How your cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI, can help protect your heart
A stress test and electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG, are important tools to diagnose a variety of heart problems, including heart disease. They are a quick, easy, and non-invasive way to diagnose changes in your heart muscle, heart rhythm, and critical heart functions. Dr. Ronald L. VanderLaan at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, offers a wide range of services to help protect your heart.
If your cardiologist orders a stress test, you will be hooked up to equipment which can monitor your heart. You begin walking slowly on a treadmill, increasing your pace gradually. The treadmill will also be placed at an incline to further stimulate your heart. Your blood pressure and heart rate are recorded at various points during the test.
If you have arthritis, foot problems, or other issues which interfere with walking, your cardiologist may recommend a nuclear stress test. This test involves taking medication which stimulates your heart just like walking on a treadmill.
The American Heart Association recommends a stress test to:
- Diagnose coronary artery disease
- Diagnose causes of chest pain or breathing problems
- Predict the possibility of a future heart attack
- Determine how much activity you can do safely
An EKG is another common test that may be ordered to check for signs of heart disease. Small electrodes are attached to the skin on your arms, legs, and chest. The EKG monitors the electrical activity of your heart and is used to check for:
- Abnormal changes in heart rhythm
- Decreased blood flow to your heart muscle
- Thickened heart muscle and other abnormal changes
- Signs of a heart attack
Stress tests and EKGs are completely painless, non-invasive, fast, and easy, and they can save your life. Don’t take chances about the health of your heart. Your cardiologist can help protect your heart. To find out more about cardiology services, call Dr. Ronald L. VanderLaan at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, today!
Find out the common reasons someone should turn to a cardiologist for care.
Did you know that your heart beats about 115,000 times, pumping about 2,000 galloons of blood every day? That’s a lot of work that your heart has to take on day in and day out. Of course, it’s important to know how to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle and when you might need to turn to a doctor for a cardiology evaluation. Here are some scenarios in which you should schedule an appointment with our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan.
You are Experiencing Chest Pain
While non heart-related issues can cause chest pain, this symptom is typically a classic warning sign of a heart problem. If you find that your chest pain gets worse during activity this could mean that the heart is not getting proper blood flow.
If you are experiencing chest pain along with symptoms of a heart attack it’s important that you call 911 or go to your local emergency room immediately.
You Have High Blood Pressure
According to the CDC, approximately 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, or 1 in every 3 adults. High blood pressure that isn’t managed with medication and a healthy lifestyle could increase your risk for stroke or heart disease.
If you have a family history of high blood pressure it’s important that you are monitoring your blood pressure regularly and seeing a general practitioner at least once a year for an annual exam. Those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure should see their heart doctor in Grand Rapids, MI, regularly for checkups.
You Experience Heart Palpitations
If you are noticing that you heart is fluttering or beating too fast this is known as a heart palpitation. While this issue can be caused by factors such as stress, medication, or exercise, it’s important that our cardiologist evaluates your heart to look for any defects, heart rhythm disorders, or coronary artery disease that could be causing your palpitations.
You’re a Smoker or Have a History of Smoking
If you’re a smoker now or have been in the past you could be at an increased risk for heart disease. Smoking can also increase your risk for high blood pressure and cancer, so it’s important that you find a way to quit smoking if you want to improve the health of your heart.
You Have High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol you could be at an increased risk for a heart attack or heart disease, as this can increase plaque buildup in the arteries. While eating a healthy diet that is low in processed or fried foods can help, you should also talk to your cardiologist about medications that can get your cholesterol levels under control.
Are you living in Grand Rapids, MI, and dealing with any of the issues above? If so, call Grand Rapids Cardiology and let us know what’s going on. We can tell you whether your symptoms warrant further evaluation.
Learn more about cardiac screenings and why students should get screened every year.
Chances are you’ve heard at least one story on the news about a child or teen collapsing or dying of sudden cardiac arrest while playing sports. This is a scary situation, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, sudden cardiac arrest is the number one cause of death in student athletes. Many students and active adults may have some type of cardiovascular condition and not even know it. It’s time to gain peace of mind about your heart by visiting our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan for a heart screening.
While anyone can turn to us for a heart screening, children and teens, athletes and those between the ages of 12-40 who are physically active should visit their heart doctor for annual heart screenings in Grand Rapids, MI, to check their heart rate, blood pressure and the overall health of their heart. This simple screening, which only takes about 15-30 minutes to complete, could just end up saving your life or the life of your child.
The Purpose of Student Heart Screenings
The goal of this screening is for our heart doctor to detect any abnormalities or heart conditions that could cause potential issues for the student, especially while being physically active. During the heart screening, we will perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart to pinpoint potential problems such as a congenital heart defect, enlargement of the heart or an arrhythmia.
