Clinicians

10 Facts You May Not Have Known About Heart Attacks

by Columbia Surgery on July 28, 2014

(1)  Most heart attacks happen on Monday mornings. In the early morning hours, blood platelets are stickier, a person is partially dehydrated, and stress hormones (such as cortisol) are at their peak.

(2)  Women have different heart attack symptoms (nausea, indigestion, and shoulder aches) compared to classic chest pain that men might experience.  25% of all heart attacks (especially those in women) go unrecognized.

(3)  Negative emotions are risk factors for heart attack.  Laughter is good for the heart!  It relaxes and expands blood vessels increasing blood flow up to 20%!

(4)  CT Scans of Egyptian mummies show that many had heart attacks debunking the myth that coronary heart disease is caused solely by modern day lifestyles.

(5)  A daily dose of aspirin may help prevent a second heart attack.

(6)  People who live alone are twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to those who live with a partner or roommates.

(7)  Heart attacks are 27% more likely to happen around your birthday.  They are also most likely on Christmas Day, December 26th, and New Year’s Day.

(8)   Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.  This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

(9)   Drinking a diet soda a day increase your chance of getting a heart attack.  Read more about the CUMC study here.  Fruit-infused seltzer water is a good alternative to cool off and satisfy your sweet tooth.

(10)  Most importantly, hospital admissions of elderly Americans for heart attacks are on the decline mostly due to the accomplishment of preventive medicine, such as smoking cessation programs.

If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 immediately!  Time is of the essence.  Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Holly Andersen explain more about heart attack symptoms in this video and you can read more about the CUMC’s Preventive Cardiology Program here.

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The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck.The American Thyroid Association estimates more than 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disorder. Of these disorders, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of the most common, believed to be the leading cause of primary hypothyroidism in North America. But it may surprise you to learn that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, is actually an autoimmune disease, like type-1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

An autoimmune disorder causes your immune system – which usually fights off infections – to attack otherwise helpful parts of your body. In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, your immune system attacks your thyroid, which can cause inflammation and lead to an underactive thyroid gland.

Hashimoto’s most commonly affects older women, though it can strike either sex at any age. Risk factors include prior autoimmune diseases or a family history of thyroid problems.

The symptoms for Hashimoto’s are often vague and easily confused with other health problems. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in your shoulders and hips
  • Pain and stiffness in your joints and swelling in your knees or the small joints in your hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness, especially in your lower extremities
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Depression

Fortunately, Hashimoto’s can typically be treated fairly easily with a daily pill to maintain proper thyroid hormone levels.

To determine if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis—or any number of other thyroid issues—have your doctor check your blood for your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (or TSH) levels.

Read more about the thyroid:

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ABC News: Having Heart Surgery Is Like Flying

July 10, 2014

TweetOn July 10th, Dr.Michael Argenziano, Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery wrote a guest post for the ABC News Blog on why he became a heart surgeon: I’m a cardiac surgeon. I’m lots of other things, of course-a husband, father, and Little League coach-but I’ve spent the 30 years since high school graduation essentially working toward one goal, […]

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Cytoreduction Surgery and Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

June 1, 2014

TweetOffering long-term survival for patients with cancers of the abdominal lining Diagnosis of cancer that has spread to the abdominal wall lining (peritoneum) is typically considered a lethal diagnosis. But at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, many patients with these advanced cancers can expect long-term survival, thanks to refined surgical approaches and intra-abdominal chemotherapy. According to […]

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Surgery Research Competition

June 1, 2014

TweetThe 23rd Surgery Research Competition was held May 22, 2014 at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia campus. According to Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, George H. Humphreys II Professor of Surgery, “The annual Surgical Research Competition demonstrates the enthusiasm and scientific acumen of young investigators determined to push back the frontiers of research. Their work indicates that reduced federal […]

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Alcohol Abuse And Acute Pancreatitis

April 24, 2014

TweetIf I were to ask you what health risks are associated with excessive drinking, what would you say? Cirrhosis of the liver? Heart disease? A weakened immune system? You’d be correct—those are all health risks associated with excessive drinking. But another common though less talked about problem is pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a condition in which […]

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Did the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster increase my chances of getting thyroid cancer?

April 22, 2014

TweetIt’s Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week, so we’re revisiting this Q&A with Dr. McConnell, in which he explains why the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is less likely have long term cancer implications for the surrounding area than did the Chernobyl disaster. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan that occurred in March 2011 not only […]

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Third Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care

March 11, 2014

TweetAs patients demand greater access to interventional and minimally invasive digestive care treatments, clinicians must be knowledgeable on the newest technologies and innovations. These are the market forces of healthcare at work. – Dr. Michel Kahaleh. NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Weill Cornell Medical College are pleased to extend an invitation […]

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Shanta Modak, PhD, Inducted as Fellow to National Academy of Inventors

February 28, 2014

TweetCongratulations to Shanta Modak, PhD, a research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center, who was inducted as a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors for her work to develop infection-resistant medical devices. In collaboration with Professors of Surgery Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, and Mark A. Hardy, MD, Dr. Modak developed a new formulation in […]

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Emile Bacha, MD is Featured on ABC’s The View with Barbara Walters

February 27, 2014

TweetIn honor of February being “heart month,” the February 21, 2014 episode of ABC’s The View, entitled “Barbara’s Heart to Heart,” featured Emile Bacha, MD, Director, Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian. In this episode, Dr. Bacha escorts Barbara Walters through the hospital where she underwent heart surgery four […]

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