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By Get Peace of Mind with a Heart Screening
February 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Pacemaker  

Pacemakers help millions of people live full lives despite heart issues. They're among the treatment options recommended by your cardiologist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology. Read on to learn how this device can improve your cardiological health.

What does a pacemaker do?

Pacemakers are implantable devices that control abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. No bigger than a matchbox, the devices send electrical pulses to the heart, which slows or quickens your heart rate to make it more regular. They can also improve the transmission of electrical signals that travel between the upper and lower chambers of your heart.

Pacemakers only send these pulses when they detect abnormalities in your heart rate or rhythm. The device is placed in your chest or abdomen during a surgical procedure.

Today's pacemakers not only control heart rate and rhythm, but they can also send information about your heart rate and your pacemaker to your cardiologist.

What types of symptoms can occur if I need a pacemaker?

If your heart rhythm issue affects your heart's pumping ability, you may notice that you're frequently tired, even though you get plenty of sleep. You may also experience shortness of breath and may even faint. Other symptoms can include dizziness, chest pain, sweating and palpitations. If your problem isn't treated, you may be at increased risk of death.

Heart rhythm issues aren't always serious. In fact, you may experience palpitations if you're stressed or have certain conditions or illnesses, such as high blood pressure or thyroid disease. During a palpitation, you may feel a fluttering sensation in your chest or throat or notice that your heart skipped a beat. Treating contributing factors or underlying diseases may be all you need to do to correct heart rhythm issues in these cases.

In other cases, arrhythmias are caused by more serious problems, such as scar tissue after a heart attack, damage to the heart muscle, coronary artery disease, or valve disorders.

It's important to visit your Grand Rapids cardiologist's office if you experience any of these symptoms, as it's often difficult to tell if you if have a serious heart rhythm problem without an examination.

Give us a call

Are you concerned about a heart issue? Call your cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI, Dr. VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141 to schedule an appointment.

By Get Peace of Mind with a Heart Screening
February 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology

Did you know that sudden cardiac arrest is the number one cause of death among student athletes? When a young person unexpectedly collapses, it could be due to an undetected heart condition. Student heart screenings are an invaluable tool for identifying cardiovascular conditions, which affect one in every 300 children. Student heart screenings are performed at Grand Rapids Cardiology by our skilled cardiologist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, often due to an underlying cardiovascular condition that might have gone undetected. Sudden cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to the heart is impeded due to a blockage in the arteries. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur even when blood is flowing freely through clear arteries.

Sudden cardiac arrest can be due to electrical or structural problems with the heart. If the problem is electrical, that means something is interfering with the heart’s natural rhythm. In such cases, the heart can beat too rapidly. When the problem is structural, the heart might not be able to function properly. Structural problems can be caused by an enlarged heart or a valve that is positioned in the wrong place.

Several warning signs can be an indication of a possible cardiac condition that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Anyone who displays some of the warning signs should undergo a student heart screening at our Grand Rapids cardiology office. Warning signs include:

  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusually rapid heart rate
  • Fainting during exercise
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dizziness

An additional warning sign of a possible heart condition is the unexplained death of a relative younger than 50 years of age. The relative might have had an undetected heart condition that resulted in sudden cardiac arrest.

A student heart screening could save your life. If the screening reveals a potential cardiovascular condition, our cardiologist can help you take steps to protect your heart health and prevent sudden cardiac arrest. To schedule a student heart screening with Dr. VanderLaan, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

By Get Peace of Mind with a Heart Screening
February 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Screening  

Did you know you could be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest even if you are active or work out regularly? Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating, sometimes due to an underlying and undetected cardiovascular condition. Heart screenings can help detect potential problems in otherwise healthy and active adults between 18 and 40 years of age. Get peace of mind with a heart screening performed by Dr. Ronald VanderLaan at Grand Rapids Cardiology.

Heart Screenings

At our cardiology office in Grand Rapids, a heart screening can usually be completed in 30 minutes or less. A typical heart screening consists of a review of your medical history, an electrocardiogram (ECG), and a physical exam. During the physical exam portion of the screening, your blood pressure, height, and weight will all be recorded. The doctor will also listen to your heart.

