Heart failure is a very common condition affecting approximately 6 million adults in the United States. While there is currently no cure for heart failure, there are medicines and lifestyle changes that can help people live longer and lead more active lives. For those of us who do not suffer from this condition but might be at risk, there are steps you can take now to avoid developing this life-threatening condition.
While some people genetically have a higher risk of congestive heart failure than others, and while it’s possible to have this condition as a result of heart defects at birth, there are a large number of heart failure cases that could have been prevented by a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Heart failure is the primary cause of 55,000 deaths a year, and it’s not just a disease impacting the elderly. It affects people of all ages, from children and young adults to the middle-aged and the elderly.
Becoming aware of how to reduce your risk, and making the necessary changes to prevent heart disease, is essential to preventing the adverse effects of the disease, which include lower quality of life, death, and a strain on the health care budget of the nation.
The best way to reduce your risk of heart failure and other heart-related diseases is to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, our society currently supports a way of life that leads to low movement/exercise, along with the high availability of highly-processed, densely-caloric and low nutritional foods.
It is up to us to learn about and adopt a healthier lifestyle. You can reduce your risk of heart failure by making small lifestyle changes. By swapping out sugar, trans fats and alcohol for more vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, you significantly increase your change of heart health. Smoking, and exposure to secondhand smoke, significantly increases your risk of heart failure, so avoid these practices to stay heart-healthy. You can also improve your heart health by maintaining a healthy weight; and carefully managing existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
It’s also important to understand heart failure when a loved one has become diagnosed. Having strong emotional and social support is fundamental to many people suffering from heart failure because they are simply unable to manage it alone. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, physically they may not be able to handle the daily tasks they might have easily done beforehand. This can be frustrating and produce feelings of shame when there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Secondly, the diagnosis of heart failure often means that treatment requires medication and a change of lifestyle habits. Adopting lifestyle changes, such as better eating habits, are much more difficult to adopt when one’s previous lifestyle was anything but heart-healthy. This can be confusing due to the amount of new information presented and challenging due to the necessary changes in one’s routine. All of this requires a significant amount of support and understanding from friends and loved ones.
And that’s why research has shown that people suffering from heart failure are better able to manage their condition and have a more positive outlook on life with support from their family and friends.
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It is located at the West Gateway 101
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Want to learn more about heart failure and how to support your loved one? Call 623-876-8816 today for an appointment in any location.
Pacemakers are often associated with elderly or unhealthy people, but this is an unfair assumption. They are recommended for treatment in adults, teens and children with varying conditions. Pacemakers can assist with individuals who take certain heart medications (such as beta-blockers) and those who have heart arrhythmia as well as patients who have had a heart transplant, damage due to heart disease or other heart muscle problems.
One of the common symptoms indicating the need for a pacemaker is a slower heart rate. A normal heart rate is from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm) in resting adults. However, you cannot base the decision to treat with a pacemaker by heart rate alone. It is normal for a heart rate to slow over time, and many highly trained athletes feel great even with a heartbeat of 45 bpm.
Other signs include dizziness, lightheadedness, unexplained fainting, shortness of breath, fatigue, malaise or even confusion. If you think you may be in need of a pacemaker, it’s important to consult your doctor. But before you do so, it’s beneficial to have an idea of the pros and cons that you can ask your doctor to explain further.
What are the benefits of getting a pacemaker? For one, there is relief from symptoms almost immediately after the surgery is over. Any feelings of dizziness, shortness of breath and fatigue will be replaced with increased energy and renewed vigor for life.
Pacemakers are also long-lasting, so there is no need to think about recurring surgical procedures. They can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years depending upon individual needs, with the average lifespan of the device spanning 6 to 7 years.
Furthermore, pacemakers can be configured in multiple distinct ways. Some models have electromagnetic resistance built into them. This means that with those models, you won’t have to be concerned about avoiding electrical devices.
Like any surgical procedure, there can be downsides or risks involved with getting a pacemaker although very low risks but it is important to discuss these risks with your doctor. Infections can occur even after a successful surgery, or there can be sensitivity to the device material. The pacemaker can also fail to deliver therapy when it is needed or provide overactive therapy when it is not needed. If there are problems with the device, you may need another surgery to fix it. Depending upon the model of pacemaker, you may also have to avoid exposure to certain fields of energy including metal detectors, electric generators and some medical machines like an MRI.
