Heart Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Diagnostic Tests

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of mortality for both men and women in the United States? According to the American Heart Association, more than 600,000 deaths in the U.S. are attributed to heart disease. This is equivalent to almost one out of four cases of mortality among adults. Due to the rising number of heart problems in the U.S., it is crucial to find a cardiology clinic in Heber to ensure regular consultation, laboratory workup, and examination to rule out heart pathology.

What Causes Heart Disease?

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease worldwide. This occurs due to the accumulation of fats in the vessels that supply blood to the heart. This leads to the turbulence of blood flow, which results in alteration of normal blood circulation. As a result, the tissue of the heart receives decreased oxygen and nutrients. As the heart muscle stiffens, the normal pumping action of the heart further declines, leading to an irreversible heart problem. Hence, it is important to visit a cardiologist to undergo annual testing, especially among individuals with risk factors.

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease is characterized by several symptoms based on the extent and severity of vessel occlusion. You may experience chest heaviness or tightness with radiating pain over the left arm and shoulder. It is also associated with dizziness, weakness, numbness, nausea, and vomiting. Minimal vessel blockage is characterized by chest pain that is alleviated with rest. However, as the occlusion increases in size, chest pain becomes constant and unrelieved by rest. At the earliest sign of chest heaviness, an immediate visit with a cardiologist is highly recommended.

woman holding chest

What Tests Can I Undergo to Rule Out Heart Disease?

During your initial consultation with your cardiologist, you may be advised to undergo several tests in order to rule out cardiac pathology. Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart to determine the rate, rhythm, and presence of a blockage. It is a basic test of cardiac function wherein you are hooked to 10 electrodes to observe the heart’s pumping activity in real time.

If a slight abnormality is detected in the ECG strip, further laboratory testing is necessary. Echocardiogram is a more specific test for the heart to have an in-depth view of muscles, chambers, and valves to visualize any underlying abnormality.

In emergency cases wherein a patient experiences acute chest heaviness, coronary artery disease must be ruled out through laboratory testing. Measurement of cardiac enzymes, such as creatinine kinase, myoglobin, and troponin, is necessary to rule out a heart attack.

Studies show that Americans have a higher risk of developing heart disease. Several risk factors, such as increased cholesterol, tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar levels, largely contribute to the progression of heart problems. Since approximately half of U.S. citizens have at least one of these risk factors, they are more predisposed to heart conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to undergo regular consultation with a cardiologist to ensure that your heart is in its optimal condition.

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