Coffee and Your Heart

At one time, it was believed drinking coffee could be bad for your heart.  However, over the years through more research, a morning cup of joe can actually be beneficial.

A recent Harvard University study found people who drank three to five cups of coffee daily were less likely to die prematurely from any cause. It also found that they were specifically less likely to die from heart disease and stroke compared to people who drank little or no coffee. And drinking more than five cups of coffee per day didn’t favorably affect risk of death.  

Dr. Andrew Zurick, a cardiologist at Saint Thomas Heart in Nashville, TN, says drinking in moderation is the key.  If too much coffee is consumed, the caffeine in coffee can raise your blood pressure mainly because caffeine stimulates the heart and blood vessels.  Dr. Zurick says if you notice changes in blood pressure or elevated anxiety after drinking coffee, you should stop and consult your primary care physician.

Optimum Heart Rate While Exercising

It’s a simple math formula to figure out where your heart rate needs to be to get the best workout possible.  The formula can also save your life.

Watch the video as Dr. Andrew Zurick, a cardiologist at Saint Thomas Heart in Nashville, Tennessee explains how to calculate your maximum heart rate by simple subtraction.

Is Red Wine Good for Your Heart?

Is it really possible red wine can be good for you? Dr. Andrew Zurick, a cardiologist at Saint Thomas Heart in Nashville, Tennessee says research shows there are certain substances like antioxidants in red wine that can be good for your heart. The antioxidant in red wine called resveratrol (a natural compound found in red grape skin) has shown to protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart reducing the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

But could it just be a matter of income? Often people who can afford to drink red wine can also afford to eat healthier or keep a regular workout schedule.

But, Dr. Zurick says more research needs to be done and advises drinking red wine in moderation. Watch the video to find out more.

Inaugural “Give & Get” Blood Drive and Health Fair Kicks-off at Nissan Stadium

The American Red Cross partnered with the Tennessee Titans and Saint Thomas Health for the first-ever “Give & Get” Blood Drive and Health Fair on September 8, 2015.   The event in the East Club at Nissan Stadium.  Everyone who came out to give blood received a football stress ball and the donors who pre-scheduled an appointment received a commemorative t-shirt.
Saint Thomas Health held a health fair which included blood glucose screenings, blood pressure checks, cancer care, injury assessments, cooking demonstrations and nutrition tips.   “Saint Thomas Health values collaboration in saving lives and improving our community’s health,” said Dawn Rudolph, Chief Experience Officer at Saint Thomas Health.  “We hope that donors will enjoy the health fair activities and spend some time taking care of themselves as they serve others.”
Titans Cornerback Jason McCourty served as the ambassador for the event.   He signed autographs for the donors and spoke with the media. Jason and his twin brother, Devin, have teamed up together in the “Tackle Sickle Cell” campaign by sharing information about sickle cell disease and the importance for blood donations for patients with the disease.

Young adults, women experience only slight declines in heart disease deaths

Study Highlights


  • Heart disease deaths have declined dramatically over the past three decades in people over age 65.
  • Improvements in death rates have slowed in people under age 55, particularly among women.
  • Greater attention to risk factors like obesity and diabetes in young people may further lower death rates.

Deaths from heart disease have declined dramatically over the last few decades but young people, particularly women, are not sharing equally in that improvement, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Using data on adults age 25 and older, researchers tracked annual percentage changes in heart disease death rates between three time periods: 1979-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2011. Death rates in adults 65 and over declined consistently over the decades, with accelerating improvements since 2000.

In contrast, men and women under age 55 showed clear declines in annual death rates between 1979 and 1989 — down 4.6 percent in women and 5.5 percent in men — but then improvement slowed. The annual change in death rates in young women showed no improvement between 1990 and 1999 and has only fallen one percent since 2000. Death rates in young men fell 1.2 percent between 1990 and 1999 and 1.8 percent since 2000.

“We think that these trends are not related to differences in treatment and hospitalization, but rather to a lack of effective preventive strategies for young people, particularly women,” said Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and professor and chair of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia. “This population has not been studied as much as older groups, partially because they are generally considered to be at low risk. There is an urgent need for more research.”

Escalating rates of diabetes and obesity in younger adults could contribute to the lack of improvement.

“Some reports suggest that diabetes and obesity may pose a greater heart disease risk in younger women than in other groups, and women need to become more aware of the heart risks of these conditions,” Vaccarino said.

Researchers may need to look beyond traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol to improve heart disease prevention in adults under age 55, researchers suggest.

“Non-traditional risk factors may be especially important in the younger age group,” Vaccarino said. “For example, in other research we and others have done, factors such as stress and depression are particularly common among young women with early-onset heart disease, and are powerful predictors of heart disease or its progression in this group.”

Co-authors are Kobina A. Wilmot, M.D.; Martin O’Flaherty, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc.; Simon Capewell, M.D., D.Sc.; and Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute partially funded the study.

Saint Thomas Health Offers FREE Breastfeeding Clinic

Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital is now offering a FREE Breastfeeding Outreach Clinic to support, educate, and encourage breastfeeding while helping to improve the health of the community. It is for new or experienced mothers who would like extra support with their feeding practices. The clinic will be staffed with experienced, and certified lactation consultants.  The clinic is located in the Prenatal Classroom on the 3rd floor of Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville.


Clinic Hours:

Mondays : 9am – 2pm

Thursdays : 9am – 2pm



The Result Of Eating Too Much Salt Can Be Measured In Blood Pressure

American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report


Study Highlights:

  • Eating too much salt long term or gradually increasing salt consumption over time both significantly raise the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • A study of adults with normal blood pressure in Japan highlights the importance of maintaining a lower-salt diet over a lifetime, and confirms previous findings of a strong association between dietary salt and elevated blood pressure.

