Posts for category: Cardiology
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.
Cardiology is the branch of medicine that deals with heart health, fitness, and wellness. Being that the heart is the center point of the body, having a trusted cardiologist is extremely important—especially considering that approximately half of American adults have some form of heart disease according to the American Heart Association! Is it time for your cardiological consultation and evaluation? If so, talk to a doctor at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI.
What Happens at a Cardiology Consultation and Evaluation?
Seeing a cardiologist is similar to going to see your primary care physician, with a few differences, of course. You will have your blood pressure and weight checked. An EKG (electrocardiogram) reading will likely be taken, especially if you have a history of heart-related problems. You will discuss with your cardiologist the medications that you’re currently taking as well as your family history, health history, diet, and any recent symptoms that you've been having. If your doctor identifies a point of concern, you may be referred for further testing.
Cardiology Tests and Treatments
If you are diagnosed with a heart condition or have a possible issue that needs to be addressed, these are some of the tests and treatments that may be prescribed by your Grand Rapids cardiologist:
- Stress tests (your doctor will recommend the specific test you should take).
- Electrocardiograms (check heart activity).
- Head Up Tilt Table (HUTT) Test (this provides your doctor with information about heart rhythms and blood pressure).
- Blood tests.
- Blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart regulating medication.
- Referral for angioplasty and stent placement if needed.
- Nutritional consultations.
Managing Your Heart Health Successfully
Regularly visiting our Grand Rapids cardiologist is one of the steps that you can take to ensure that your heart stays strong and healthy. Here are a few other tips for changing your lifestyle habits for the better:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables and eat less saturated fats. Consider leaning toward a more vegetarian or vegan diet.
- Introduce moderate exercise into your daily routine each week, such as brisk walking, aerobics, and yoga stretches (talk to your doctor about what’s acceptable for your unique case).
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly to ensure that it is within the limits recommended by your cardiologist.
Schedule a Checkup
Whether you’ve been referred by your primary care physician or have decided to get a heart checkup on your own, Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids can help! Call (616) 717-5141 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ronald VanderLaan!