The ECG provides additional information about your heart and can reveal potential concerns, such as an irregular rhythm or poor blood flow to the heart. Based on information gathered during the ECG, physical exam, and review of your medical history, an echocardiogram might also be performed. An echocardiogram utilizes ultrasound technology to further examine the heart.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Heart screenings can give you peace of mind by providing reassurance that your heart is healthy. They can also reveal a previously undetected heart condition so that steps can be taken to manage the condition and prevent sudden cardiac arrest or other problems. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating both unexpectedly and suddenly. It is not a heart attack, which is the result of blood flow to the heart being blocked by clogged arteries. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur in health and active youth and adults.

Sudden cardiac arrest is often prompted by an underlying heart condition that might have gone undiagnosed. For example, conditions such as an enlarged heart or a heart that beats too rapidly could both potentially lead to sudden cardiac arrest. A heart screening can reveal such conditions so that a plan can be developed to maintain heart health and prevent sudden cardiac arrest. It is important to see a doctor for a heart screening if you develop any of the warning signs associated with a heart condition, which include:

  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting during exercise
  • Unusually rapid heart rate

A heart screening could give you peace of mind, as well as save your life. To schedule a heart screening with Dr. VanderLaan, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
February 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Screenings   Cardiac  

More than 800,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number of men and women annually affected by heart attacks underscores the importance for cardiac risk assessment and prevention. After all, an assessment can reveal your risk level for a heart attack or related problems so that preventive steps can be taken. Here at Grand Rapids Cardiology, in Grand Rapids, MI, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan can discuss cardiac risk assessment and prevention with you.

Heart Screenings

Heart screenings are an effective method for assessing your risk for developing various heart-related problems, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart Attack
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Angina

If tests reveal any areas of concern, the cardiologist can make recommendations for improving heart health and reducing your risk for cardiovascular problems. At our cardiology office in Grand Rapids, some of the tests that can be performed during a heart screening include an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an echocardiogram. An ECG makes it possible to monitor heart rhythm and blood flow to the heart, while an echocardiogram utilizes ultrasound technology to examine the heart. A physical exam is also performed to check things like blood pressure.

Cardiac Care

Maintaining good health and caring for your heart are essential to preventing cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack. If a heart screening indicates you have a moderate to high risk of developing a heart condition, our cardiologist can help you develop a plan to improve your health and prevent cardiovascular problems. Factors that can increase the risk for heart problems include being overweight, not maintaining a healthy diet, lack of physical activity, consuming alcohol excessively, and having diabetes.

There are several steps you can take immediately to begin improving the health of your heart, as well as overall health. Implementing these steps can also dramatically reduce your risk of heart attack. Steps to better cardiac care include:

  • Eating a nutritious and balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Lowering blood cholesterol by reducing the consumption of foods with trans and saturated fats
  • Lowering blood pressure by reducing salt intake
  • Engaging in moderate exercise for 30 minutes every day
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Avoiding or stopping smoking
  • Reducing stress

Concerned? Give Us a Call

Undergoing heart screening to assess your risk for developing cardiovascular disease or other related conditions is an important step toward preventing heart attack and other problems. To learn more about cardiac risk assessment and prevention, schedule an appointment with Dr. VanderLaan by contacting Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
February 20, 2020
Category: General
Tags: EKGs  

Performed by your cardiologist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, here at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, EKGs and stress tests provide valuable information about your heart. Read on to learn how they are performed, and how they can improve your cardiovascular health.

What are EKGs?

Electrocardiograms (EKGs) measure the electrical activity in your heart by showing how long it takes for an electrical impulse to travel from one part of your heart to the next. Evaluating these waves on either a printout or screen helps your cardiologist diagnose heart failure, irregular heartbeats, defects, and blood supply issues, amongst others.

The test is completely painless and only takes a few minutes to complete.

What are stress tests?

Stress tests evaluate how well your heart works when you are active. During this test, an EKG machine monitors your heart's electrical activity while you run on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle. Your heart rate and blood pressure will also be measured during this time.

You will begin the assessment by slowly running or pedaling the bike, before gradually increasing your speed until you reach your target heart rate. The entire test only takes about 10 or 15 minutes, although it may end early if your cardiologist detects any sign of a problem with your heart. If you can't exercise, you can still have a stress test. Instead of running or riding a bike, you'll receive a medication that raises your heart rate.

Stress tests may be recommended:

  • After heart surgery, a cardiac procedure, or a heart attack
  • To make sure you're healthy enough to exercise
  • If you've been experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, or other symptoms that could be caused by a heart problem
  • To determine if exercise affects the rhythm of your heart
  • If you have a heart condition or diabetes

Concerned about your heart health? Give us a call

Call Dr. VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology today by dialing (616) 717-5141.

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