We’d like to announce our brand new full testing facility in our Southwest Valley Office.
It is located at the West Gateway 101
9520 W. Palm Lane Suite #150 Phoenix AZ 85307
Find out if a pacemaker would improve the quality of your life, speak with one of our doctors by calling 623-876-8816.
Heart disease is not just a problem for the middle-aged and elderly. In truth, heart conditions do not discriminate by age, and there are certain risk factors out there that can increase your risk of heart problems no matter how old you were at your last birthday. Fortunately, sudden death due to cardiovascular problems in people younger than 35 is rare, but it is always best to remain vigilant.
Here are three ways in which young people can develop cardiovascular problems:
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a defect or abnormality of the heart or blood vessels near the heart that develops in the womb before a child is born. Some children are born with a hole in one of the upper or lower chambers of their heart, constricted aortic arteries, and other structural defects. With the help of today’s modern technology, most children born with CHD will survive and lead normal to near-normal lives.
Acquired heart disease is not present at birth, but rather acquired through other diseases. An infection involving streptococcal bacteria, or strep throat, can lead to rheumatic fever if undiagnosed or not treated properly. This can lead to damage in the heart muscle and heart valves. Another acquired heart disease in young people is Kawasaki disease, which causes an acute inflammation of the blood vessels, especially the coronary arteries.
Heart disease and family history go hand in hand. Though many problems do not show up until later in life, diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) can develop at any time. HCM is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young people, including young athletes. Simply put, it is a thickening of the heart muscle below the aortic valves. This leads to stiffening of the heart walls and abnormal heart valve function, which impedes the normal flow of blood out of the heart.
An arrhythmia is an irregular heart rhythm that can occur with normal, fast, or slow heart rates. Quite common among people of all ages, arrhythmias are caused by many factors including coronary artery disease, blood imbalances, and heart surgery and are considered the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest.
Certain lifestyle choices can significantly increase a young person’s likelihood of developing heart disease. Smoking and cocaine use are some of the biggest risk factors for early heart disease and heart attack. Childhood obesity is a growing health concern that can lead to adolescents developing precursors for cardiovascular disease such as type-2 diabetes and hypertension. Poor diet and lack of exercise are also contributing factors.
If you would like to find out more about the causes of heart disease in young people, the professional team at Cardiac Solutions is always happy to help! Talking to our experienced cardiologists is the best way to address your concerns and maximize your heart health.
Make an appointment with our cardiac specialists today!
Heart disease and genetics are closely linked, but since there is no history of stroke or heart attack in your family, you are in the clear, right?
Your lifestyle is also a major player in the game! Certain habits can drastically increase your risk of heart attack, diabetes, and stroke, so if any of these at-risk lifestyles sound familiar, then you should consider making some big changes to maximize your heart health.
It’s a well-known fact that smoking is not good for your lungs, but it also greatly increases your risk of heart disease. In fact, people who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease because the nicotine in cigarettes limits the amount of oxygen that reaches your heart, increases your blood pressure, makes your heart beat faster, and damages the insides of your blood vessels. Roughly 1 in 5 deaths from heart disease are directly related to smoking, so quitting is the only solution to help lower your risk.
The good news? Your risk of developing heart disease greatly diminishes after just one to two years of not smoking,
Obese adults have a much higher risk for developing heart disease than their normal-weight peers. A recent Danish study tried to prove otherwise by claiming that obesity is not unhealthy as long as your lifestyle is relatively healthy and you don’t have high blood pressure or other signs of illness. However, follow-up research showed that even “metabolically healthy obese” males were three times more likely to develop heart disease and females had double the risk.
There really is something to the old adage that “you are what you eat”. The amount and type of food that you consume can have a direct impact on your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight, especially if you have diabetes. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to ward off cardiovascular disease, so choose nutrient rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy, and limit your intake of sweets, junk food, and red meats.
While binge-watching an entire season of your favorite show may be your definition of a great day, your heart does not agree. However, just 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise 3-4 days a week can help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol levels, and keep you at a healthy weight. If hitting that weekly exercise goal sounds like too much, too soon, don’t get discouraged! Even a little exercise is better than none.