During an ECG, electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest, legs and arms. These electrodes pick up the electrical currents from the heart. During an in-office ECG, you will most likely lie down while this is performed. An ECG can be completed in about 5-10 minutes, and is completely non-invasive and painless. There are also no complications associated with this screening tool.
After your ECG, our cardiologist will sit down with you to discuss any findings from your screening and review whether you need any further evaluation or if everything is healthy.
If a patient is dealing with dizziness, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, fainting, trouble breathing, or chest pain they should also schedule an appointment with their cardiologist.
If it’s time to schedule your child’s heart screening before another school year it’s time to call Grand Rapids Cardiology today. Our cardiology team here in Grand Rapids, MI, wants to make sure that patients of all ages get the care they deserve for a heart-healthy life.
Find out why this test is performed and what it can tell you about your heart health.
Has our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan recently told you that you or a family member should get a stress test? If so, you may be wondering what a stress test is and why it’s important to have one performed. Many people throughout the course of their lives may have to undergo this simple exercise test.
What is a stress test and what happens during it?
During a stress test, you’ll be hooked up to a heart monitor. You’ll walk on a treadmill at a slow, steady pace. Over time, your Grand Rapids, MI, heart doctor will increase the speed and the incline. As you pick up speed your doctor will look for any changes in your heart rate, respiration and blood pressure that could signal a problem. This test also allows us to check blood supply as it goes through the arteries and the heart.
Who may need to undergo a stress test?
Your cardiologist may recommend a stress test if,
- You are experiencing certain symptoms such as chest pain or trouble breathing
- You have an irregular heartbeat
- You want to know the appropriate amount and kind of physical activity that is right for you before beginning a new exercise routine
- You are taking new medication for your heart disease and your doctor wants to make sure the medication is working
How do you prepare for a stress test?
Your cardiologist will talk to you about what you should and shouldn’t do prior to your stress test. Please let us know about any medications you are taking, including supplements, as you may not be allowed to take some of these medications before your test. In some cases, your doctor may tell you to abstain from eating or drinking for a few hours before the test.
For your test, you will want to wear the same kind of clothing that you would wear for a run or to the gym. This means comfortable, loose-fitted clothing and good walking shoes that provide your feet with ample support. If you feel the need to stop the test at any time don’t hesitate to tell your doctor.
What will my cardiologist be monitoring during my stress test?
You will be hooked up to a heart monitor that will measure,
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Respiration rate
- Your heart waves (through an electrocardiogram)
- How tired you feel
The stress test itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes but expect your appointment to last anywhere from 40 minutes to one hour.
Do you want to start a new workout routine? Are you experiencing chest discomfort or changes in heart rhythm in Grand Rapids, MI? If so, it’s important that you turn to a cardiologist right away for answers. Call Grand Rapids Cardiology today.
Are you at an increased risk for vascular disease?
Vascular disease is any condition that affects the blood vessels, which circulate blood throughout the body. When there is a problem with how the blood vessels function, serious and even life-threatening complications can occur. Therefore, it’s important to know when to visit our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan for a screening.
While there are certain risk factors such as obesity that can increase your risk for vascular disease, anyone at any time in their life can develop a vascular disease. Plaque can even begin to buildup in the arteries as early as your teen years.
Common Types of Vascular Diseases
Common vascular diseases include,
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Aortic aneurysm
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
- Varicose veins
Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Disease
Since vascular disease can happen to anyone it’s important to be aware of common warning signs so that you can visit your Grand Rapids, MI, heart doctor right away. While different types of vascular disease present with different symptoms it’s important to schedule an appointment with us if you are experiencing any of these issues,
- Painful cramping in your hips, calves or thighs during activity
- Weakness or numbness in the leg
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot compared to the other leg
- Sores or open wounds on the foot or leg that won’t heal
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Changes in vision
- Speech problems (e.g. slurred speech), which is a sign of a stroke
Should you be screened for vascular diseases?
You may be at an increased risk for vascular diseases if:
- You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes
- You have high cholesterol
- You are a smoker
- You have high blood pressure
- You are obese
- You lead a sedentary lifestyle
- You have a family history of vascular disease
If you have any of these risk factors then it’s time to talk to your cardiologist about getting a vascular screening test to check the health of your arteries and blood vessels. Of course, everyone can benefit from routine vascular screenings.
Remember, even those without risk factors may still develop vascular disease so it’s important that you turn to our Grand Rapid, MI, heart specialists if you are experiencing any changes to your health. Call Grand Rapids Cardiology today to learn more.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.