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Posts for: August, 2018

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 28, 2018
Category: Cardiology

Student Heart CheckupDo you know what the most common cause of death in the US is? You may think it's cancer, stroke or motor vehicle accident, but you're wrong. Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, tops the list say researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, and it can happen in very young people. At Grand Rapids Cardiology, your heart doctor, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, screen students for undetected heart issues. The aim is peace of mind and saving of lives.

The importance of student heart screening

It's a growing trend, helping to avoid the tragedies of young lives cut short by structural or electrical abnormalities within heart tissue. Valve problems, underdeveloped chambers, holes the septum (dividing wall within the heart) and poorly functioning electrical systems can abruptly and permanently halt a heart beat, cease blood flow and deprive the brain of essential oxygen.

However, simple screening at Grand Rapids Cardiology uncovers these problems. Dr. VanderLaan offers simple cardiac testing at Grand Rapids Cardiology. For a minimal fee ($35), patients 12 through 40 may be examined for cardiac defects. The screenings are particularly important for people who play school sports or anticipate doing so.

A screening at Grand Rapids Cardiology includes vital signs, weight, and medical history. Your health care provider will note your family history, too, particularly if close relatives have suffered cardiovascular disease or SCA before the age of 50.

Additionally, patients should mention experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Fainting
  • Episodes of extreme fatigue

Students receive an electrocardiogram (EKG) to detect any electrical problems within the heart, and as deemed necessary, an echocardiogram to investigate the size and structure of the heart as it functions in real time. An echocardiogram reveals issues with the chambers, septum and valves in the heart.

Both EKG and echocardiogram are simple, non-invasive tests which can be comfortably and quickly performed right in the cardiologist's office. Results are interpreted without delay; so you know if the heart is healthy or if further investigation is required.

Book your screening

Student heart screening is so easy and so worth it. Please contact Grand Rapids Cardiology today to arrange it. Make sure that young heart is healthy! Phone (616) 717-5141.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 27, 2018
Category: Cardiology

Hypertension GraphicHypertension, better known as high blood pressure, affects over 100 million adult Americans according to the American Heart Association. One in five adults don't even know they have this condition. It is a concern for doctors and cardiologists because it can cause a number of secondary diseases that may require aggressive, long-term treatment. Visit Dr. Ronald VanderLaan at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI to have your vitals checked and learn more about the common symptoms of hypertension.

About Hypertension
One of the first things your doctor does when you visit the office is check your blood pressure—sometimes twice. That is because this reading says a lot about what may be going on in your body. When your blood pressure is consistently higher than what is considered normal (about 120/80), that is called hypertension. The blood is pumping too much against the vessels. Symptoms include intense headaches, light-headedness, fatigue, abnormal heartbeat, vision problems, and chest pains. It increases the risk of developing a number of health concerns, including heart attack or failure, stroke, and kidney disease.

Hypertension Risks
High blood pressure is important to monitor because it can put you at risk for developing other health conditions, including heart complications and vascular issues. It is often hereditary, which is why your Grand Rapids, MI cardiologist will ask if there is a history of hypertension or heart disease in your family. Other risk factors that contribute to hypertension include poor diet, obesity, smoking, elevated stress, and lack of regular exercise. In some cases, high blood pressure develops because of another medical issue, like a thyroid imbalance, sleep apnea, or taking certain medications.

Getting Help with High Blood Pressure
It's best to have hypertension diagnosed and treated by your heart doctor as early as possible so that the treatments will most likely be conservative. These are some of the possible treatments you'll discuss with your cardiologist:

- Medication to help get and keep blood pressure under control (including ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and diuretics).
- Dietary recommendations for weight loss and consultation about lifestyle factors.
- Monthly visits to check the pressure level until it is normal.

Consult Your Cardiologist
Let a doctor at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI treat your hypertension and help keep your heart and overall cardiovascular system healthy. Call (616) 717-5141 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ronald VanderLaan.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 21, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: treatments   Cardiology  

In some cases, a cardiac procedure or treatment is just the first step in the recovery process. When ongoing rehabilitation and recovery iscardiac care necessary after a cardiac event, procedure or to manage symptoms, long-term care may be the best option whether you or a family member need extra help for a period of weeks, months, or for an ongoing period of time. Dr. Ronald Vanderlaan, a cardiologist at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, offers a number of testing and treatment options for acute and long-term heart conditions and cardiovascular events.

