Dr. Bukola Olubi is a cardiologist at Piedmont Fayette,who graciously allowed us to interview her in honor of heart health month.
Q. Why did you choose to go into Cardiology?
A. As a medical student, cardiology appealed to me. I was absolutely fascinated with everything related to the heart.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s extremely rewarding. But it goes both ways in that the people I work with and the patients I interact with on a daily basis also make a difference in my life. The wealth of knowledge that they impart on me through their various experiences is priceless.
Q. What is heart disease and why should we be concerned?
A. Heart disease is an umbrella term for any type of disorder that affects the heart. There are several different forms of heart disease. These include conditions that can affect:
- Blood flow to the heart: A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a clot.
- Disease of the heart muscle. Congestive heart failure can occur when the heart muscle is too weak or too stiff.
- Heart rhythm problems. This occurs when the heart beats to fast, slow or irregularly. This may result in the need for a pacemaker or defibrillator.
- Heart valve problems. A valve replacement/repair may be required if a valve is diseased or infected.
It is important to be concerned about heart disease because if it is left untreated or undiagnosed, many heart conditions can lead to disability and premature death. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Q. What are the “warning signs” and symptoms of a heart attack?
A. The typical signs of a heart attack include chest pain, pressure and a feeling of fullness and squeezing that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes. Atypical signs include pain, discomfort or numbness in one or both arms, back, jaw or even between the shoulder blades. Other warning signs include shortness of breath, heartburn, nausea, lightheadedness and cold sweats. Symptoms to watch out for especially in women is feeling fatigued—sometimes for days or weeks before a heart attack occurs. Women may also have heart flutters or lose their appetite.
Q. What should you do if you experience any of the warning signs?
A. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. Early recognition of warning signs is critical to reducing the chance of death from heart disease, since interventions are most effective within the first several hours after a heart attack.
Q. Are heart attacks the only heart condition we should be worried about?
A. No, there are several different forms of heart disease. Other common types of heart diseases include congestive heart failure, heart rhythm problems like atrial fibrillation (commonly called AFib), infection and diseases of the heart valves, just to mention a few. Nearly five million people in the United States are currently living with congestive heart failure.
Q. Aside from maintaining a proper diet and exercising regularly, are there any other recommendations you have for our readers to help keep a heart healthy?
A. Aside from maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen, I recommend being aware of your family history and your numbers. Make sure to keep your cholesterol in check and see your doctor regularly. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid excessive alcohol intake. If you are man, you should not exceed more than two glasses a day. Women should have no more than one.
Other good measures include:
- Ensure you maintain adequate blood pressure
- Don’t smoke and avoid tobacco exposure
- Optimize blood sugar control
- Follow your doctor’s orders for taking medications
- Have your cholesterol levels checked regularly starting at age 20
Dr. Olubi specializes in clinical cardiology. A graduate of Saba University School of Medicine in the Nertherlands Antilles, she completed her residency at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, where she was chief resident and received the Outstanding Senior Resident Award. Following her residency, Dr. Olubi completed a fellowship in cardiology at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, where she was chief fellow.
She is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and its subspecialty Board of Cardiovascular Disease. A member of the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, Dr. Olubi has a particular interest in women’s health. When she is not working, she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her husband, daughter and son.