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Posts for category: Cardiology

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
January 21, 2019
Category: Cardiology

Find out what a stress test can tell us about the health of your heart.

Cardiology Stress TestHas our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan recommended that you or a loved one get a stress test? If so, you may be wondering what this test involves and why it’s necessary. To put it simply, a stress test is performed so that our cardiologist can see just how well your heart is functioning.

 

Who needs a stress test?

If you are displaying any symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or an irregular heartbeat, we may advise you to get a stress test to figure out what’s causing your symptoms. A stress test is one of the best tools for being able to diagnose any heart problems.

If you are at an increased risk for heart disease, have diabetes, or possess any other risk factors, your doctor may recommend that you get a stress test. You may also need one to see how well the heart is responding to certain medications.

 

What is involved in a stress test?

During a stress test at our Grand Rapids practice, our cardiologist will check your vitals such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. We will also evaluate whether you are out of breath or fatigued during certain levels of physical exertion. This stress test can shed light on certain heart issues that may be present such as poor blood supply to certain arteries in the heart.

The test only takes about 15 minutes and patients won’t be allowed to eat or drink for 2 hours prior to the test. Patients should also avoid caffeine, which can impact their results. As you will be walking and running at different speeds on a treadmill, it’s important that you wear comfortable clothes.

Before beginning the test, we will apply electrodes to specific areas of the body, which will allow us to measure electrical activity within the heart during your test. If the patient is unable to perform an exercise stress test, an IV will be administered that will deliver medication to stimulate the heart in the same way as exercise.

 

Concerned? Give us a Call!

If you are experiencing chest pain or other symptoms in Grand Rapids, MI, it’s important that you don’t ignore these issues. The team at Grand Rapids Cardiology offers a full range of diagnostic testing to figure out what’s going on and how to best treat the problem. Call us today at (616) 717-5141 to learn more about the services we offer!

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
January 10, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Hypertension  

High blood pressure affects about 75 million people in the United States. Known medically as hypertension, high blood pressure can lead to dangerous or even deadly conditions like heart attack or stroke. Knowing the signs and symptoms of hypertension can help you spot its presence early to get the help you need. Find out more about high blood pressure by reading below, and contact Dr. Ronald VanderLaan at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, for personal treatment.

 

What is hypertension?
Your blood pressure is determined by two factors: the amount of blood that your heart pumps through the arteries and the resistance it meets when doing so. The less blood your heart pumps and the wider your arteries, the lower your blood pressure. Conversely, when the heart pumps more blood through narrower arteries, a higher blood pressure occurs. Though high blood pressure (known medically as hypertension) can occur for years with no symptoms, it is nonetheless a serious health risk and greatly increases your chances of experience heart attack or stroke.

 

What causes hypertension?
Though doctors do not know the exact cause of high blood pressure, there are factors which are known to contribute to its presence:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Genetics
  • Old age
  • Chronic conditions like kidney disease
  • Too much salt
  • Above-average alcohol consumption
  • Sleep apnea

 

What happens if high blood pressure goes unchecked?
High blood pressure causes serious damage to your body and puts you at a greater risk of serious health issues like heart attack and stroke. If left untreated, hypertension can damage the arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, and can even cause sexual dysfunction. Having yourself checked for hypertension and treating its effects early will greatly reduce your risk of serious health conditions which can lead to health complications, emergencies, and even death.

 

Hypertension in Grand Rapids, MI
If you think you have hypertension, it is never too late or too early to begin treatment. If you are at all concerned about having the condition, please contact Dr. Ronald VanderLaan at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI. Call (616) 717-5141 to schedule your appointment with Dr. VanderLaan today!

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
December 18, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Stress Test  

A stress test is an examination that can help cardiologists see how well a heart is working and how to treat any problems. Led by Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, Grand Rapids Cardiology, located in Grand Rapids, MI, offers various types of stress testing to assess your heart health. Read on to learn more!



Overview

A stress test is a cardiological test that measures your heart's ability to respond to external stress. The stress response is induced by exercise or intravenous pharmacological stimulation. In other words, the test will involve riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill while your breathing, blood pressure, and heart rhythm are monitored, or you will receive medication that mimics the effects of exercise.



Why it's Done

Your doctor may recommend a stress test to diagnose heart rhythm problems or coronary artery disease. If you've been diagnosed with a heart condition, a stress test can help your healthcare provider find out how well treatment is working. In people with heart failure, stress test results may help their healthcare provider determine whether they need a heart transplant or other advanced therapies.

 

How You Prepare

Your cardiologist will give you instructions on how to prepare for your stress test. You may be asked not to drink, eat, consume caffeine, or smoke for a period of time before the procedure. In addition, you should ask your healthcare provider if it's safe for you to continue taking all of your medications before the test, as they might interfere with the stress test.


