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ACE inhibitor (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor)

a class of medications used to lower blood pressure and treat congestive heart failure. One of the benefits is improved survival in congestive heart failure.

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Alpha linolenic acid

a type of Omega-3 fatty acid.

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Angina (angina pectoris)

chest discomfort due to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. The decrese in circulation is caused by atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol in the walls of the blood vessels. Women’s angina symptoms may be atypical.

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Angiography (coronary angiography and carotid angiography)

a diagnostic procedure that uses dye to image the coronary arteries. It evaluates the arteries for obstructions responsible for angina or a heart attack. The image produced in angiography is an angiogram.

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Angioplasty (coronary angioplasty, PTCA)

a procedure that opens up a coronary artery without surgery and that usually inserts a stent to keep the artery open.

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Angiotensin II blocker (A-II blocker)

medication used to lower blood pressure and treat congestive heart failure.

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Aortic regurgitation

the incomplete closing of the aortic valve, which causes the blood to leak backward into the left ventricle. Also called aortic insufficiency.

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Arrhythmia

a deviation from the regular heartbeat; arrhythmias range from very slow to abnormally fast or irregular.

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Atherosclerosis

the narrowing of arteries due to the buildup of cholesterol.

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Atrial fibrilliation

an arrhythmia that originates in the heart’s upper chambers and impairs the normal emptying of blood from the atria to the ventricles.

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Atypical symptoms

symptoms of heart attack other than chest discomfort, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, back pain, and lower chest discomfort. Atypical symptoms are more common in women.

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Beta-Blockers

A class of medication used to treat high blood pressure, symptoms of coronary artery disease, and certain arrhythmias. Beta-blockers slow heart rate and lower blood pressure.

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Blood Pressure

The pressure that blood exerts against the inside walls of major arteries. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Systolic pressure is pressure at the time when the heart is pumping blood out to the body; it is the top number of a blood pressure reading. Diastolic pressure is pressure at the time when the heart is relaxed. It is the bottom number of the reading.

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Blood Thinner

A class of medications used to reduce blood clotting.

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Bradycardia

a type of arrhythmia in which the pulse rate is slower than 60 beats per minute.

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Calcium Channel Blocker

A class of medications that lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and treat arrhythmias such as supraventricular tachycardia.

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Cardiac Catheterization

A dye study (angiogram) to evaluate the coronary arteries and the pumping chamber of the heart.

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Cardiovascular Disease

Any disease of the heart, heart valves, blood vessels, and arteries, including stroke, hypertension, rheumatic fever, and heart attack.

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Cardioversion

An electrical shock to the heart, used to regulate its rhythm.

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Carotid Endarterectomy

A surgical procedure to remove plaque from the carotid artery.

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Cholesterol

A waxy, fat-like substance found in the blood that helps produce hormones and cell structures necessary for the body to function normally. Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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Claudication

Pain in the calves on exertion because of peripheral vascular disease, or atherosclerosis of the arteries in the legs.

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Coronary Angiography

A diagnostic procedure that uses dye to image the coronary arteries. It evaluates the arteries for obstructions responsible for angina or a heart attack. The image produced in angiography is an angiogram.

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Coronary Angioplasty

A procedure that opens up a coronary artery without surgery and that usually inserts a stent to keep the artery open.

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Coronary Artery

A blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart muscle.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Grafting (CABG)

Open-heart surgery that uses arteries and veins from elsewhere in the body to go around obstructions in the coronary arteries to improve blood flow to the heart muscle. This procedure uses a heart-lung machine.

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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

A condition in which arteries to the heart muscle are blocked. CAD is responsible for heart attack, unstable angina, angina, and atypical symptoms of angina.

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C-Reactive Protein

A Protein that is increased in the blood in response to inflammation. It is a marker of increased heart disease risk.

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Defibrillation

A high energy electrical shock to the heart intended to normalize the heart rhythm. The machine used to deliver the shock is called the defibrillator.

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Diabetes

A disease caused by elevated blood sugar. In type 1 diabetes, the cause is undersecretion of insulin; in type 2, insulin is underproduced or underutilized and the body's cells are unresponsive to it. Diabetes is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke.

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Diastolic Heart Failure

A type of heart failure where heart muscle function may be normal but the pressure within the heart is elevated, resulting in symptoms of shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. This type of heart failure is seen in coronary artery ischemia, hypertension, and diabetes.

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Diastolic Phase

In the heart's two-phased pumping sequence, the filling phase.

