for resting, fountains for hydrating, restrooms, as well as security guards and cameras for safety.

For more information on mall walking programs and for other walking resources visit the CDC’s Mall Walking: A program Resource Guide at – https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/mallwalking-guide.pdf

So get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes, hit the mall and improve your health!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Heart Health and the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us which means more opportunities to get together with family, friends and co-workers to share a festive meal.  These year-end festivities will usually become excuses to overeat and consume excessive amounts of alcohol. For some who partake in these poor health habits, these actions can result in heart problems and even sudden heart attacks.

Every year, during the months of December and January there is an increase in hospital visits due to heart-related complaints.  The most common issues that result in a visit to the ER during this time of year include:

  • Drinking too many alcoholic beverages which causes an elevation in blood pressure and can lead to an irregular heartbeat.
  • Eating a big meal, especially one that is high in fat. Digesting a heavy meal will divert some blood away from the heart and this can lead to chest pain and the potential for a heart attack.
  • Performing strenuous activities outdoors in the cold weather. This is because the dip in temperature causes blood vessels to constrict and therefore blood flow is diminished, especially to the heart. In people who already have blocked arteries, this can be very dangerous.

There are a few easy things that people can do to prevent heart problems during the holiday season. It is important to eat in moderation. Just because there is a lot of food being served doesn’t mean you have to be the one who eats it all. Know your alcohol consumption limitations. It is one thing to drink in moderation and quite another to drink in excess.  It is very important to dress warmly if planning on spending a lot of time outdoors. This will keep the body heat in and the blood flowing properly.

Starting the holiday season with a check-up by your physician is always a good idea, especially if you have a history of heart-related problems. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Want to Quit Smoking? We Can Help!

Smoking Cessation

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the USA today.  It kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. There are an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States annually that are due to tobacco use. It is the only legal consumer product that is lethal when used exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Smoking cigarettes affects many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.
In the United States, Illnesses caused by smoking cost more than 300 billion dollars per year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die on average of 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. It costs tobacco companies approximately 5 cents to produce a pack of cigarettes.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading eventually to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.
Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels making them stiff and narrow, obstructing blood flow which results with elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or chronic skin changes.

Pregnant women exposed to tobacco smoke have increased risk of complications like miscarriage, premature birth, and brain and lung damage in developing baby. Sudden infant death syndrome is three times more likely if mother smoked during pregnancy.
Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled by smokers or given off by a burning cigarette or pipe. Inhaling secondhand smoke is as hazardous as smoking a cigarette. There is no safe level for secondhand smoke exposure established. People can inhale it at work, homes, cars or public spaces and have all the complications mentioned above.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated but the majority of cases require three or more attempts. Quitting smoking offers a chance of feeling better and living longer.  Studies have shown that five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.

2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.

3.  Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.

4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.

5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations- most people try to quit a few times before   succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking, please call 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.