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Posts for tag: heart disease

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
April 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: heart disease  

Improving your lifestyle can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease.

No matter whether you have a family history of heart disease or not, it’s important that you are leading a heart-healthy lifestyle if you wish to lead a long, happy life. With heart disease being the most common cause of death in the US, according to the CDC, our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan wants you to take your heart health seriously. Here are some ways to reduce your risk,

Alter Your Diet

What you eat has the ability to improve your heart health or lead to disease. A healthy diet involves fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (choosing chicken breast and fish over red or processed meats like bacon), nuts, legumes and low-fat dairy. Avoid foods high in sodium and trans fats.

Workout Regularly

Exercising offers a variety of benefits including supporting a strong, healthy heart. Everyone should be getting about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week or 75 minutes of intense physical activity (e.g. running; sprints; boxing) or a combination. You should also incorporate strength training into your routine at least twice a week. Start gradually and increase the intensity of your workouts over time.

Manage Your Stress

If you are battling chronic stress, this can certainly take a toll on your heart. Long-term stressors can affect blood pressure and elevate your heart rate, which puts more stress on your heart. If you are struggling with stress and anxiety talk with our cardiologist to find ways to better manage your symptoms. You may find that regular exercise is a great outlet, or you may see results through regular meditation or deep breathing.

Get Regular Wellness Checkups

Every adult should be visiting the doctor at least once a year for checkups and screenings. When visiting your doctor be honest about your current lifestyle, health and diet. Talk with your doctor about your risk for heart disease and any screenings that may be performed. Lifestyle factors that play a role in heart disease can easily be altered. Those with a family history of heart disease should visit a doctor at least once a year to know their status.

We know that the pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives right now, but we don’t want that to change the medical care you need or have come to rely on. If you are dealing with any new or worsening heart problems, please call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.

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
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
July 09, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: heart disease   treatments  
Find out what heart disease treatments are available and which one might be right for you.
If your Grand Rapids, MI cardiologist, Dr. Ronald L. VanderLaan, has just diagnosed you with heart disease, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. But know that you don’t have to do it alone. There are so many heart disease treatments available, and we will work together with you to determine which one will be the most effective.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, it’s important that you and your heart doctor in Grand Rapids create a treatment plan. The goals of treatment are designed to manage your condition while controlling symptoms for the long run.
Some of the simplest changes you’ll need to adopt will come in the form of diet, exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle factors. However, medication and other conventional treatment options are also required when you have heart disease.
Lifestyle Changes
If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. If you drink, moderation is key. This means no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. But if you can, try to abstain from alcohol.
You should also start an exercise regiment, which we would be happy to help you with. You should find exercises that fit with your lifestyle and improve your health. Exercise will help to strengthen both your heart and your blood vessels as well as reduce stress.
Managing your stress can also go a long way to both preventing and treating heart disease. Whether this comes in the form of meditation or yoga, we can help you find which methods would work best for you.
Being overweight and eating foods high in sodium and trans fat can also put you at a higher risk for heart disease (and cause further issues for those who’ve already been diagnosed). Changing your diet by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and fibrous grains into the mix and lowering the amount of sodium and trans fats you consume will help.
Heart Disease Treatments
There are many different types of heart disease including:
  • Heart attack
  • Heart valve disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary Artery Disease
The type of medications we recommend will depend on the type of heart disease you have. Medication is a standard form of treatment that you will be required to take for the rest of your life. For those with heart valve or arrhythmia problems, a pacemaker or heart valve surgery may be required. Those who have had a heart attack may require a coronary angioplasty (to increase blood flow through the blocked artery).
Have questions about your treatment options? Need to schedule your next checkup? Then turn to our Grand Rapids, MI heart doctor at Grand Rapids Cardiology.