My Blog
By Virginia Y. Gonzalez
May 22, 2020
Category: Cardiology Care
Tags: Heart Disease  

There are habits you can change right now to protect yourself from heart disease.

Despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the US, there are still many risk factors that you can minimize through leading a healthier lifestyle. While our West Monroe, LA, cardiologist, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, would be happy to sit down and discuss the ways you can improve your heart health, here’s what you should know about preventing heart disease,

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

Risk factors for heart disease fall into two categories: factors you can’t control and factors that you can. For example, uncontrollable factors include,

  • Age
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Family history

Fortunately, there are many factors related to heart disease that you can control. In fact, around 80 percent of cardiovascular disease cases can be prevented. Along with maintaining regular checkups with our West Monroe, LA, heart doctor to make sure that you are doing what you can to prevent heart disease, here are some of the major factors to focus on,


It’s recommended that people get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. Of course, it’s important to recognize that this is the bare minimum that everyone should be doing. This means that getting even more exercise and ramping up your routine with some high-intensity workouts will improve your heart health even more. If starting a new workout routine feels daunting, you can also break up your workout into more digestible pieces. For example, taking a brisk 10-15-minute walk, 2-3 times a day.


You should focus on a diet that incorporates only whole, unprocessed plant-based foods into your diet. Limit red and processed meats (e.g. lunch meats; bacon). A plant-based diet focuses on eating lots of vegetables, some fruits, nuts, and legumes, lean proteins (e.g. salmon or skinless chicken), and non-fat dairy. Foods that are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and fiber can reduce bad cholesterol also reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Know Your Numbers

When was the last time your doctor checked your cholesterol? Do you know your blood pressure? Regardless of your risk, it’s important that you visit a cardiologist at least once a year (more regularly if you have health problems or at an increased risk for heart disease) so that you know your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Since high blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease, it’s important to get these health problems under control.

Protect against heart disease by leading a healthy life. To learn more about your risk for heart disease and how to reduce that risk, contact Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center for a consultation: (318) 338-3540.

By Virginia Y. Gonzalez
May 07, 2020
Category: Heart Conditions
Tags: Heart Diseases  

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Know the warning signs.

Heart disease refers to a variety of health conditions, either congenital or acquired, that affect the circulatory system, blood vessels, and heart. Heart disease is incredibly common, causing 1 out of every 4 deaths in the US. If you suspect that you might have heart disease it is important that you visit our West Monroe, LA, cardiologist Dr. Virginia Gonzalez as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Here’s how to spot the telltale symptoms and signs of the most common types of heart disease,

An Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia is simply an irregular heartbeat. Some of the most common arrhythmias include,

  • Tachycardia: when the heart beats too fast (over 100 beats per minute)
  • Bradycardia: when the heart beats too slowly (under 60 beats per minute)
  • Premature ventricular contractions: an irregular heartbeat that often feels like your heart skipped a beat
  • Fibrillation: an irregular and sometimes rapid heart rate

This is a common condition, and most people will experience an irregular heartbeat at some point, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have an arrhythmia; however, If you do experience a fluttering or erratic heart rate rather regularly it’s important to see your West Monroe, LA, heart doctor to rule out heart disease.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when cholesterol and plaque accumulate within the coronary arteries, leading to narrowing and blockages. This condition is also known as atherosclerosis, which causes inflammation and damage to the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. This is the most common type of heart disease, and it affects both men and women. Common symptoms of CAD include,

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pressure or discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn

If you notice chest pressure, pain, or discomfort it’s important that you see your cardiologist right away. Do not ignore these symptoms. CAD requires immediate treatment and can lead to a heart attack if left untreated.

Heart Attack

Also known as a myocardial infarction, a heart attack occurs when there is a blockage to one or more of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. A heart attack damages to cardiac muscles and the most common symptoms of a heart attack include,

  • Chest pain
  • Pain that radiates from your chest down your shoulders, arms or back
  • Stomach pain that often feels like heartburn or indigestion
  • Heart fluttering or palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness

If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, please call 911 or have someone immediately drive you to the nearest ER.

If you are dealing with heart problems or chronic heart disease it’s important to know that Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, LA, is still providing ongoing treatment and care to those who need it. Please call us at (318) 338-3540 if you are dealing with any new or worsening symptoms.

By Virginia Y. Gonzalez
April 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology Care

How your cardiologist in West Monroe, LA, can help you stay healthy

If you have ever suffered from chest pain, you know how scary it can be. The good news is, you can do a lot to protect your heart. It all begins with living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez of Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, LA, offers a wide range of cardiology services to help you stay healthy.

There are many common heart issues, from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to chest pain and heart disease. Family history plays an important role in these problems. For instance, if your family has a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, there is a good chance you are at a higher risk of developing these problems.

In response, you can help your heart if you:

  • Get regular exercise of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. This should include aerobic exercise like swimming, jogging, walking at a brisk pace, or other exercises that get your heart pumping.
  • Manage your stress level by practicing relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation, and walking are all healthy ways to manage stress.
  • Limit fatty foods like fried foods, red meats, and dairy products. Swap out red meat for lean meats like turkey, chicken, or fish. Use non-fat or reduced-fat dairy products.
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits to help you feel full and reduce your calorie intake.
  • Maintain your oral health with regular brushing and flossing. A healthy mouth lowers your risk for some serious medical conditions, including heart disease and endocarditis.
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control with the help of medication and visits to your cardiologist.
  • Monitor your overall health with regular medical screenings and visits to your doctors.

