Cardiology Services FAQ

What are the signs and symptoms of heart disease?

Many different cardiac conditions and problems share similar warning signs and physicians warn all patients not to ignore any of the symptoms since every person’s body responds differently to cardiac stress which may present itself as various symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Quickened heart beats
  • Feeling weak or dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating

What are the risk factors of heart disease?

While there are many risk factors patients cannot control, there are certain lifestyle factors can be changed to reduce one’s risk for developing heart disease.

Uncontrollable risk factors include:

  • Gender; men are more likely to develop heart disease
  • Age; as you age your risk of heart disease increases
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Being post-menopausal; women who have gone through menopause are at a higher risk for developing heart disease
  • Race; African Americans, American Indians and Mexican American are more likely than other ethnic groups to develop heart disease

Lifestyle risk factors include:

  • Stress or anger; people who have lots of stress or uncontrolled anger are at a higher risk for heart disease
  • Physical inactivity; exercise can lower your risk for developing heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol problems; both high LDL and low HDL cholesterol can increase your risk for developing heart disease
  • Smoking

What heart screening tests should I have done regularly?

As you age your physician may alter heart screening recommendations, but a patient that is not at high-risk for developing heart disease should have the following screening tests done regularly:

  • Blood pressure
  • Fasting lipoprotein profile
  • Body weight
  • Blood glucose level

Most of these tests are performed regularly at wellness checkups. It’s important to assess your current lifestyle and see if you can make any improvements to lower your risk of heart disease prior to undergoing cardiac stress.

What do I need to know about cholesterol?

Your cholesterol levels play an important part in your overall heart health. It’s important to have lower levels of LDL or "bad cholesterol" and higher levels of HDL or "good cholesterol". When you have your cholesterol levels checked, your physicians use this equation, HDL + LDL + 20% of your triglyceride level for a total score given in the unit mg/dL. The recommend total cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL with scores less than 180mg/dL considered optimal.

What treatments are available for patients with cholesterol problems?

If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol following a screening test, your physician will recommend lifestyle changes including nutrition and exercising more to maintain or lose body weight. For some patients, these lifestyle changes may not be enough to lower their cholesterol, particularly for patients who are at a high risk for developing heart disease. For these patients, physicians may recommend medication in addition to lifestyle changes.

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