Research shows that the flavonoids and antioxidants in red wine are good for your heart, but only when consumed in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends drinking no more than one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women (one drink = one 12oz. beer, 4 oz. wine, 1.5 oz. of 8-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits). Drinking any more than that could put you at risk for high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.
For more information on at-risk lifestyles and lowering your risk for developing heart disease, contact the cardiology experts at Cardiac Solutions.
Contact our expert cardiologists for more useful tips on lowering your risk of heart disease!
Unlike in the movies, not all heart attacks begin with sudden, crushing chest pain. Even people who have survived previous heart attacks may experience different symptoms the second time around. Since prompt recognition and treatment is crucial to surviving a heart attack, here is a list of warning signs that could indicate trouble is on the horizon.
The most common warning sign of a heart attack is pain or pressure in the chest that goes on for longer than a minute and is not alleviated by sitting down or resting. The pain could remain steady, go away and return, or spread down the arms, back, head, or neck.
Pain caused by an upcoming heart attack is not always in the chest. In fact, you can experience pain, discomfort, or a mild tingling sensation in your stomach, back, neck, upper or shoulder area of one or both arms, jaw, and even your teeth.
If it feels like someone has wrapped your upper body in rope and is pulling it tight, you may be experiencing a symptom of a coming heart attack. This suffocating sensation can also occur in your jaw and throat.
Profuse, cold sweating without any exertion or definitive reason why can be an early warning sign that your body is working harder than it should. When the arteries are clogged, it can take a lot of extra effort to pump blood through them, which increases your body temperature and triggers a natural response (sweating) to bring the temperature back down. Cold sweats and pale skin coloring often arrive together and should be taken seriously, so definitely seek medical attention.
While it is easy to write off fatigue as a lack of sleep or a busy schedule, tiredness while doing everyday activities can be a symptom of heart failure. Your heart may be working overtime to pump enough blood to critical areas so less blood is reaching your muscles, causing muscle weakness and fatigue.
Particularly seen in women, shortness of breath that is not brought about by strenuous activity can be attributable to a coming heart attack. The cause is rooted in a breakdown in the process of returning blood to the lungs from the heart, which can allow fluid to leak into the lungs and create breathing problems.
If you are already at risk for a heart attack, don’t just chalk up feelings of indigestion, nausea, bloating, coughing, and diarrhea to the flu. You may be experiencing these symptoms because your digestive system is not getting the blood it needs to function properly.
Lightheadedness is a common symptom of a heart problem, so sit down and call someone for help. Even if the feeling passes, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible to find out what caused the attack.
Though it is unclear how insomnia is linked to heart failure, almost 50% of heart attack patients complain of sleeping problems in the days leading up to their coronary episode.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the experienced team at Cardiac Solutions as soon as you can or go straight to the hospital.
We are happy to answer your questions or address your concerns, so contact us today at any one of our locations!
Many people believe that if there is something they need to know about their heart health, then their cardiologist will bring it up during their next appointment. After all, the doctor knows best, right?
However, your cardiologist may not think to provide certain information simply because they are so focused on treating the problem at hand, leaving you with a myriad of questions in the “how”, “what”, and “why” categories. Simply responding to questions doesn’t always provide you with the information you need, so start asking questions of your own.
Need some help getting started on your list? Here are some key questions you should ask your cardiologist at your next appointment.
Every heart is different. Some minor complaints, like heart palpitations, may be completely normal in one person and troubling in another, but knowing what is normal for your heart can help put your mind at ease.
Genetics and heart disease are often linked, so it’s important for you to discuss your family history with your cardiologist. If you have a first-degree relative (mom, dad, brother, or sister) who was diagnosed with heart disease, then you are 2-3x more likely to develop the condition yourself. Ask your cardiologist for an overall risk assessment and whether there are any steps you can take to decrease your risk.
There are a wide variety of risk factors for heart disease, but not all of them are readily apparent. Obesity, smoking, and your age may seem obvious, but you may not have thought about how stress, diet, and family history affect your heart health. It definitely helps to have a realistic understanding of which factors pertain to you, and if there is anything you can do about it.
