Cardiac conditions

Tyler CVC physicians have experience and expertise treating a full range of heart conditions. From atrial fibrillation to arrhythmias to congestive heart failure to hypertension, our cardiologists have seen and treated it all. Though heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, there is also much you can do to improve your heart health – no matter what your age or physical condition.

To make an appointment at Tyler CVC, call 903-595-5514 or 800-543-2783

Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of heart disease and maintain good heart health

Quit smoking

The odds alone tell a powerful story. People who smoke are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who don’t – and smokers who do have a heart attack are far more likely to die than non-smokers who have a heart attack.

Maintain healthy blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the most common risk factor for heart disease. Because high blood pressure damages arteries in the body, it puts those who don’t keep their hypertension in check at risk of the burst or clogged blood vessels that lead to a stroke. Avoiding salt, regular exercise and a healthy diet can all help control high blood pressure.

Improve cholesterol levels

The fat-like substance known as cholesterol is natural, and found in all the cells in our body. While cholesterol is necessary for good health, too much of it puts you at increased risk of heart disease. To maintain healthy cholesterol, take care to eat a diet high in fiber and low in refined sugars, saturated fat and cholesterol. Be sure to ask your provider for the proper levels for your individual needs.

Get moving

Physical activity is essential to achieving good cardiovascular health. Physical activity doesn’t have to mean running marathons – it is anything that gets your body in motion and burns calories, including walking. The American Heart Association suggests that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.

Eat right for your heart

What you put in your mouth goes a long way towards determining your risk for heart disease. A heart-healthy diet is rich in plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and beans. Low-fat dairy products and lean chicken and fish are also part of a heart-healthy nutritional plan. Though you don’t have to cut anything out entirely, limiting red meat, sweets, saturated fats, salt and trans fats also will boost your heart health.

Maintain a healthy weight

Consult your doctor to find out what your ideal weight is. Staying at the optimal weight for your height and body type is good for your heart and also can help you manage cholesterol.

Diagnose and treat diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most commonly undiagnosed diseases. Get tested to find out whether you have it and, if you do, get treated to lower your risk of heart disease.

Keep stress in check

Stress is unavoidable. But too much stress over a long period of time can increase your risk of heart disease. Find ways to prevent and cope with stressful situations to boost your overall heart health.

Common symptoms and signs of heart disease

 There is no single type of heart disease. It can include everything from irregular heartbeats to heart failure to coronary artery disease, and the symptoms of each condition can vary. Here are some symptoms associated with common types of heart disease.

Coronary artery disease is very common in the U.S., and occurs when plaque build-up in the arteries limits the flow of blood to the heart. Symptoms of coronary artery disease include:

  • Chest pain, including aching, heaviness, pressure, fullness or a squeezing sensation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Arrhythmias are when your heart beats abnormally. Symptoms of arrhythmias include:

  • Palpitations, meaning a feeling of fluttering or skipped heart beats
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Discomfort in the chest

Heart failure is when the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Common symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath, particularly during periods of physical activity
  • A cough that produces white sputum
  • Swelling in ankles and abdomen
  • Dizziness or fatigue and weakness
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain

Congenital heart defects include a hole in the heart, narrowed or closed heart valves and other conditions that are present at birth. Though these defects may be diagnosed during a physical exam or via a chest X-Ray or EKG, symptoms to be mindful of include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Rapid weight gain

Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of the valves located at the exit of the heart’s four chambers don’t function properly. The valves ensure that blood flows in one direction and does not leak backwards. Symptoms that the heart valves may not be working normally include:

  • Shortness or difficulty catching your breath, either while doing normal daily activities or while laying flat
  • Chest discomfort
  • Palpitations, meaning a feeling of fluttering or skipped heart beats
  • Weakness or dizziness

A heart attack is when blood flow that delivers vital oxygen to the heart is either stopped or severely curtailed. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain, pressure, discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arm or below the breastbone
  • Radiating discomfort to the jaw, throat, back or arm
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness or shortness of breath
  • Fullness or a feeling like heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Symptoms of a heart attack generally begin mild and become increasingly painful, and are not relieved by rest or medications

The importance of acting fast if you think you’re having a heart attack cannot be overstated. Delays in treatment can be fatal or result in damage to the heart that can make recovery difficult. Call 911 if you think you’re having a heart attack.

When to schedule an appointment with a Tyler CVC cardiologist

Reacting quickly by calling 911 if you think you’re having a heart attack is critical. But it is far better to act well before you’re in the midst of a medical emergency. As a general rule, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above it’s wise to consult with a cardiologist. Here are other reasons to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment:

  • Family history If anybody in your family has had a heart attack or heart disease, you are at higher risk.
  • Current or former smoker Smoking elevates your risk of heart disease by reducing the flow of oxygen to the heart and increasing blood pressure and damaging the arteries.
  • Doctor’s advice If your primary care physician thinks you should see a heart specialist, don’t ignore their recommendation.
  • Elevated cholesterol or blood pressure If your total cholesterol is above 200, you are at higher risk of heart disease. High blood pressure is also a reason to schedule an appointment.
  • Diabetes Because diabetes can contribute to heart disease, people with diabetes should seek the guidance of a cardiologist.