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By Grand Rapids Cardiology
May 26, 2020
Category: Cardiology

When it comes to heart disease and stroke, hypertension is a major contributing factor. This makes checking your blood pressure absolutely critical, especially since most people don’t exhibit many symptoms related to the condition. Fortunately, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, specialize in cardiovascular disease and can help detect and treat high blood pressure before it becomes life-threatening.

More about Hypertension

Blood pressure refers to how hard the heart is working to pump oxygenated blood all over the body, including the brain. A high blood pressure indicates the heart is pumping harder than normal to supply oxygen. If not treated properly, uncontrolled hypertension can lead to damaged blood vessels, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, metabolic syndrome, and dementia. If you’re showing any signs of complications due to heart trouble, head straight to our Grand Rapids office for a checkup.

Causes of Hypertension

This condition might be caused by underlying issues like obstructive sleep apnea or problems with the kidney or thyroid. There are also a number of risk factors that can help determine how much of a threat high blood pressure really is. These include smoking, being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, having a diet that is high in sodium or low in potassium, excessive alcohol consumption, genetics, older age, and high stress.

Treating High Blood Pressure

Hypertension can be treated by adopting a generally healthier lifestyle, with exercise, moderation with alcohol and dieting, reducing salt, and limiting risk factors in one’s own life. The most important thing to do is get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Need a Consultation?

Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, can help you maintain your heart’s health. Call our specialist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, at (616) 717-5141 or visit to book an appointment.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
April 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: heart disease  

Improving your lifestyle can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease.

No matter whether you have a family history of heart disease or not, it’s important that you are leading a heart-healthy lifestyle if you wish to lead a long, happy life. With heart disease being the most common cause of death in the US, according to the CDC, our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan wants you to take your heart health seriously. Here are some ways to reduce your risk,

Alter Your Diet

What you eat has the ability to improve your heart health or lead to disease. A healthy diet involves fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (choosing chicken breast and fish over red or processed meats like bacon), nuts, legumes and low-fat dairy. Avoid foods high in sodium and trans fats.

Workout Regularly

Exercising offers a variety of benefits including supporting a strong, healthy heart. Everyone should be getting about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week or 75 minutes of intense physical activity (e.g. running; sprints; boxing) or a combination. You should also incorporate strength training into your routine at least twice a week. Start gradually and increase the intensity of your workouts over time.

Manage Your Stress

If you are battling chronic stress, this can certainly take a toll on your heart. Long-term stressors can affect blood pressure and elevate your heart rate, which puts more stress on your heart. If you are struggling with stress and anxiety talk with our cardiologist to find ways to better manage your symptoms. You may find that regular exercise is a great outlet, or you may see results through regular meditation or deep breathing.

Get Regular Wellness Checkups

Every adult should be visiting the doctor at least once a year for checkups and screenings. When visiting your doctor be honest about your current lifestyle, health and diet. Talk with your doctor about your risk for heart disease and any screenings that may be performed. Lifestyle factors that play a role in heart disease can easily be altered. Those with a family history of heart disease should visit a doctor at least once a year to know their status.

We know that the pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives right now, but we don’t want that to change the medical care you need or have come to rely on. If you are dealing with any new or worsening heart problems, please call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

April 13, 2020
Category: General
Tags: Hypertension  

FAQs about Hypertension

Hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure, is one of those sneaky conditions that can affect your health without causing noticeable symptoms. Fortunately, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, your cardiologist at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, can help you manage your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing hypertension-related health conditions.

Why is high blood pressure dangerous?

The pressure created by the pumping action of your heart helps blood reach every part of your body. Higher than normal pressure causes the heart to work harder and damages the vessels that transport the blood. When the blood vessels become damaged, you're more likely to develop atherosclerosis. The condition occurs when plaque builds up and hardens in your arteries, reducing blood flow and limiting the amount of oxygen the heart receives. Unfortunately, atherosclerosis is also a factor in high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, angina, peripheral artery disease, irregular heartbeat, vision loss, and erectile dysfunction.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

You can have high blood pressure even if you feel perfectly fine. In fact, hypertension rarely causes symptoms unless it's severe. Even though you might not experience any symptoms, your blood vessels and heart may still be damaged by the condition.

If you have severe hypertension, you may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Blood in the urine
  • A pounding sensation in your ears, neck or chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

If you experience these symptoms, call your Grand Rapids heart doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

How can I reduce my hypertension risk?

Embracing a heart-healthy diet is a simple way to lower your risk of hypertension. Fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, lean meats and whole grains provide the vitamins and nutrients you need for good health. Avoid or limit salty or sugary foods and use unsaturated fats when preparing meals.

Regular blood pressure screenings are also important. Although your blood pressure may have always been fine in the past, your risk of hypertension rises as you grow older.

If you are diagnosed with hypertension, your cardiologist can recommend lifestyle modifications and prescribe medications that lower your blood pressure, if necessary.

Concerned? Give us a call

Protect your health with hypertension treatment and screenings at Grand Rapids Cardiology! Call your Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist, Dr. Vanderlaan, at (616) 717-5141 to schedule your appointment.


By Grand Rapids Cardiology
April 13, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Hypertension  

Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. Although your blood pressure normally fluctuates throughout the day depending on what you are doing, if your blood pressure is constantly above normal, you may have hypertension.

Ronald L. VanderLaan is a cardiologist in Grand Rapids that treats many patients who suffer from hypertension—read on to learn how he can help your blood pressure issues.

High Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer

An estimated one in three Americans suffers from high blood pressure. It is often called the silent killer because many people experience no symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, they may include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain

Even without symptoms, high blood pressure can still cause damage to your heart and blood vessels. Left untreated, high blood pressure can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack. Fortunately, hypertension is easily detected if you have a routine blood pressure check. Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor will help you manage your high blood pressure.

Types of Hypertension

There are two types of hypertension:

  • Primary Hypertension: Also known as essential hypertension, this type usually develops gradually over several years. The cause of primary hypertension is not known.
  • Secondary Hypertension: In this case, hypertension is caused by an underlying condition. Its onset can be sudden, and the blood pressure is usually higher than in cases of primary hypertension. Conditions that can cause secondary hypertension include:
    • Kidney problems
    • Sleep apnea
    • Adrenal gland tumors
    • Congenital defects
    • Thyroid problems

How you can Take Control of Your Blood Pressure

You can significantly lower your blood pressure by making some relatively simple lifestyle adjustments, such as:

  • Maintain a healthy weight level
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat regular meals
  • Avoid saturated fat
  • Reduce your sodium intake
  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Get regular aerobic exercise
  • Limit your intake of alcohol
  • Limit your intake of caffeine

When it comes to high blood pressure, making these simple lifestyle changes can mean the difference between life and death.

If you live in Grand Rapids, MI, and are concerned about hypertension, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

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.

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