Long-Term Cardiac Care and Rehabilitation in Grand Rapids, MI

Long-term care provides ongoing assistance and support with the medical and lifestyle issues that can arise when managing and recovering from a serious illness or medical treatment. This may include physical therapy and rehabilitation, medication management, occupational therapy, emotional and mental health services, and assistance with every day tasks like bathing, mobility, nutrition, and personal grooming among others.

When is Long-Term Cardiac Care and Treatment Necessary?

Everyone's needs are different, even with the same diagnosis or procedure. Long-term care is a good option for anyone who needs additional help and support, whether it is for a defined period of time, or for the rest of their life. Long-term care solutions are common with a terminal diagnosis, but it is also available for other situations including:

  • Surgery or cardiac procedure recovery and rehabilitation
  • Pain management
  • Nutrition assistance
  • Symptom management
  • Administering medication
  • Emotional and mental health support
  • Assistance with disabilities
  • Personal safety
  • Injury recovery
  • Help with temporary or permanent loss of mobility

Long-term care services and support are available for individuals and families.

Find a Cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI

For more information about long-term cardiac care, monitoring, and rehabilitation programs, contact Grand Rapids Cardiology by calling (616) 717-5141 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vanderlaan today.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 07, 2018
Category: Cardiology

Discover the benefits of sitting down with a cardiologist for a medical evaluation.

With heart disease being the leading cause of death in both men and women in the US, it’s important that everyone (no matter how healthycardiology consultation they feel) has a cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI, like our very own Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, who can sit down with them and provide them with a comprehensive and thorough evaluation that can prevent or even manage current heart problems.

More often than not your primary care doctor will recommend that you visit a heart specialist in Grand Rapids, MI, if there is a problem that requires an expert’s medical opinion and care. A cardiology consultation often involves two parts: sitting down and discussing your detailed medical history and asking questions regarding your current health, symptoms you are experiencing, medicines you are taking, etc., and also performing a physical exam.

We will ask very specific questions to determine whether further diagnostic testing is required to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes performing certain diagnostic cardiac testing such as an EKG or having a patient wear a holter monitor for a few days can give us valuable insight into what’s going on before a patient develops heart disease or another serious problem down the road.

After all, medicine in general is focused on preventing injury and illness from happening in the first place, and our goal as your heart doctor is to prevent problems from occurring within the heart. What we determine based on your evaluation will help us provide specific, tailored treatment options to fit your needs. This may include everything from lifestyle changes (e.g. exercising regularly; dieting to lose weight; quitting smoking) to taking medications or getting surgery.

No matter whether you are a student athlete or a senior citizen, our doors are always open and ready to greet you here at Grand Rapids Cardiology. We provide comprehensive and state-of-the-art testing combined with personalized and compassionate heart care.

If you have a family member with heart disease or other heart problems in Grand Rapids, MI, or if you are noticing changes in your own heart health, then it’s time to call the experts at Grand Rapids Cardiology for an evaluation.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
August 01, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: EKG  

EKGs and stress tests are exams that your cardiologist will perform to check on the strength and health of your heart and cardiovascular ekgsystem. They are a first course of action for diagnosing heart disease or determining if a patient is at risk for a heart attack. Learn more about these tests and visit Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI for a checkup.

What Is an EKG?
An EKG (also called an electrocardiogram) is a relatively quick exam that is performed in the office when you visit your cardiologist for a checkup. You’ll lie back on a table while a technician applies patches to your chest and limbs. A machine takes a record of the electrical activity in your heart and provides your doctor with a reading. This test can detect evidence of a previous heart attack.

What Is a Stress Test?
If you have an irregular EKG result or you’re feeling symptoms of a heart problem, your Grand Rapids, MI cardiologist may refer you for a stress test. There are different ways that this test can be performed—a standard exercise test or an imaging test. During an exercise test, an EKG machine checks the heart while the patient performs moderate exercise, like walking on a treadmill. During an imaging stress test, a machine takes photos of the heart while you’re exercising. A special dye may be injected to map out the heart and see the blood flow. 

Keeping Your Heart Healthy
You and your cardiologist must work as a team to keep your heart healthy and strong. There are a number of actions that you can take to increase the chance of positive results on EKG or stress tests:

- Take your medications as prescribed, and consult your doctor regularly to ensure that the medications are meeting your needs.
- Modify your diet to include more heart-healthy foods, including salmon, leafy green vegetables, antioxidant-rich berries, garlic, nuts, and olive oil.
- Quit smoking and other high-risk behaviors.
- Take a light walk each day and do everything possible to reduce stress.

See Your Cardiologist for a Checkup
If you’ve had heart issues in the past or have been experiencing symptoms, see a cardiologist at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI. Call (616) 717-5141 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ronald VanderLaan.