Posts for: August, 2019
Chest pain is one symptom that you certainly don’t want to ignore. After all, when people think about chest pain they often think about serious and potentially life-threatening problems like a heart attack. While not all chest pain is considered serious or life-threatening it’s important to know when you should visit our West Monroe and Winnsboro, LA cardiologist Dr. Virginia Gonzalez for further evaluation.
What can cause chest pain?
There are many reasons why someone may experience chest pain and some of these problems aren’t even related to the heart. Chest pain may be the result of cardiac, respiratory, bone and muscle, or gastrointestinal problems.
The most common cardiac-related causes of chest pain include,
Heart attack: a reduction in blood flow to the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to cell death
Coronary artery disease (CAD): a blockage in the blood vessels of the heart that can cause chest pain known as angina
Myocarditis: inflammation of the heart muscle
Pericarditis: Inflammation or an infection of the sac that surrounds the heart
Mitral valve prolapse: a common condition that causes one or more valves of the heart to function improperly
Sometimes it isn’t the heart at all that is causing your chest pain. Common lung and gastrointestinal problems can also lead to chest pain:
Pneumonia: an infection of the lungs that can cause a deep aching pain in the chest
Asthma: along with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and wheezing you may also experience chest tightness and pain
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): also known as acid reflux, this condition can cause the contents in the stomach to move back up to the throat, which can cause heartburn and even chest pain
Hiatal hernia: this condition happens when part of the stomach pushes into the chest, which can lead to acid reflux, chest pain and pain that gets worse when lying down
Gallbladder problems and pancreatitis can also lead to chest pain. While not as common, muscle strains and rib problems may also be responsible for chest pain.
When should I see a cardiologist?
It’s best to play it safe when it comes to handling chest pain and to call our West Monroe, LA, heart doctor if you are experiencing chest pain. If chest pain appears suddenly and isn’t alleviated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories then you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Call 911 or head to your local hospital if you are experiencing pressure or tightness under your breastbone, if the pain spreads to your back or arms, if you also experience a rapid heart rate or if your blood pressure drops.
Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe and Winnsboro, LA, is here to provide you with the comprehensive cardiac care you are looking for. Whether you are dealing with chest pain or other heart-related symptoms it’s important to turn to the experts who can provide you with the answers you need.
Electrocardiograms (i.e. EKG) and cardiac stress tests are two common diagnostic tools to help your cardiologist diagnose a variety of serious heart conditions. Easy and non-invasive, these two tests are available here at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe and Winnsboro, LA, and they very well could end up saving your life—read on to learn how!
More about EKG and Cardiac Stress Tests
When you have an EKG, small electrodes are placed on the skin of your chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes monitor the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG is a vital diagnostic tool which is useful to detect:
- Decreased blood flow to your heart muscle
- Abnormal changes or thickening of the heart muscle
- Abnormal changes in heart rhythm
- Any signs you have had a heart attack
When you undergo a cardiac stress test, you are hooked up to heart monitoring equipment. During the test, you walk on a treadmill at both a speed and incline that is gradually increasing. As your heart becomes stimulated to work harder, the equipment records your heart rate and blood pressure, which is then reviewed by your cardiologist.
However, sometimes walking on a treadmill is not possible, especially for people with arthritis or foot problems. In these cases, a nuclear stress test is recommended. A nuclear stress test uses medication to stimulate heart function instead of the treadmill, and it is useful to detect:
- Signs or symptoms of coronary artery disease
- Causes of chest pain or breathing problems
- The possibility of a future heart attack
- How much activity and exercise you can tolerate safely
Concerned About Your Heart Health? Give Us a Call
To learn more about cardiac testing and treatment, call Dr. Virginia Gonzalez at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, with offices in West Monroe and Winnsboro, LA. Dial (318) 338-3540 now to protect your heart!
Protect yourself against heart disease with some of these helpful tips.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US; therefore, it’s important that we are doing everything we can to reduce our risk. While there are some factors such as genetics that are completely out of our control there is actually a lot that we can do to prevent heart disease. From the office of our West Monroe, LA, cardiologist Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, here are some tips for preventing heart disease.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can greatly increase your chances of heart disease. Therefore, shedding excess pounds and maintaining a healthy weight is one surefire way to stay healthy. Eating a balanced diet and exercising are the best ways to shed weight safely. Of course, if you are just starting a workout routine it’s important that you talk with your heart doctor in West Monroe, LA, to make sure that you are healthy enough for certain activities.
Leading an inactive, sedentary lifestyle can also cause some pretty serious health consequences. It’s important to get moving and exercise often to improve circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more. When people think about exercise they often think of the gym; however, exercise may look different depending on your current health and fitness level. This is something to discuss with your doctor. Remember, even a simple 30-minute brisk walk through your neighborhood counts.
Control Your Blood Pressure
Have you been told that your blood pressure is high? If so, it’s important that you aren’t just checking your blood pressure regularly to make sure that it’s within a healthy range but also that you are getting the proper treatment you need to keep your high blood pressure in check. Our cardiologist can prescribe medication and lifestyle modifications to help manage your blood pressure for the long term.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
While the occasional glass of wine isn’t going to hurt you, heavy drinking can raise your blood pressure and also pack on the pounds, both of which increase your risk for heart disease. Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two alcoholic drinks a day for men and one alcoholic drink a day for women.
Manage Your Stress
Stress has been linked to a wide range of serious health problems including heart disease. In fact, extreme stress even has the ability to cause a heart attack; therefore, it’s important that you find an outlet for your stress, whether that’s exercising, meditating, or taking up yoga.
Get Some Shut Eye
Not getting enough sleep can also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Most adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep then you should talk to your doctor about better sleep habits to adopt that can improve the quality of your sleep.
If you are concerned about your heart disease risk, call Dr. Virginia Gonzalez at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, LA, today to schedule a consultation.