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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!


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.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
October 23, 2018
Category: Cardiology

Heart ProblemsCardiac conditions affect over 84 million Americans according to the American Heart Association and almost half of Americans have at least one risk factor according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is one of the top health concerns for American adults. Visit Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI for a cardiac risk assessment and details on how you can prevent heart problems. 

What is a Cardiac Risk Assessment?
The purpose of a cardiac risk assessment is to determine your current heart health and evaluate your likelihood of developing a heart problem or “cardiovascular event.” You’re rating on a scale from slight to high risk. The evaluation includes a blood test, blood pressure checks, an EKG, stress test, and a series of questions about your medical history and lifestyle choices. One of the questions your doctor will ask is if you have a family history of heart problems or cardiovascular diseases. Age and the diagnosis of other medical conditions, like diabetes, may also raise a patient’s risk.

Preventing Cardiovascular Problems
The result of your cardiac risk assessment will let your doctor know what steps to take to help you prevent heart-related issues. These are some of the treatments that may be suggested when you visit Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI:

- Medication to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Dietary counseling to promote weight loss.
- Stent placement in case of vessel blockages.
- Bypass surgery in cases of advanced heart disease.

Heart Health Tips
Your cardiologist is a great resource when it comes to keeping your heart healthy, but there are also actions you can take daily to reduce your risk of cardiac problems:

- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just a walk around your local park.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and tobacco use.
- Reduce stress by observing self-care techniques.

Call for an Examination
Take a bold step toward good heart health and go to Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI for a cardiac risk assessment. Call (616) 717-5141 today for an appointment with Dr. Ronald Vanderlaan.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
October 01, 2018
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Cardiologist  

Discover the Reasons Why People See Their Cardiologist and How They Can Help.

CardiologistWith heart disease being the number one killer of both men and women in the US, chances are good that at some point you’ve wondered whether you should see a cardiologist. As you might imagine, our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing all conditions related to the heart. Here are some things to consider when it comes to whether or not you should visit a cardiologist like Dr. VanderLaan:

Your Primary Care Referred You

Your regular doctor may be able to check your overall health and provide treatment for a lot of conditions; however, if you are dealing with a heart problem, then your doctor may recommend further testing and treatments. More comprehensive medical care means seeing a cardiologist in Grand Rapids, MI, who has the specific training and knowledge to treat any heart problem.

Your Family History Raises Some Red Flags

If you’ve checked into your family history and discovered that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease runs in your family, then the most preventive step you can take for your health is to see a cardiologist for regular checkups. After all, genetics does play a huge role in the development of heart disease.

You’re a Smoker

Whether you are still a smoker or used to be a smoker, it’s a good idea to visit a cardiologist for routine checkups. This is because smoking can greatly increase your chances of developing heart disease. In fact, it’s one of the biggest contributing factors. While quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health, if you were a heavy or long-time smoker in the past, it’s a good idea to see a cardiologist.

You Have Diabetes

Did you know that people who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes are far more likely to develop heart disease than those without it? Since diabetes increases your chances of developing heart disease, it’s important that you have a cardiologist you can work with to keep your heart health in check.

You Have High Blood Pressure or High Cholesterol

Most of the time these two serious issues do not cause any symptoms; however, if you see your doctor for annual checkups and blood work, they can usually tell you whether you are dealing with either of these problems. From there, you’ll want to work with a cardiologist who can provide you with the medications and lifestyle modifications that will reduce your risk of a heart attack.

Contact Us Today!

If you are experiencing chest pain, this is considered a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care. For non-life-threatening issues, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141 to schedule an appointment today! We are proud to provide comprehensive cardiology services to Grand Rapids, MI, patients of all ages.

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