Test Results

If the information gathered during your stress test shows that your heart function to be normal, you may not need any further tests. If your test results suggest that you might have an arrhythmia or coronary artery disease, your healthcare provider will use the information to develop a treatment plan. You may need further tests, such as a coronary angiogram.


Interested? Give Us a Call!

Ready to take control of your heart health? Call Grand Rapids Cardiology at 616-717-5141 today to schedule an appointment Dr. Ronald VanderLaan in Grand Rapids, MI. A simple stress test screening could save your life!

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
November 13, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Hypertension   Headache  

Man HeadacheIt’s important to know how to manage your high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, it’s been nicknamed the “silent killer” because there usually are no symptoms and yet untreated high blood pressure can cause serious risks for your health. According to the CDC, about 75 million Americans, or 1 in 3 adults, have high blood pressure. Find out when it might be time to consider visiting our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan for an evaluation.

Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly

It’s important that everyone has their blood pressure evaluated at least once a year. This can happen during your annual doctor’s appointment. Of course, if you have a family history of high blood pressure or if you have certain risk factors then you may want to have your blood pressure checked more regularly by your doctor. Risk factors for high blood pressure include,

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Consuming too much salt
  • Smoking
  • Being obese or overweight

If you have also been diagnosed with other chronic health problems such as heart disease or diabetes it’s important that you get your blood pressure checked rather frequently.

Lifestyle Changes Can Make a Difference

If you’ve discovered that your blood pressure is rather high or bordering on high there are modifications you can make right away that can help you in the long run. In some instances it may even prevent you from needing medication. Of course, even if our Grand Rapids, MI, heart doctor recommends that you take medication to lower your blood pressure, lifestyle modifications can also be a major benefit to your health. Some of these lifestyle modifications include,

  • Following a low-sodium diet (e.g. DASH diet)
  • Exercising more regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing excess weight

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

As we mentioned before, high blood pressure doesn’t cause any symptoms so you could be living with hypertension and not even know it. That’s why it’s important to visit your doctor regularly for checkups. Healthy blood pressure lies under 120/80. The most accurate blood pressure reading is taken first thing in the morning. Your doctor will need to perform several readings to get an accurate assessment of your blood pressure.

Are you living with high blood pressure in Grand Rapids, MI? Do you want to find out how we can help you? If so, call Grand Rapids Cardiology today. We would be happy to sit down with you to determine the best treatment plan to get your blood pressure under control.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
October 29, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Hypertension   Chest Pain  

HypertensionHypertension—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it afflicts 75 million adults in the United States, often without the carrier's knowledge. This "silent killer" could seriously damage your health, with you being none the wiser. At Grand Rapids Cardiology, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan treats high blood pressure for better cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Learn the signs and dangers of this chronic health condition and how to manage it.

What is high blood pressure?

As your blood moves through your circulatory system, perfusing your bodily organs with oxygen and nutrients, your blood vessels experience substantial pumping forces. Measured either at home or at your physician's office, your blood pressure indicates how hard your heart and blood vessels are working. Blood pressure within a certain range is healthy, while measures that are too high indicate excessive physical strain on the heart, lungs, and other organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain.

The American Heart Association indicates that people with high blood pressure often don't know they have it as they are relatively asymptomatic. Other people, however, experience troublesome signs such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Mental confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Pounding heartbeat

Clinically, any blood pressure reading higher than 120/80 is considered elevated and measurements beyond that are diagnostic for hypertension. Hypertension is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease, and as such, our Grand Rapids office will carefully monitor hypertensive patients and craft individualized care plans to help them manage their numbers and their symptoms.

Treating hypertension

Possible treatments may necessitate that you take your blood pressure regularly with an at-home blood pressure monitor. Keeping a log of your readings and any symptoms can help you manage your numbers. Other approaches may require that patients take blood pressure medications to keep their blood pressure within normal ranges. Also, all individuals who are pre-hypertensive or who have the actual diagnosis should:

  • Quit all tobacco usage
  • Limit their alcohol consumption
  • Eat a low fat, low salt, high fiber diet
  • Exercise three to five times a week (simple walking for 30 minutes is fine)
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce stress
  • Control their blood sugars (if diabetic)

Although hypertension can run in families, heredity can be overcome with careful management of other risk factors and lifestyle elements.

It's your life

Protect it from the harmful side effects of hypertension. For expert help, contact Grand Rapids Cardiology for an assessment. Dr. Ronald VanderLaan and his team excel at personalized care plans and communication. Call today for an appointment: (616) 717-5141.