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Media Contact: Sherry Baker 03 February 2004    
  (404) 377-1398   Print  | Email ]

Emory Heart Center and Emory University Hospital among Top U.S. Cardiac Centers
"Good Housekeeping" magazine, in partnership with Castle Connolly (publisher of the popular guide America's Top Doctors) has named Emory University Hospital (EUH) and The Emory Heart Center among the top 44 centers for women's cardiovascular care in the nation and among the top eight in the south. Emory cardiologist Nanette K. Wenger, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital, was named a "top doc" in the field of women's cardiac care. The cardiac center rankings are featured in the February issue of "Good Housekeeping".

The issue of heart disease in women is also being emphasized this month by the American Heart Association's (AHA) "Go Red for Women" campaign. Women are encouraged to wear red on February 6th -- National Wear Red Day - to help generate awareness regarding the magnitude of heart disease in women. According to AHA statistics, nearly twice as many women in the United States die from heart disease and stroke as from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

"Even though women are more aware of heart disease being a prominent problem for women, in general -- with the awareness increasing from 30 percent in recent years to about 48 percent currently -- most women still do not perceive heart disease to be a personal health problem. Therefore, there is a major need for education of women that heart disease is their leading cause of death and that they can do many things to reduce their risk," says Dr. Wenger, co-author of new AHA guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women.

For example, Emory cardiologist Laurence Sperling, MD, director of Emory's HeartWise Risk Reduction Program, points out that middle aged women who have recently learned hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not protect them from heart disease shouldn't despair.

"Instead, women can help take control of their heart health in other ways. There are a host of strategies to prevent heart disease that are well researched and that work to dramatically lower your risk," he emphasizes. "Women need to talk to their doctors about how exercise can help protect your heart and strengthen your bones in the post-menopausal years and how a healthy diet can lower cholesterol. Working on weight management and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels -- with medication if lifestyle changes aren't enough -- are all ways women can help protect their cardiovascular health."

Emory Heart Center cardiologist Wendy Book, MD, notes that heart disease can strike younger women, too, particularly those with congenital heart problems.

"Although young women with congenital heart disease usually have been diagnosed in childhood, some congenital heart defects can be subtle at first and may not be diagnosed until late in the course of the disease when damage to the heart has occurred. It is very important, if a young woman has underlying heart disease, that reproductive issues should be addressed on a regular basis. Planning is especially important for women of child-bearing age who have heart disease and who want to have children," says Dr. Book, co-director of The Emory/Sibley Adult Congenital Cardiac Program and a specialist in heart failure and heart transplants.

"We are delighted that 'Good Housekeeping' magazine has recognized Emory as a national leader in cardiovascular care for women," says Douglas C. Morris, MD, director of the Emory Heart Center. "We are committed to working toward an even greater understanding of the best ways to prevent and treat the number one cause of death of American women -- heart disease."

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