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Dietary Cholesterol

Cholesterol that is found in foods from animals (meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products). Egg yolks and organ meats are especially high in dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol can raise your blood cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease.

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Digitalis

One of the first heart medications used to treat heart failure. It is still used to increase heart muscle contractility. Digoxin is one of the most commonly prescribed types of digitalis.

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Diuretic

A class of medications commonly used to treat elevated blood pressure and to reduce fluid accumulation in heart failure. Also known as water pills.

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Dysphagia

Impairment of the ability to swallow.

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ECG Stress Test (Exercise Electrocardiogram)

A diagnostic test that evaluates for coronary artery disease. You exercise on a treadmill while you are hooked up to an ECG. The doctor monitors the test for ECG changes that indicate narrowed blood vessels.

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Echocardiogram

A diagnostic test that uses an ultrasound probe (with sound waves) to produce images of the heart. The images show the shape, texture, and movement of the valves and measure the size of the heart and its chambers. The test also assesses heart function, a very important determinant of survival after a heart attack.

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Electrocardiogram (ECG)

A diagnostic test that records electrical currents to detect abnormal heart rhythm.

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Endocarditis

Infection of a heart valve.

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Endothelium

The lining of the arterial wall. The endothelium helps to maintain normal function of the artery, including the ability to dilate and contact.

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Fibric Acid Derivative

A class of cholesterol-lowering medications that work primarily to reduce triglycerides and increase HDL ("good") cholesterol.

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Framingham Heart Study

A federally funded study that has tracked 5,209 adults in Framingham, Massachusetts, since 1948 to find out the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease.

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Glycemic Index

A numerical system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar; the higher the number, the faster the blood sugar response.

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HDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein or "good" cholesterol.

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Heart Attack

An incident of heart muscle damage due to the complete blockage of blood flow through a coronary artery. The blockage may be caused by a blood clot or a spasm of the artery.

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Heart Disease

Collectively, the diseases of the heart muscle, the heart valves, and the coronary arteries.

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Heart Rate

The number of times a heart beats per minute.

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Holter Monitor

A small device worn over a twenty-four hour period, that allows continuous ECG recording

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Homocysteine

An amino acid derived from the metabolism of methionine, an essential amino acid predominant in animal protein. At high levels, homocysteine may damage arterial walls, which can cause cholesterol to build up and block the vessels.

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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Therapy that combines estrogen and progestin to treat menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis in post-menopausal women who have a uterus.

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Hydrogenated Fat

A fat that is produced during hydrogenation, a chemical process that changes a naturally unsaturated liquid oil into a solid and more saturated form. The greater the amount of hydrogenation, the more saturated a fat becomes. Saturated fat may raise your blood cholesterol levels.

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Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Elevated pressure in the arteries and a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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Insulin Resistance Syndrome

A lack of responsiveness by the body to the actions of insulin. Despite high levels of insulin, blood sugar levels rise and eventually type 2 diabetes results.

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Ischemia

A reduced supply of blood to the heart because of severely obstructed coronary arteries.

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LDL Cholesterol

Low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol

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Lp(a)

A substance that is structurally similar to a blood-clotting protein and LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Lp(a) may worsen atherosclerosis by promoting the production of plaque and blood clots.

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Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass surgery (MID-CAB)

Surgery that uses a "keyhole" to bypass obstructed coronary arteries; distinguished from open-heart surgery.

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Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Leakage of the mitral valve, in which the blood is pumped backward into the left atrium. Also called mitral valve insufficiency.

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Monounsaturated Fat

A fat that comes from plant foods that are liquid at room temperature, such as canola, peanut, and olive oils, as well as avocados.

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Nitroglycerin

A medication that dilates or widens the blood vessels, including the coronary arteries, and that is used to treat symptoms from obstructed coronary arteries.

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Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (OPCAB)

Surgery for an obstructed coronary artery that does not use the heart-lung machine.

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Omega-3 Fat

A highly polyunsaturated fat found in certain fatty fish (albacore tuna, mackerel, and salmon), flaxseed, flaxseed oil, nuts, canola oil, and soybean oil. The heart benefits of these fats reduce cholesterol; they may also reduce the risk of arrhythmia, lower triglycerides, and lessen the tendency to form blood clots.

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Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

A type of atrial fibrillation that comes and goes.

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Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCR)

A procedure that opens up a coronary artery without surgery and that usually inserts a stent to keep the artery open.

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Pericarditis

An inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart.

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Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

Reduced heart function during the last trimester of pregnancy.

