Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
Arrhythmias occur when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly.
There are many types of arrhythmias that range from mild to life threatening.
Symptoms of arrhythmias include palpitations or the feeling of heart “skipping” or “fluttering.” In some cases irregular heart rhythms may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
Depending on the type of arrhythmia your doctor may recommend medications or lifestyle changes. In some cases a heart monitor or loop recorder may be recommended to help your doctor determine further treatment options.
Some patients may need pacemakers or defibrillators. Please see the “cardiac monitoring” section for more detailed information about these types of devices.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently. There are many causes for this condition including problems with the heart valves, high blood pressure, alcohol abuse, and coronary artery disease.
Symptoms may include trouble breathing, swelling in the feet and legs, trouble breathing laying flat, weight gain, and feeling bloated. Please talk to your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Coronary Artery Disease (blockage in the heart)
As we age the lining of our arteries becomes damaged and small tears may form on the inside of the blood vessel. This process is called atherosclerosis.
Our bodies try to repair the damage which leads to plaque formation. The healing process forms plaque to build up, commonly known as “blockage.” This can limit or obstruct blood flow to the heart muscle causing symptoms such as chest pain. In severe cases It may cause a heart attack.
Hyperlipidemia (High cholesterol)
This is commonly known as “high cholesterol.” Your medical provider will order a fasting blood test to determine if you have elevated cholesterol.
It is an increased amount of lipids, or fats, in the blood. This is affected by the foods we eat as well as genetics.
High cholesterol levels put us at higher risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Lowering your cholesterol is possible with a healthy diet, exercise, and medication.
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
This condition is also known as high blood pressure which is caused when the force of blood flow of through the arteries is elevated.
It may have no symptoms, but in severe cases may cause headache and vision problems.
High blood pressure increases the risk of other health problems including heart attack, stroke, and aneurysms.
Treatment will include a healthy diet, limiting salt intake, and exercise.
Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
This is also known as a heart attack. It is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the heart muscle. A blockage may be due to plaque formation that occurs over time, or may occur suddenly due to blood clot formation.
Symptoms of heart attack differ in men and women. Typical symptoms are chest pain described as burning, tightness, or heaviness. They may also include trouble breathing, fatigue, nausea, and sweating.
When blood supply to the heart muscle is decreased further issues may result including irregular heart rhythms , permanent weakening of the heart, and even death.
Stroke Treatment and Prevention
The medical term for stroke is cerebral vascular accident. This is caused by interruption of blood flow to the brain which may cause damage to brain tissue and may result in death. Signs of a stroke include: sudden trouble speaking, slurred speech, sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, and sudden drooping of the face.
If you have any of these symptoms it is essential to seek emergency medical attention immediately. Certain treatments for stroke are time sensitive and every minute counts to prevent permanent damage.
There are many small valves in the veins of our feet and legs that help blood travel back to the heart. These valves prevent the backward flow of blood. Over time, these valves may become weak or damaged allowing blood in the legs to travel backwards.
This can cause pain, skin issues such as ulcers, and swelling. The picture above (left) shows the outward signs of varicose veins. The picture above (right) shows the leg after treatment.
If you have these symptoms please make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
Vascular Disease (blockage in legs, etc)
Peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, is the narrowing of arteries in the limbs that causes decreased blood flow. When PVD affects the legs, early stages symptoms include pain when walking. As the disease progresses, skin ulcers may develop on the legs . In severe cases, patients have pain while at rest and further complications from the disease process may result in amputation. Risk factors for PVD include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. If you are experiencing pain in your legs, discoloration, or have ulcers please talk to your doctor.