Embargoed until 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET, Wed., July 29, 2015

DALLAS, July 29, 2015 — People who gradually increase the amount of salt in their diet and people who habitually eat a higher salt diet both face an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a Japanese study of more than 4,000 people who had normal blood pressure, almost 23 percent developed high blood pressureover a three year period. Those who ate the most salt were the most likely to have high blood pressure by the end of the study. Participants who gradually increased their sodium intake also showed gradually higher blood pressure.

The researchers estimated the amount of salt an individual was consuming by analyzing the amount of sodium in the urine of people who were visiting their healthcare provider for a routine check-up, and conducted follow-up urine analysis for approximately three years.

At the conclusion of the study, the people consuming the least amount of sodium were consuming 2,925 mg per day and those consuming the most sodium were consuming 5,644 mg per day.

“In our study, it did not matter whether their sodium levels were high at the beginning of the study or if they were low to begin with, then gradually increased over the years — both groups were at greater risk of developing high blood pressure,” said Tomonori Sugiura, M.D., Ph.D. the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in the Department of Cardio-Renal Medicine and Hypertension at the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in, Nagoya, Japan.

This study highlights the importance of maintaining a lower-salt diet over a lifetime, and confirms the findings of other studies that show strong associations between salt in the diet and high blood pressure.

Sugiura said that although the research focused on Japanese participants, the findings apply to Americans as well.

“Americans consume an average of nearly 3,500 milligrams of sodium a day, which is about 1,000 milligrams more than any public health group recommends,” Sugiura said. “Reducing sodium intake can save lives, save money and improve heart health — no matter what background or nationality a person is.” The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 1,500 mg per day of sodium.

In some people, sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden to your heart. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks, stroke and heart failure.

More than 75 percent of sodium in the U.S. diet is found in the salt added to processed food. In the United States, about 9 of every 10 people consume too much sodium. The Salty Six foods – breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches – are the leading sources of overall sodium in the U.S. diet.

Co-authors of the study are Hiroyuki Takase, M.D., Ph.D; Genjiro Kimura, M.D., Ph.D; Nobuyuki Ohte, M.D., Ph.D; and Yasuaki Dohi, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Uric Acid May Lessen Women’s Disability After Stroke

American Heart Association

Uric acid – a chemical at high levels can lead to serious illness – may lessen women’s disability after stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

High levels of uric acid can lead to kidney stones or the inflammatory arthritic condition known as gout and is linked with heart and vascular problems and diabetes. However, in a new study, 42 percent of women treated with uric acid therapy following a stroke had little to no disability after 90 days compared to 29 percent of women treated with a placebo. Women also had less dead tissue resulting from lack of blood supply after receiving uric acid. Among men, there was essentially no difference between uric acid treatment and placebo.

“Women fare better with uric acid therapy because they tend to have less uric acid in their bodies,” said Ángel Chamorro, study lead author and director of Barcelona’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, Hospital Clinic Chamorro. “While high levels of uric acid can lead to other health problems, uric acid also helps protect tissue from harmful molecules known as free radicals.”

Researchers re-analyzed 2014 data based on URICO-ICTUS, a randomized, double-blind trial of patients admitted to stroke centers in Spain. Participants included 206 women and 205 men. All participants were given therapies to remove the clots, while half in each gender group were also given either 1000 mg of uric acid therapy or a placebo through IV infusion.

In ischemic stroke – the most common form of stroke – a clot lodges in an artery supplying oxygen to the brain. When doctors successfully remove a clot, oxygen re-enters the brain, but it also releases free radicals, which may damage surrounding tissue. Uric acid counteracts the release of the free radicals, minimizing the damage.

Women in the study were, on average, seven years older than the men, and they were more likely to have irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and other conditions. As younger, healthier stroke victims are treated, the results should be even more impressive, Ángel said.

More data are needed before uric acid becomes standard clinical practice. Among other directions, researchers want to determine whether uric acid also could benefit men — perhaps those with naturally lower levels of uric acid or high levels of blood sugar and other metabolic conditions that fuel the release of free radicals.

Each year in the United States about 55,000 more women have a stroke than men, and stroke kills and disables more women than men each year.

Whats Up Doc? Why do my Joints pop?

Dr. Philip Karpos from Saint Thomas Health and Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance talks about what makes your joints pop and will it cause arthritis.

New Moms Get New Look on OB Floor at Saint Thomas Midtown

Oh baby!  Wait until you see the renovations on the OB floor at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.  Saint Thomas Health is a part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

Saint Thomas Women’s Care at Midtown has been making exciting renovations to enhance the experience of the many families it serves each year.  The project started last summer.  More than 6,000 babies are born annually at the hospital, that’s the most among all hospitals in middle Tennessee.

Some of the updates include a new registration area, renovated triage rooms, labor and delivery rooms with modern finishes, updated bathrooms and flat screen televisions.

The Family Waiting Room has had a complete overhaul.  It’s a serene space where your family can gather and await for the arrival of your new addition(s).  The Titans FanZone Waiting Room is new and located close to the postpartum rooms.  This relaxing space includes comfortable lounging, vending machines and a flat screen TV for visitors.  The rooms is filled with Titans memorabilia!

The Family Learning Center has also been completely updated where classes are offered to families prior to delivery.  The space is also home to our *free* outpatient lactation clinic where moms can receive breastfeeding support from a certified lactation consultant.