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By Grand Rapids Cardiology
November 08, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Screening  

Student heart screenings are a simple, quick method to identifying pre-existing heart conditions. Each year, many young students die from heart Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) due to abnormal heart structure or abnormal rhythms. Sudden death is a catastrophe that parents should attempt to prevent. Led by Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, Grand Rapids Cardiology (located in Grand Rapids, MI) offers student heart screenings to their patients. Read on to learn about student heart screenings.

What is a student heart screening?

To help detect young people who are at risk for life-threatening heart conditions, medical professionals offer student heart checks that include a medical history evaluation, physical exam, blood pressure check, electrocardiogram, and echocardiogram. The visit usually takes 30-60 minutes - time well spent!

What causes sudden cardiac arrest?

The most common cause of SCAs is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). The heart’s electrical activity becomes so chaotic that it can’t pump blood to the rest of the body. Conditions that can trigger SCA include heart birth defects, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, and valvular heart disease. SCA can also happen in people who have no known heart disease.

What are the signs of sudden cardiac arrest?

In many cases, SCA strikes young students without warning. However, in some cases, there are signs that people may have a heart condition that put them at risk of a SCA. These signs include chest pain, fainting, excessive shortness of breath, palpitations, and unexplained seizures. Keep in mind that many heart conditions have no warning signs. That’s why student heart screenings are important.

Why are student heart screenings important?

SCA is the #1 killer of student athletes in the United States. Most children are not adequately screened for heart issues. Thousands of students are walking around with serious undiagnosed heart issues. Often times, the first symptom or sign of a hidden heart issue is sudden death. Every hour, every day we lose a child to SCA.

You have the power to manage your child's heart health. Don't wait! Contact Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141 today to schedule an appointment for a student heart screening for your child in Grand Rapids, MI. A student heart screening can be lifesaving!

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
September 24, 2019
Category: Cardiology

Cardiac angiography is also referred to as coronary angiography or angiogram and is a procedure for observing blood flow through the coronary arteries. A cardiac angiography can reveal if the pathway through the arteries has narrowed or become blocked and is restricting blood flow to the heart. At Grand Rapids Cardiology, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan is your cardiologist for cardiac angiography in Grand Rapids, MI.

Importance of Cardiac Angiography

The function of the coronary arteries is to carry blood to the heart. The flow of blood to the heart can be impeded if the coronary arteries become clogged due to a buildup of plaque, cholesterol, or other substances. When blood flow is reduced, a blood clot can form. Blood clots can block the flow of blood to the heart, which can ultimately result in a heart attack.

Cardiac angiography allows your Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist to observe the coronary arteries and determine if additional procedures or lifestyle changes are needed to clear blockages in the arteries. Procedures for clearing narrowed or blocked coronary arteries include stent or angioplasty, medical therapy, and coronary artery bypass surgery. Lifestyles changes that can help include eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol, and quitting smoking.

The Procedure

The procedure for performing a cardiac angiography involves taking an X-ray image of the coronary arteries. A thin catheter tube is inserted into the arm or another area of the body. A special dye is then administered into the tube and travels through the arteries. The dye makes it easier for the arteries to show up on the X-ray image. The images then can be examined to determine if the arteries are affected by blockages or narrowing. If so, the cardiologist can discuss treatment options for clearing the arteries so blood can flow to the heard unimpeded.

A cardiac angiography could alert you and your cardiologist to potential coronary problems. For cardiac angiography procedures in Grand Rapids, MI, schedule a consultation with cardiologist Dr. VanderLaan by calling Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
September 24, 2019
Category: Cardiology

Every year in the U.S., approximately 735,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S. These findings underscore the importance of proper cardiac care. At Grand Rapids Cardiology, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan is your cardiologist for cardiac care in Grand Rapids, MI.

Heart Health and Health Conditions

Maintaining a healthy heart is important for your overall health. When heart health is compromised, a number of health problems can develop. Examples of health problems associated with poor heart health include:

  • Hypertension — high blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis — hardening of the arteries
  • Cardiomyopathy — disease that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood
  • Angina — chest pain caused by diminished blood flow to the heart
  • Heart attack — occurs when blood flow to a section of the heart is blocked
  • Stroke — heart problems can increase the risk of stroke

Factors that increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease and related conditions include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, a poor diet, and a lack of physical activity. Seeing a cardiologist regularly for cardiac care in Grand Rapids, MI is an important part of caring for your heart. A cardiologist can monitor your heart health and help you implement lifestyle changes to promote a healthier heart and reduce your risk of heart-related health problems.