Heart attacks happen fast and knowing the signs to watch out for ahead of time could be the difference between survival and death. Not all heart attacks come with crushing chest pain, so go over all of the possibilities with your cardiologist and have a plan of action in place. It could save your life!
A healthy lifestyle is the best way to take care of your heart. If you are honest with your cardiologist about your current lifestyle, they may have some great ideas for simple changes that could prove beneficial for your entire cardiovascular system.
Whether you want to enquire about treatment options for your specific heart condition or simply find out when to schedule your next appointment, discussing your health plan with your cardiologist gives you an opportunity to ask any other questions that come to mind.
Doctors’ offices can be intimidating, so don’t assume that you will remember everything you want to ask during your appointment. The experts at Cardiac Solutions recommend that you prepare your list of questions ahead of time to ensure that you have the information you need to maximize your heart health.
To find out more information, contact our professional team today!
A heart disease diagnosis can be a frightening experience, bringing up visions of open heart surgeries, long-recovery times, and a negative impact on your quality of life. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart-disease related incident, which continually motivates doctors and researchers to find better cardiovascular treatments; fortunately, many of the latest advances are of the non-surgical variety. For years, many doctors have relied on EKGs, chest x-rays, and CT scans to help diagnose heart disease, ACE inhibitors to prevent heart failure, and statins to lower bad cholesterol levels. While these procedures and medications are still providing great results, here are some new, non-surgical cardiovascular treatments that could reshape the way expert cardiologists diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
Cardiologists have used echocardiography for years to get a clear picture of the heart and its surrounding tissues. However, getting a good image often depends on having a clear line of sight from the body surface to the interior of the heart. If the patient is overweight, has significant lung disease, or cannot be laterally rotated, then the resulting images can be unclear.
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) circumvents these problems because it produces pictures of your heart from inside your esophagus. During the procedure, a doctor will gently guide a thin, flexible tube down your throat. The high-frequency echo transducer attached the end of the tube sends out sound waves to your heart and transforms the echoes that bounce back into pictures on the video screen. TEE has proven a much more useful tool for seeing blood clots, mitral valve disorders, or tears in the lining of the aorta.
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common reasons for admission to the hospital for people suffering from cardiovascular disorders. Characterized by a failure of the heart muscle to adequately pump blood to the body’s tissues, heart failure is often caused by heart attacks, high blood pressure, or diseases that weaken the heart. ACE inhibitors have been the gold standard for treating heart failure, but a new FDA-approved drug known as Entresto is causing a substantial 20% reduction in death or repeat hospitalization.
The first in a new class of drugs known as angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs), Entresto combines two compounds (valsartan and sacubitril) to reduce the strain on a failing heart by helping blood vessels relax and decreasing the buildup of sodium and fluid in the body. Currently, 20% of patients admitted for heart failure are readmitted within 30 days, but Entresto is changing all that by helping more and more people live longer and stay out of the hospital.
It is well known that “bad” LDL cholesterol is not good for your heart. In fact, elevated LDL cholesterol is the leading cause for developing coronary heart disease. Statins, the current leading drugs for reducing cholesterol levels, can decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 35%, but recent advances in PSCK9 inhibitors leave that statistic in the dust.
PSCK9 inhibitors target and inactivate a specific protein in the liver, which dramatically reduces the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream. Lower bad cholesterol equals healthier arteries, fewer heart attacks, strokes, and other cholesterol-related cardiovascular problems. PSCK9 inhibitors are given by injection every two to four weeks, showing remarkable reductions in LDL cholesterol of 50%-70% in just one year!
Cardiac Solutions is dedicated to staying at the forefront of technology to provide you with the absolute best care for your cardiovascular condition. Schedule an appointment today to find out more information!
To find out more information on the latest non-surgical treatment options, contact our exceptional cardiac team today!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In fact, 1 in 4 deaths every year can be attributed to heart disease, so the stakes are high when it comes to finding effective treatment options.
Fortunately, there have recently been several significant advances in heart disease treatments that are providing effective alternatives to open heart surgery. From minimally-invasive catheter-based techniques to implantable devices that can monitor atrial fibrillation, here are some of the exciting new treatment breakthroughs expert cardiologists and electrophysiologists are offering to improve your cardiovascular health.
