Bay has the electrophysiology lab of the future, with three-dimensional cardiac imaging, a multi-discipline approach to treating peripheral vascular disease, experienced cardiologists performing more than 2,500 diagnostic and interventional heart procedures annually, and surgeons who do more than 300 open heart surgeries each year. Patients sent to Cardiac Rehab go for more than just exercise. They get a complete workout on heart health, from smoking cessation, to eating a diet low in fats and cholesterol, to stress reduction.
The average human heart beats more than 100,000 times a day (estimating 72 beats per minute). When arteries are blocked, the heart signals are restless, or heart valves leak, we get distress signals. McLaren Bay Region interventional cardiologist Eric Sweterlitsch, M.D., says we often brush off minor chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue as lifestyle stress, indigestion or not enough exercise.
"If an individual experiences these symptoms over a 2-3 day period, says Dr. Sweterlitsch, "he or she should be dialing the phone for an evaluation of their symptoms. Some heart attack early warning signs appear without warning. Often, chest discomfort, shortness of breath and fatigue appear gradually over days or weeks."
Known risk factors for heart disease include:
- Family history of parents, siblings or grandparents with heart disease;
- High blood pressure and/or cholesterol;
- Eating foods high in polyunsaturated fats;
- Weight more than 10 pounds above recommendations for your body frame, height and age;
- Lack of regular aerobic exercise;
- Exposure to multiple high stress situations.
"When we talk about the heart, it’s an individual system-wide circulatory route of veins and arteries that carries life-giving oxygen and nutrients, and removes wastes like carbon dioxide. If you want to reduce the risk of having your heart brought in for repair, early prevention is the key," says Dr. Sweterlitsch. "That means exercise, a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and having a fasting blood cholesterol test done once a year. Make your physician an ally in helping you keep your heart disease-free."