My Blog

Posts for: December, 2019

By Dr. Virginia Y. Gonzalez
December 26, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Chest Pain   Cardiologist  

Does chest pain always require immediate medical care? Find out more.

When people think about chest pain they often think about a heart attack. After all, chest pain is a classic symptom of this serious and possibly life-threatening condition; however, chest pain doesn’t necessarily mean that you are dealing with a heart attack. Furthermore, your chest pain may not even be heart-related at all. Find out the many causes of chest pain, when to seek emergency medical care, and when to see our West Monroe, LA, cardiologist Dr. Virginia Gonzalez for an evaluation.

Causes of Chest Pain

Chest pain is a common symptom of heart disease. With the growing number of people developing heart disease it’s so important that you see a doctor to rule out heart disease if you are experiencing chest pain of any kind. Heart disease can easily be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

Other cardiac-related causes of chest pain include:

  • Angina: a blockage of blood flow to the heart
  • Myocarditis: inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Pericarditis: inflammation of the tissue around the heart

Of course, there are also non-cardiac-related causes of chest pain too. These causes include:

  • Lung infections and conditions: this includes inflammation of the lungs (pleurisy), airway problems (asthma), a blood clot, or a collapsed lung
  • Digestive problems: this includes heartburn or inflammation of the esophagus, pancreas, or gallbladder
  • Bone and muscle problems: rib fractures, muscle strain, or costochondritis
  • Anxiety disorder: sometimes a panic attack can lead to heart palpitations, breathing problems and chest tightness

When to Call 911

There are no clear-cut rules when it comes to determining whether chest pain requires emergency medical attention; however, there are some guidelines that you should follow. Call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room if:

  • You feel as if your chest is being crushed
  • You have pain, numbness, or weakness that travels to the shoulder, arms, neck, or lower jaw
  • You also experience shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • The pain gets worse within 15 minutes
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded
  • Your chest pain occurs at rest
  • Your symptoms aren’t alleviated by medication (e.g. antacids)
  • You experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Your chest pain is accompanied by nausea and vomiting

When to See a Cardiologist

If you are experiencing chest pain in West Monroe, LA, the only way to find out what’s going on is to see a heart doctor who will be able to perform the necessary diagnostic tests. A doctor should check out any cases of chest pain as soon as possible.

Nothing is more important than your heart health. If you are dealing with any symptoms or issues it’s important that you have a cardiologist that you can turn to for care. Call Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, LA, today.

By Dr. Virginia Y. Gonzalez
December 20, 2019
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Attack  

What you should know about heart attacks and how Dr. Virginia Gonzalez of Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, LA, can keep you healthy

What is a heart attack?

Heart attacks, unlike heart failure (which is a chronic, long-standing condition), occur suddenly. A heart attack, a myocardial infarction, is when a blood clot develops in a coronary artery. This cuts off most or all blood supply to part of the heart muscle. If oxygenated blood isn't restored quickly, the heart muscle will falter, causing a heart attack.

The risk of experiencing this event increases for men over 45 and a woman over 55.

What are the symptoms and signs of a heart attack?

Symptoms vary from one person to another, but if you think that you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Common signs include:

  • Tightness, discomfort, and pain in the chest area
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, and stomach
  • Suffering from shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Nausea

Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting, dizziness, the face seeming gray in color, and a feeling of terror that life is ending.

What can people do to improve their health?

  • Maintain a healthy weight according to your cardiologist's advice.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Quit smoking and eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, especially if you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Visit your West Monroe doctor for regular medical checkups.

Do you need help?

You need to speak with your cardiologist if you think that you're at risk of experiencing a heart attack. If you are at all concerned, call Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center in West Monroe, LA, today at (318) 338-3540 to learn more about what you can do for your health.

By Dr. Virginia Y. Gonzalez
December 04, 2019
Category: Heart Conditions
Tags: Angioplasty  

Coronary artery disease is a serious condition that occurs when the arteries responsible for carrying blood to the heard become narrow Angioplastydue to the buildup of plaque and cholesterol inside the arteries. An angioplasty is a procedure for opening up narrowed or blocked coronary arteries to improve blood flow to the heart. At the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, angioplasties are performed by our cardiologist, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez.

Purpose of Angioplasty

The coronary arteries are the arteries that carry blood to the heart. Unfortunately, plaque, cholesterol, and other substances can build up on the walls of the coronary arteries. This build up can lead to a narrowing of the coronary arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart. Reduced blood flow can result in the formation of blood clots, which can eventually lead to a heart attack. The purpose of an angioplasty is to clear plaque and cholesterol build up in the coronary arteries to improve blood flow to the heart.

Angioplasty Procedure

The procedure for performing an angioplasty involves the use of a catheter and an expandable balloon to open up the blocked coronary artery. The catheter, which is a small, thin tube, will be inserted into the arteries in either the arm or groin area. The area will be numbed prior to the insertion of the catheter. Once the catheter has been inserted into the arteries, our cardiologist will use an X-ray screen to guide the catheter to the blocked coronary artery. Once there, an expandable balloon on a thin wire will be threaded into the artery where the blockage exists.

With the balloon in place, it is then inflated. As the balloon inflates, it opens up and expands the artery by pushing away plaque and cholesterol build-up. The balloon might be inflated several times during the angioplasty to fully open up the artery so enough blood can flow to the heart. For some patients, a stent can be placed in the artery to keep it open. Following the angioplasty, the catheter and balloon are removed, but the stent remains in place. Patients typically stay overnight after undergoing an angioplasty through our cardiology practice in West Monroe, LA.

An angioplasty can improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack by opening up narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. To find out if you could benefit from an angioplasty, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gonzalez by calling the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, at (318) 338-3540. For your convenience, we also have a second location in Winnsboro, LA.