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Dr. Shahzad Ahmed is Director of Cardiovascular Medicine & Cardiac Cath Lab at Lower Bucks Hospital. He is an interventional cardiologist whose expertise includes coronary interventions, peripheral vascular disease and structural heart disease. He completed cardiovascular and interventional cardiology training at Drexel University College of medicine and was named “Fellow of the Year” at Drexel. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine and continued his academic appointment during training and after completion of his fellowship. He joined Lower Bucks Hospital in 2020. Under his leadership, the hospital started many new programs, including same-day discharge after percutaneous coronary intervention, radial first approach and carotid stenting.

What are the common symptoms of heart disease?

Generally, heart disease refers to narrowing of heart arteries which supplies blood to heart. Many patients don’t experience the usual symptoms, which include chest pain, shortness of breath or sweating. Women, elderly and patients with diabetes many times do not experience these symptoms and present with shortness of breath, heartburn, fatigue or leg swelling. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek help from a healthcare provider. I have encountered many patients who have had heart attacks whose initial presentation was heartburn or gas, took over-the-counter medications for gastric reflux, and ended up having a massive heart attack.

What are the ways to prevent heart disease especially we are talking in heart months?

We can modify our risk of heart disease if we address risk factors. Major risk factors include genetics and family history, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and sedentary lifestyle.  We cannot control genetics and family history, but we can control the rest of the risk factors.

How we can control blood pressure and high cholesterol?

Dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) are well studied in the control of high blood pressure.  A diet including greens, salads, vegetables, nuts and low salt and the avoidance of processed meat, dairy products which are high in fat, butter, fried foods and baked goods is recommended. Everyone over the age of 20 should get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked.

What diet do you recommend decreasing the risk of heart disease?

The Mediterranean diet has consistently demonstrated more benefits than any other diet.  This includes lots of greens, nuts, and olive oil.

What you do if you develop heart disease?

If you develop blockage in your heart arteries, you should see a cardiac specialist to discuss appropriate treatment. Many times, blockages are treated with medicine, but some blocked arteries need to be opened with small metal mesh called a stent.  Heart arteries used to be accessed through the groin, but advancements in technology allows for access through the wrist. Patients can be sent home the same day after cardiac catheterization or a stent procedure.

What is your recommendation regarding exercise?

It is well studied that exercise reduces the risk of heart and vascular disease. Vascular disease in general can cause stroke and decrease circulation to legs and arms. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. The exercises can be performed for five days for 30 minutes or 75 minutes of intense exercise. Exercise also decreases high blood pressure and cholesterol.

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.

Shahzad Ahmed MD, FACC, FSCAI, RPVI

Director Cardiology

Director Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Lower Bucks Hospital

501 Bath Road Bristol, PA 19007

Phone: (215) 785-5100

Fax: (215) 785- 5101