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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.

By Grand Rapids Cardiology
September 21, 2018
Category: Cardiology

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is one of the most common health conditions diagnosed in patients each year. The HeadacheAmerican Heart Association estimates that over 100 million Americans have hypertension. Most people will likely have elevated blood pressure at some point in their lives due to the natural aging process. We at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, can test your blood pressure and advise you on how to manage your health if it's consistently high.

What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the intensity with which your blood presses against the vessels in your body as it pumps to and from the heart. If your doctor repeatedly finds your blood pressure to be high after multiple checks you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure. The World Health Organization defines high pressure as a reading of over 140 systolic or over 90 diastolic (or both). An urgent visit to a doctor is recommended if blood pressure levels significantly and persistently exceed these levels. 

High Blood Pressure Causes
You may be surprised to learn that you have an issue with hypertension and wonder where it came from. High blood pressure has a number of potential causes that you can discuss with a Grand Rapids, MI, cardiology specialist:

  • Poor diet (eating high sodium, fatty foods in particular).
  • Being overweight or obese and avoiding regular exercise.
  • Uncontrolled or untreated diabetes.
  • Maintaining a very stressful lifestyle.
  • Long-term substance abuse or tobacco smoking.
  • A family history of hypertension or heart disease.

Why You Should Manage Your Blood Pressure
Without proper management, high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease and put a patient at risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. It causes light-headedness, fatigue, and can make it more difficult to function normally during the day. Luckily, this condition can be controlled with dietary and weight changes, as well as medications (statins, beta blockers, and/or water pills) if prescribed by your doctor.

Get Help from a Cardiologist
Your cardiologist is the point person for helping you lower your blood pressure to a consistently normal level. Call (616) 717-5141 today to schedule a visit to Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI.

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.

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