A severely damaged heart valve, a condition known as aortic stenosis, can cause shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, loss of consciousness, or even death if left untreated. Many patients with heart valve disease are older or too ill to withstand open-heart surgery. However, TAVR is a new surgical procedure that can replace your aortic valve without a major operation.
Approved by the FDA in 2011, TAVR is performed by inserting a small catheter into the femoral artery and using advanced imaging techniques to guide the instrument into the chambers of the heart. Through this catheter, a collapsed tissue heart valve is routed into position and placed directly inside the diseased valve. Then, a balloon is inflated to expand the new valve, which starts to function immediately.
The best part about TAVR? Recovery is quick, and patients are typically discharged within one to three days!
Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia, which can cause a heart to beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. People with AF have an increased risk for stroke, and can experience symptoms like chest pain, heart failure, or even no symptoms at all. Cryoablation for atrial fibrillation is a new minimally-invasive, FDA-approved procedure that can disable the heart cells that cause AF and restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
During cryoablation, an electrophysiologist inserts a balloon catheter into a blood vessel in the upper leg and uses advanced imaging techniques to thread the tube through the body until it reaches the heart. Once the catheter reaches the area of the heart that opens to the pulmonary vein, the electrophysiologist exposes the small amount of heart tissue that is causing the erratic electrical signals to extreme cold energy. The heart then returns to a normal, healthy rhythm.
Trying to figure out why you are having fainting spells can be incredibly frustrating. A standard electrocardiogram (ECG) can monitor what happens to your heart rhythm during a five-minute period, but that is not very helpful if the abnormality occurs infrequently. Implantable loop recorders are much more effective at answering your questions because they can continuously monitor your heart’s rhythm for up to three years!
Implanting the loop recorder is a minor surgical procedure typically done in a doctor’s office with a local anesthetic. The doctor will make a tiny incision in your chest, insert a device that is smaller than a thumb drive, and close up the incision. The loop recorder will monitor the electrical impulses of your heart and automatically transmit the data to your doctor via the internet and wireless technology. All you need to do is keep the transmission monitor by your bed so transmissions can occur while you sleep.
To find out more information about the latest surgical procedures for cardiovascular health, contact our professional cardiology team today!
When the heart produces irregular rhythms that originate in its lower chambers, or ventricles, this condition is referred to as a ventricular arrhythmia. Three ventricular arrhythmias frequently treated by cardiologists include ventricular fibrillation, premature ventricular contractions, and ventricular tachycardia.
One of the most dangerous types of heart arrhythmias is ventricular fibrillation. This condition involves an irregular and uncontrolled heartbeat that can become chaotic and rapid, sometimes reaching as high as 300 beats per minute. This results in reduced blood flow from the heart to the brain and can lead to fainting. Other symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, and the sensation of an abnormal heartbeat. Immediate treatment for ventricular fibrillation typically involves CPR or cardioversion, a procedure which can shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. Doctors may recommend medications or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) to prevent future episodes. To improve blood flow, some patients may require coronary angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery.
Premature Ventricular Contractions
Also referred to as PVCs, premature ventricular contractions are extra heartbeats that begin in one of the heart’s ventricles. These contractions are common and frequently produce no symptoms. In some occurrences, the individual may notice a fluttering sensation, skipped or missed beats, or a pounding feeling in their chest. For many patients, treatment begins with lifestyle changes, such as eliminating tobacco and caffeine, which can both trigger a PVC. Beta blockers may be prescribed to suppress PVC episodes, and doctors may recommend radiofrequency catheter ablation therapy when other treatments fail.
Caused by a problem with the heart’s electrical system, ventricular tachycardia is a condition in which the heart’s ventricles beat too quickly. Episodes can be brief and may not cause symptoms, but longer instances can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Common treatments for ventricular tachycardia include ICD insertion, pacemakers, cardiac ablation, cardioversion, and medications.
If you’re experiencing heart disease symptoms in Phoenix, the skilled cardiologists at Cardiac Solutions can diagnose and treat your heart condition. To learn more about heart disease or schedule an appointment, call us today at (623) 876-8816.