You should seek out immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • A squeezing feeling or pressure in your chest
  • Chest pain that radiates into your neck, arms, jaw, or shoulders
  • Chest pain that continues or gets worse
  • Chest pain accompanied by paleness, sweating, or breathing problems
  • Rapid or irregular pulse or heart palpitations

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle along with regular visits to your cardiologist can help you live a long life, enjoying the activities you love. To learn more about protecting your heart, call Dr. Virginia Gonzalez of Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, Louisiana at (318) 338-3540.

By Virginia Y. Gonzalez
February 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology

An arrhythmia is defined as an irregular heartbeat. Essentially, you have arrhythmia if your heart beats too slowly, quickly, irregularly, or early. This means that having arrhythmia means that your heartbeat is out of the normal rhythm. In many cases, arrhythmias are harmless. But if they’re especially abnormal or caused by a damaged or weakened heart, they can result in severe symptoms.

With this in mind, don’t hesitate to visit us here at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, if you feel that something’s off with your heartbeat, but are not feeling any other severe symptoms. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez will be able to determine whether your arrhythmia is harmless or something to be concerned about.

Different Kinds of Arrhythmias


The most common heart arrhythmia is AFib or atrial fibrillation and it occurs in the heart’s top chambers. It happens when plenty of volatile electrical signals fail, causing your atria to quiver uncontrollably. Mainly, AFib increases your heart rate and makes it erratic.


This occurs when your heart beats too quickly, causing it to beat more than 100 BPM or beats per minute.


This is characterized by a slower than normal heart rate, causing the heart to beat less than 60 BPM. It happens when electrical impulses that travel from your atria to your ventricles are disrupted. Do note though that some people in great physical health, athletes, for instance, usually have slower heart rates, which is normal for them.

Atrial Fibrillation

AFL or atrial flutter usually occurs in the heart’s right atrium, but can also affect the left atrium. It’s caused by an electrical signal that travels quickly in the atrium, resulting in a fast heart rate.

Premature Contractions

In most cases of premature contractions, your heart seems to miss a beat when your pulse is taken in your chest or wrist. Others, however, include early and extra heartbeats. All these can happen in the lower and upper chambers.

Ventricular Fibrillation

VF or ventricular fibrillation is an immensely dangerous arrhythmia that affects the ventricles. VF stops the ventricles from pumping blood out of the heart to the brain and body because of the irregular heartbeat. Worst-case scenario, it could stop your heartbeat and lead to cardiac arrest, even death, if not treated right away.

Symptoms of Arrhythmias

If you have an arrhythmia, you might feel the following symptoms:

  • Irregular heart palpitations or pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or faintness
  • Sweats
  • Pale skin

Concerned about irregular heartbeat?

As mentioned above, many arrhythmias are usually harmless. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry if you have an irregular heartbeat, especially if you heart disease risk factors or have already been diagnosed with heart disease. Just to be on the safe side, visit us at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, West Monroe, LA. Schedule your appointment by calling (318) 338-3540. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez will check out your symptoms to figure out what’s causing your arrhythmia.

By Virginia Y. Gonzalez
February 24, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Disease  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for both women and men, and individuals of most ethnic groups and races in the U.S. is heart disease. In fact, approximately 647,000 people in the U.S. pass away from heart disease every year, thus accounting for one in four deaths annual deaths in the country.

This is why preventive heart care is immensely crucial. Here at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, we offer heart disease prevention services under the care of our cardiologist, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez—read on to learn more.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is actually an umbrella term that refers to a variety of conditions that impact the heart. The most common heart diseases include:

  • CAD (coronary artery disease), PAD (peripheral artery disease), and other diseases affecting the blood vessels
  • Congenital heart diseases (heart defects from birth)
  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats)
  • Cardiomyopathy (enlarging or thickening of the heart)

What are Heart Disease Risk Factors?

Certain lifestyle habits or coexisting health conditions could increase your risk of developing heart disease. You can change or control some of them, but others are out of your hands. These risk factors include the following:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Prediabetes or diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • A history of heart disease in the family
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Age; being older than 45 years old
  • Preeclampsia during pregnancy

During a consultation at our West Monroe office, your cardiologist will determine your heart disease risk factors so that you can take the necessary steps to control or change them.

What Causes Heart Disease?

There’s no one cause of heart disease, although there are many contributing factors. However, these factors will differ depending on what kind of heart disease you have. Plaque and cholesterol buildup in the arteries, for instance, causes PAD and CAD. Conversely, irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, is usually caused by various factors, including:

  • Congenital heart defects
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Stress
  • Drug abuse
  • Certain OTC medications, herbal supplements, dietary supplements, and prescription drugs

What’s The Treatment for Heart Disease?

Treatment will significantly depend on what exact heart disease you have. For instance, CAD can be treated with medication and keeping your blood pressure under control. Surgery may also be required for opening or unclogging arteries to improve blood flow to your heart. You will also need to follow a heart-healthy diet and exercise plan, quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake, and find effective ways to manage your stress levels.

Take Charge of Your Heart Health Now

Contact Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, now. Book your appointment with your cardiologist, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, by dialing (318) 338-3540.

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