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Should I be Worried About My Heart?

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Michelle Aliprantis
Should I be Worried About My Heart?

Should I be Worried About My Heart?

February is Heart Health Month and what better time than now to focus on heart health for you and your loved ones. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women. One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year from 2014 to 2015. This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.

Dr. Shahzad Ahmed, director of Cardiovascular Medicine & Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Lower Bucks Hospital, is an interventional cardiologist whose expertise include coronary interventions, peripheral vascular disease, preventive cardiology and structural heart disease. He sees thousands of patients annually and has agreed to answer some of the common questions about coronary artery disease and heart attacks for our readers.

About 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have coronary artery disease (about 6.7%). In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 605,000 are a first heart attack, 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack.

“About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it,” Dr. Ahmed said.

What are the common symptoms of heart attack?

Common symptoms of heart attack are pain or discomfort in the upper part of chest, shortness of breath, and burning or sweating with nausea. Women, the elderly and patients with diabetes many times do not experience these symptoms and present with shortness of breath, heartburns, fatigue or leg swelling or have no symptoms at all (silent heart attack.)

What are the ways to prevent heart disease?

Major risk factors include genetics and family history, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and sedentary lifestyle. We do not have control over genetics and family history, but the rest of the risk factors we can modify and help prevent heart disease.

Reference and Reading

Dr. Ahmed is board certified in Interventional Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Echocardiography, Nuclear Cardiology, Vascular Ultrasound and Internal Medicine. He is a Fellow of American College of Cardiology (FACC) in 2019 and a member of the Society of Cardiovascular Interventions (SCAI). He completed internal medicine, cardiovascular and interventional cardiology training at Drexel University College of Medicine, where he was awarded "Fellow of the Year.” Under his leadership, Lower Bucks Hospital has started many new programs, including same-day discharge after percutaneous coronary intervention and implementing the first cardiac catheterization using a radial approach, through arteries in the hand.

Dr. Ahmed is currently accepting new patients at BMC Cardiology Practice on 501 Bath Road in Bristol. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 215-785-5100.