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By Virginia Y. Gonzalez
February 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: EKGs   Stress Tests  

Stress tests and EKGs are heart tests that could aid your cardiologist in checking how well or not your heart is functioning. An electrocardiogram or EKG measures the activity of your heart, while a stress test measures how your heart manages stress.

These heart tests help your cardiologist here at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, better assess your heart’s function to devise a treatment plan that will suit your particular needs.

What is a Stress Test?

A stress test, also known as an exercise test or treadmill test, helps your cardiologist find out how capable your heart is under stress. During the test, you’ll be hooked up with an EKG as you jog or walk on the treadmill. During testing, your body will naturally work harder and will need more oxygen, which means that your heart should pump out more blood. Essentially, the test will indicate if blood flow is decreased in your arteries that provide blood to your heart. Likewise, it will help your cardiologist determine the most suitable level of physical activity for you.

What is an EKG?

An EKG or ECG refers to an electrocardiogram, which is a heart test for measuring your heartbeat’s electrical activity. With every beat, a wave or electrical impulse travels through your heart and triggers it to pump blood from your heart. If you have a normal heartbeat, the EKG will display the timing of your heart’s lower and top chambers.

An EKG provides two main types of information about your heartbeat’s electrical activity. First, by calculating the time intervals, your cardiologist can figure out how long the wave takes when passing through your heat. In turn, this will show if your heartbeat’s electrical activity is slow, normal, irregular, or fast. Second, by calculating how much electrical activity passes through your heart, your cardiologist can see if some parts of your heart are overworked or too big.

Who Should Have a Stress Test and EKG?

Depending on your specific symptoms, our cardiologist, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, may recommend that you undergo a stress test and an EKG here at our clinic in West Monroe, LA. For example, your cardiologist may recommend that undergo a stress test and EKG if you’re showing signs of heart disease including shortness of breath, chest pain, heavy heartbeat, or irregular heartbeat.

You may likewise have to do the tests if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, or other underlying health risks. Additionally, your cardiologist may also recommend these heart tests prior to starting a new exercise regimen if you have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Feel Like You Need an EKG or Stress Test?

Contact Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, West Monroe, LA, at (318) 338-3540 for more information. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez will evaluate your specific symptoms and determine your eligibility for these heart tests.

Question:            What are the risk factors for women?


 Knowing your numbers such as cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index is an important part of heart health.  Equally as important is to know the risk factors that you have control and the ones you cannot control.  Imagine below these two columns as a mathematical formula:


High Blood Pressure                                                                                                     Age

Smoking                                                                                                                         Gender

High Blood Cholesterol                                                                                                Heredity (Family History)

Lack of Regular Activity                                                                                               Race

Obesity or Overweight                                                                                                 Previous Heart Attack

Diabetes                                                                                                                        Previous Stroke

Risk factors that you cannot control have been pre-determined.  On that side of the equation, it remains constant.  The other side is a different story.  You do have control.  Your environment and its surroundings allow this side of the equation workable.  Simply put, if you have 50% of the risk factors that you cannot control, it only takes one factor from the controllable side to off balance and causes a higher risk for heart disease.

Let’s discuss these manageable risk factors for women:

  • Blood Pressure is a major risk factor. When your blood pressure is normal, you will reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys.
  • Controlling your cholesterol allows a reduction of clog arteries. Thereby preventing plaque build -up which provides proficient blood flow.
  • Reducing blood sugar will lessen the possibility of damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
  • Regular activity is the most rewarding gift you can give to your body. During exercise, your blood flow is directed to your muscles and away from areas not doing much such as your digestive tract. This increases blood flow and blood volume returning to your heart. As the volume increases, your left ventricle adapts which causes your heart to hold and ejects more blood.
  • When you lose unnecessary weight, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. This also causes a reduction in blood pressure.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, Trans fat, and cholesterol. Limit your salt intake. Eat more foods high in omega -3 fatty acids such as fish.
  • STOP SMOKING PLEASE!  It is the most preventable cause of death. Chemicals in tobacco damage your blood cells.  Smoking increases the risk of atherosclerosis or plague. Smoking limits the flow of oxygen to your organs. 
By Dr. Virginia Y. Gonzalez
June 21, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Question:            What do I need to know about Angina?


Angina or chest pain is one of the most common reason people visit their doctor.  Nearly 10 million Americans are diagnosed with angina.  Angina is defined as chest pain or discomfort caused by heart disease.  The American Heart Association (AHA) defines it as a symptom of the condition known as myocardial ischemia.  Pain occurs when the  myocardia (the heart muscle) gets insufficient blood and oxygen (ischemia).  It is often the first sign of heart disease. 

Angina generally signals that you have narrowing in one, or possibly more, of your coronary arteries.  Angina is an alarm.  It is the heart’s way of telling you that it’s not getting enough oxygen.

The main causes for angina is atherosclerosis or the buildup of cholesterol-laden plaques on the interior walls of your arteries.  As plaques grow, it restrict blood flow  causing pain.  Keep in mind, if plaque tears or ruptures, a blood clot can form that completely blocks blood flow.  This usually causes a heart attack which probably means irreversible damage to your heart muscle. 

 Several risk factors accelerate the formation of plaques.  Some of these factors are beyond the control of the individual.  For example, if you have a family history of heart  disease, you are more likely to develop heart disease.  This is one reason your physician    is interested in your family history.  Age is another uncontrollable factor.  The older you  are, the longer you are around for plaque to develop. 

Other factors are in your control.  Those are the ones we constantly discussed. Smoking, overweight and a  diet high is salt are all factors that damage the thin layer of  protective cells that line the interior surface of blood vessel. 

Symptoms of for angina are tightness and pressure in your chest.  You may have  numbness or tingling in your jaw, shoulders, arms and fingers. You may also have  sweating, breathlessness, nausea or fatigue. 

 If you feel you may have any of these symptoms or risk factors, contact your primary care physician so he/she can refer you to a Cardiologist for the treatment of angina. Remember, time is heart muscle.