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Plaque (Atheroma)

The buildup of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and other inflammatory substances in the inner lining of an artery.

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Polyunsaturated Fat

A fat that comes from foods that are liquid or soft at room temperature, including plant foods, nuts, seeds, and some seafood. Examples include sunflower, corn, soybean, safflower and sesame oils. Polyunsaturated fats can help to get rid of newly formed cholesterol and reduce cholesterol deposits in the arterial walls.

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Pulmonary Artery

The artery that carries oxygen-depleted blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs.

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Pulmonary Hypertension

A rare condition in which the blood vessels in the lung become constructed, resulting in an inability to oxygenate blood properly and subsequent lung damage.

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Regurgitation

A backward leakage of blood that occurs when a heart valve does not close completely.

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Restenosis

A recurrent blockage in an artery that has previously been opened by an angioplasty or angioplasty with stent.

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Sarcopenia

The age-related loss of muscle mass, associated with reduced muscle strength and reduced aerobic power.

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Saturated Fat

A fat that comes from foods that are firm at room temperature, including fats from animal sources, whole milk dairy products, and some oils.

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Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM)

A class of medications, such as raloxifene (Evista) and tamoxifin (Nolvadex), that are used to build bone in osteoporosis.

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Sinus Node

The heart's natural pacemaker that establishes the heart rate. It consists of cells that generate electrical currents to stimulate the heart's muscle cells.

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Sphygmomanometer

A medical instrument used to measure blood pressure.

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Statin

A class of cholesterol-lowering medications.

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Stenosis

The narrowing of a heart valve, impeding blood flow.

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Stent

A tiny wire mesh that is inserted into an artery after is has been opened by angioplasty.

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Stress Echocardiogram (Exercise Echocardiogram)

A diagnostic test that evaluates for coronary artery obstruction, using ultrasound to image the heart while you exercise. The test looks for exercise-related or wall-motion abnormalities that indicate the presence of coronary artery disease.

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Stress Nuclear Test (nuclear stress test)

A diagnostic test that evaluates for coronary artery disease, using a radioactive isotope to image the heart while you exercise. The test looks for exercise-related abnormalities on a scan of the heart, which indicate the presence of coronary artery disease. The radioactive isotopes used are thallium or technitium sestimibi.

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Stroke

Brain tissue damage due to blood vessel disease. Stroke may be caused by plaque rupture in an artery to the brain that has atherosclerosis, hemorrhage of a blood vessel, or obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot.

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Syndrome X

A heart condition in which chest pain and ECG changes suggest ischemic heart disease but without angiographic findings of coronary artery disease.

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Systolic Heart Failure

Reduced heart muscle function, resulting in shortness of breath and leg swelling. Systolic heart failure may result from long-standing and untreated hypertension, untreated mitral and aortic insufficiency, a viral infection to the heart muscle, hypothyroidism, incessant tachycardia, or a heart attack that causes a large amount of muscle damage.

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Systolic Phase

In the heart's two-phase pumping sequence, the emptying phase.

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Tachycardia

A rapid heart rate that exceeds 100 heartbeats per minute.

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Total Cholesterol

The sum of LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream.

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Trans Fat

A fat that is produced commercially to harden vegetable oils into shortening and margarine. Trans fat are used in many prepared and processed foods and stick margarines. Trans fats appear to have an effect on blood lipid levels that is worse than that of saturated fats, increasing the LDL cholesterol while decreasing HDL cholesterol.

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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A little stroke or "ministroke".

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Triglyceride

A type of blood fat that boosts the process of atherosclerosis.

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Triglyceride

A type of blood fat that boosts the process of atherosclerosis.

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Unstable Angina

Angina in shich the symptoms change: they happen for the first time, or they become more frequent or longer lasting, or they occur at rest.

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Valvular Heart Disease

A condition in which a heart valve does not close completely (regurgitation), resulting in backward leakage or blood, or when it is narrowed (stenosis), impeding blood flow, or both.

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Ventricular Fibrillation

A rapid and disordered heart rhythm from the lower heart chambers. The heart cannot effectively pump blood, which may result in sudden collapse and death unless there is immediate defibrillation.

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Ventricular Tachycardia

A rapid heartbeat originating in the lower chambers, associated with fainting and sudden death.

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Updated: October 20, 2011

Best in New York

In 2010 Dr. Goldberg was celebrated on New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” list, a recognition she also received in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2001 and 2000.
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Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health
207 East 84th St., New York, NY 10128 | (212) 289-2045