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Posts for category: Cardiology

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
December 04, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: heart disease  

Dr. Ronald VanderLaan provides his patients in Grand Rapids, MI, with personalized cardiovascular care to help improve their life and heart health.

What is heart disease?

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men," according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means more than 600,000 people die of heart disease in the USA, that's 1 in every 4 deaths.

What types of heart diseases are there?

There are many different types including:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart valve disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary Artery Disease


What are ways to prevent heart disease?

There are several ways to prevent heart disease, just ask your Grand Rapids doctor.

  1. You need to try to control your blood pressure because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Make sure you have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  2. If you don't keep your cholesterol and triglyceride controlled. High levels of cholesterol clog your arteries and the risk of you suffering from coronary artery disease and heart attack.
  3. You have to maintain a healthy weight because being overweight increases your risk for heart disease. So make sure you have a healthy diet composed of fruits and vegetables, and get regular exercise.
  4. Don't smoke cigarettes and manage stress by exercising, listening to music, and/or focusing on staying calm.
  5. If you suffer from diabetes, you need to speak with your doctor about how to manage it to protect damaging blood vessels and nerves.
  6. Getting quality sleep is a requirement. Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to function properly. If you suffer from sleep issues, like sleep apnea, you need to tell address the issue as soon as possible.

If you have any questions and/or concerns about heart disease, make sure you contact Dr. Ronald VanderLaan in Grand Rapids, MI, at (616) 747-5141 today!

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

Having a cardiologist is an essential part of your health care. Why? Simple. The heart's the most important organ and you need a doctor, cardiologistlike Dr. Ronald VanderLaan in Grand Rapids, MI, who knows about your medical history. He'll know what you need and what's best for you!

What is a cardiologist?

A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in treating heart diseases and heart abnormalities. Cardiologist, unlike a cardiac surgeon, tests, diagnoses, and carries out some procedures.
A cardiologist reviews a patient's medical history and performs a physical examination by checking the person's weight, heart, lungs, blood pressure, and blood vessels.

A cardiologist may carry out certain procedures such as: heart catheterizations, angioplasty, inserting a pacemaker, angioplasties, stenting, valvuloplasties, congenital heart defect corrections and coronary thrombectomies.

What types of heart diseases does a cardiologist help with?

  • atherosclerosis
  • atrial fibrillation
  • arrhythmias
  • congenital heart disease
  • coronary heart disease
  • congestive heart disease
  • high blood cholesterol
  • hypertension
  • pericarditis
  • ventricular tachycardia
  • high blood pressure


What tests help cardiologists diagnose heart diseases?

  1. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) enables your Grand Rapids doctor to evaluate recorded electrical activity of the heart.
  2. Ambulatory ECG records heart rhythms while someone exercises or goes about their regular activities. Your cardiologist places small metal electrodes on to the chest to record the rhythms.
  3. An exercise test shows heart-rhythm changes while a person is resting and exercising to measure the heart's performance.
  4. Echocardiogram provides an ultrasound picture of heart chambers to make it possible for the cardiologist to examine how well the heart is functioning.
  5. Echocardiography measures how well the heart pumps blood and can detect inflammation, structural abnormalities and infections.
  6. Cardiac catheterization is a small tube that collects data and relieves blockage. It also takes pictures to aid doctors in monitoring the heart's electrical system.
  7. Nuclear cardiology is a noninvasive test that uses radioactive materials to study cardiovascular disorders.

Are you interested in speaking with a cardiologist? If so, call Dr. Ronald VanderLaan at his Grand Rapids, MI, office at (616) 717-5141 today!

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.