Proper Cardiac Care

There are several things a person can do to improve heart health and reduce the risk of developing health problems such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, or heart disease. Steps that can be taken to improve heart health and reduce the risk of a heart attack include:

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

Proper cardiac care can also include certain medications prescribed by your doctor. For example, medications are available for lowering blood pressure or cholesterol levels when lifestyle changes alone are not enough.

Proper cardiac care is important for maintaining a healthy heart and reducing your risk of developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack. A cardiologist can help you maintain better heart health. For cardiac care in Grand Rapids, MI, schedule an appointment with Dr. VanderLaan by calling Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 30, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Angioplasty  

Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, and when your heart is unhealthy your whole body suffers. Heart attack and heart disease are leading causes of death for men and women in America, but there are treatments available.

If you or someone you know has suffered a heart attack, you may have heard of angioplasty. Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, is here to walk you through the procedure.

What is an Angioplasty?

An angioplasty is a procedure which opens up an artery which has been clogged by fatty plaque. Plaque can build up and hinder the flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs. An artery can become narrowed or blocked during heart attack.

How is the procedure done?

Your Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist uses a catheter inserted in the groin or arm to weave through a blood vessel to access the blocked area. At the end of the catheter is a balloon-like attachment which when inflated will force the clog out. Once deflated, the balloon will be pulled out with the catheter.

Your cardiologist may also insert an expandable tube called a stent during the procedure to ensure the artery stays clear and there is no risk of plaque impeding the space.

Following the procedure, which usually takes around an hour, you will need time to recover and have your vitals monitored. The area of catheter insertion will be bandaged and watched for bleeding overnight in the hospital.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be required to rest for a few days post procedure, with heavy lifting and exercise off limits for up to a week. Your Grand Rapids, MI, specialist may prescribe a blood thinner to be taken continuously for anywhere from one month to one year based on whether your angioplasty required a stent or if you have a high risk of bleeding.

You may also asked to participate in cardiac rehabilitation, during which you will be coached on health eating and exercise.

Heart attacks are scary, but an angioplasty is not a procedure to be feared. Relatively quick and very effective, an angioplasty can save your life.

If you have questions about heart health and treatment, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 20, 2019
Category: Cardiology

Vascular disease refers to conditions that affect the blood vessels and arteries. The three most common forms of non-cardiac vascular disease are stroke, peripheral artery disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm, which can be life-threatening and difficult to diagnose. Vascular screenings help to find problems like arterial blockages or damage before they can life-threatening. Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, a cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI, offers vascular and heart disease screenings and treatment for children and adults.

Vascular Screenings and Cardiology Services in Grand Rapids, MI

Vascular screenings allow the cardiologist to see what's happening inside your arteries and blood vessels. Issues like blockages and plaque buildup usually develop over time and don't produce noticeable symptoms in the early stages, making it difficult to know if you are at risk for a stroke or aneurysm.

As with many serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses and conditions, early detection is one of the best defenses against vascular disease. Screenings can detect existing problems and give you and your doctor a better idea of your potential risk.

Vascular screenings are typically recommended for adults aged 60 and up, patients with a family history of vascular disease, and for people with underlying health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of artery disease. Smokers are also at risk for vascular problems.

How Vascular Screenings Work

Vascular tests are non-invasive and designed to check the strength and function of the major blood vessels and arteries. The screening involves ultrasound and blood pressure readings to check your carotid artery and abdominal aortic artery for blockages, aneurysm, or other abnormalities. The screening will also check the blood pressure in your ankles for signs of peripheral artery disease, which affects the blood flow in the limbs and is especially dangerous for people with diabetes.

Many people at risk for stroke and aneurysms are not aware of their risks until it's too late. Vascular screenings are an effective and potentially life saving tool.

Find a Cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI

For more information about vascular screenings and cardiac disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, contact Grand Rapids Cardiology by calling (616) 717-5141 to schedule an appointment with Dr. VanderLaan today.

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