My Blog

Posts for category: Cardiology

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.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
July 18, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Cardiologist  

Find out when it might be time to see your Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist.

When health problems occur we often turn to our family doctor for the answers; however, sometimes the symptoms we are experiencing cardiologistrequire an evaluation from a cardiology specialist. Wondering whether you could benefit from visiting our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan? Here’s when you should turn to a cardiologist.

 

For Preventive Measures

The goal of medicine is to prevent health problems from happening in the first place, and there are instances when turning to a cardiologist for routine checkups is actually important for preventing problems. You may want to come in once a year for a routine checkup if:

  • You have a family history of heart disease or other heart problems
  • You have a family history or personal history of high cholesterol
  • You are obese
  • You lead a sedentary lifestyle
  • You’re a smoker

Your lifestyle greatly impacts your health and can increase your risk for heart disease. Therefore, everything from smoking to a poor diet can impact the health of your heart. Luckily, these are simple enough to fix. By improving your lifestyle we can help reduce your risk for heart-related complications and enhance your health and well being.

If you are over the age of 40 and want to start a new exercise routine, or if you have certain conditions like diabetes and want to start working out, it’s important to consult a cardiologist who can evaluate your heart health and then come up with an exercise plan that is safe and effective.

 

To Treat Issues and Evaluate Symptoms

Most people don’t actually turn to a cardiologist until they are dealing with certain symptoms. You will want to see a cardiologist if you are dealing with:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in the chest
  • Rapid or irregular heart beat
  • Dizziness
  • High cholesterol

If you notice that your heart palpitations are also accompanied by clammy skin, nausea, fainting, or weakness you should also see your doctor right away, as these could be symptoms of heart disease.

If chest pain is sudden and severe this could be a sign of a heart attack. If you are dealing with symptoms of a heart attack it’s important that you seek immediate medical attention.

No matter if you are dealing with heart palpitations or you just want to schedule a routine heart evaluation, our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiology team is here to make sure you get the care you need. Schedule your next appointment with Grand Rapids Cardiology today.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
July 05, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: heart disease  

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 heartdisease. 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!

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
June 04, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Cardiologist  

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 cardiologistheart 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.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
June 04, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Screenings  

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 heart screeningssports. 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.