Q: What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is an event that can damage your heart. Sometimes, it can be life-threatening, even fatal. Occasionally, someone may have a heart attack and not even know it. The cause of most heart attacks is a sudden clot in a blood vessel that feeds the heart. This blood vessel may be filled with fat and a substance called “plaque” that slows blood flow in the artery or eventually breaks open, causing a clot that stops blood flow to an area of your heart muscle.
Q: What are symptoms of a heart attack?
The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes these major symptoms of a heart attack:
Q: What can I do to reduce the risk of having a heart attack?
There are three uncontrollable risk factors: age, gender and family history of heart disease. All of the remaining risk factors are controllable: elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, elevated stress levels, obesity, lack of regular exercise, illicit drug use and poor dietary habits. These can be controlled by lifestyle changes and/or medications.
Q: When should I see a Cardiologist?
It is important to see a Cardiologist whenever you have concerns that something may be wrong with your heart or major blood vessels. Symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, leg cramps while walking, dizziness, light headedness, palpitations or the feeling of an irregular heart beat are just some of the reasons why someone should see a cardiologist. In some cases, it may be on an emergency basis.
Q: What is heart disease?
Another term for heart disease is coronary artery disease. When you have coronary artery disease, blood flow to your heart muscle can be decreased. This can be caused by inflammation or by a fatty material called plaque. Plaque can build up within the walls of your arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle itself. If this artery becomes totally blocked, either by the plaque or a blood clot, then a heart attack (or myocardial infarction) can occur.
Q: Why should I care about heart disease?
If you have a heart attack and do not change your lifestyle and control your risk factors, additional damage to the heart, the development of heart failure, disability or even death can occur. One of the most serious complications of heart disease is heart failure, where the heart is unable to pump (squeeze) effectively to meet the needs of the body.
Q: What are the risk factors of heart disease?
Some pre-existing personal conditions as well as certain lifestyle choices can contribute to your level of risk for heart disease. High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes and obesity can all increase a person's risk of heart disease.
Q: What can I do to lower my cholesterol level?
Lifestyle changes such as stop smoking, lose weight, eat a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol—less red, fatty meat, more chicken and fish, increase fiber, fruits and vegetables in your diet—limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and regular exercise can help improve lipid levels. If lifestyle changes are not enough, you may need to take medication.
Q: What can I do to lower my blood sugar?
If the blood sugar is not too high, lifestyle changes such as losing weight; eating a diet that is low in fat, excessive calories and sugar; limiting the amount of alcohol you drink; and exercising regularly may be first treatment plan. If lifestyle changes are unsuccessful, medications taken by mouth or insulin injections may be necessary.
Q: I'm scheduled for a procedure. Should I do anything to prepare?
Depending on the treatment, your doctor may inform you special instructions to prepare for the procedure. If you are unsure, contact our office for more information regarding your scheduled procedure.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
Coronary Artery Disease
Heart Failure (Congestive Heart Failure)
Peripheral Artery Disease
Valvular Heart Disease
Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome