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What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Heart disease a serious condition that can increase your risk of serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. If you have heart disease, you need to seek treatment from a cardiologist as soon as possible. Below is some information to help you understand heart disease and recognize the symptoms so you can catch it as early as possible.
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What to Do if Heart Disease Runs in Your Family

If heart disease runs in your family, you may be nervous about your chances of developing this condition. However, having a family history of heart disease doesn't necessarily mean you will have a heart problem. Nonetheless, you need to be vigilant and proactive to protect your heart and remain as healthy as possible throughout your life. 

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Factors That Determine What Vein Treatment Options You are Offered

In the past, patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins were limited to only one or two treatment options. Thanks to advances in technology, vein doctors now no longer have such limited vein treatment options. Today, treatment for varicose or spider veins is often less painful, more effective, and less invasive than the limited treatment options that were available in the past.

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A Specialized Vein Doctor Is Your Best Option for the Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

Cosmetic Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose veins and spider veins are never a welcome sight. These unsightly monsters can add years to skin that otherwise appears smooth, even, and youthful. Thick and bulging, varicose veins often stick out above the surface of the skin in garish colors such that range from a bruised red to a deep blue.

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When You Need Spider Vein Treatment

Spider veins can be distressing in appearance, although they often have no symptoms. However, many people seek spider vein treatment because the colored “starbursts” are so noticeable, especially when they occur on the face. Here's what you need to know about spider veins and their treatment, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens and Premier Heart and Vein Care.
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Advances in Technology Provide New Vein Treatment Options for Patients

In the past, patients who were suffering from spider veins or varicose veins could only find relief by going through a lengthy, and sometimes painful, surgical procedure. Recent technological advances have changed the vein treatment options that are available to patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins.
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Do I Need a Vein Clinic?

Summer is a time for shorts and bathing suits to help beat the heat. On the other hand, any time of year is good for a ,little black dress. If you have varicose veins or spider veins, however, you may feel uncomfortable wearing these wardrobe staples. Or you may actually be having uncomfortable symptoms. These are all good reasons to visit a vein clinic. Here's how a vein clinic might be helpful if you need varicose veins treated or spider vein removal, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens, at Premier Heart and Vein Care in San Luis Obispo, California.
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Debunking Myths Associated with Electrocardiography Testing

The information doctors obtain from electrocardiography testing, such as EKG or ECG, can save lives. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to undergo this type of testing because they believe the testing is dangerous, painful, or time consuming.

Debunking some of the myths and common misconceptions surrounding EKG or ECG testing will help patients who are seeing the cardiology and vein doctor at Premier Heart & Vein Care feel better about having to have this procedure performed.

Electrocardiography Testing is Extremely Time Consuming

People are often surprised to discover that EKGs and ECGs are some of the fastest tests. In fact, it will probably take more time for you to complete the check-in process and get prepared for the test than it will to have the actual test performed.

For the most part, the testing process associated with an EKG or ECG will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. The real time consuming part of an EKG or ECG is the placement and removal of the electrobes. Placing and removing the electrobes can take almost as long as the actual test procedure.

EKG and ECG Testing Involves Shocking the Body with an Electrical Current

The electrobes that are placed all over the body during an EKG or ECG do not emit any type of electricity. This means you are not at risk of getting hurt from an electrical current. The purpose of the electrobes is to measure and record the electrical activity in the heart.

The EKG or ECG Testing Procedure is Painful

People automatically assume that because EKG or ECG testing measures electrical activity to the heart and there are a lot of electrobes involved that it will be painful, but it isn't. The entire testing process is painless.

While the testing process is pain free, there is a slight risk that you may experience some pain or irritation from the adhesive bandages used to hold the electrobes in place. If this should occur, topical cream can be applied to sooth any irritation, pain, or itching you experience.

Stress EKGs Cause Heart Attacks

Occasionally, a doctor may want to see how your heart reacts to physical or strenuous exercise. A stress EKG, sometimes called a stress test, may be performed. A huge misconception surrounding this type of testing is that it causes heart attacks. It doesn't.

A stress EKG is not what causes the heart attacks or the irregular heartbeat. It is the exercise or strenuous activity that causes the heart attack. The stress EKG is just monitoring and recording how the heart reacts.

Premier Heart & Vein Care can answer any questions you may have regarding electrocardiography testing. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality cardiovascular care. We want you to feel comfortable with the procedures that are being performed. Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken Stevens to discuss and learn more about EKG or ECG testing.

Here's Why Preventive Cardiology Is Important for Your Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the the U.S., responsible for about 1 out of every 4 deaths that occur. Although heart disease tends to be thought of as a medical problem that only occurs at an older age or almost solely affects men, both of those assumptions are untrue - and could be dangerous to your health. In fact, heart disease can develop at any age, and heart disease is the top cause of death for both sexes. And what’s more, people with certain risk factors can be at a much greater risk for heart disease and the problems it can cause.

The good news: Preventive cardiology can help you reduce your risks of heart disease by identifying risk factors associated with the disease and providing you with the guidance and care you need to address those problems and improve your cardiovascular health.

Preventive Cardiology: What Is It?

Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it needs to be kept in good shape in order to continue to function properly. Preventive cardiology starts with a thorough assessment of the heart and cardiovascular system, using an array of tests and evaluations, including:

  • a blood pressure evaluations
  • weight and body mass index (BMI) calculations
  • EKGs to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity
  • blood tests to assess levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose (blood sugar) and other factors
  • echocardiograms (ultrasound evaluations of the heart)
  • cardiac stress testing, used to evaluate how the heart functions during strenuous physical activity

In addition, the cardiologist will ask for an in-depth personal and family medical history as well as information about the patient’s lifestyle and habits, like tobacco, alcohol and drug use, physical activity levels, stress management and other issues that can affect heart health.

At the conclusion of the evaluation, patients will be provided with a customized treatment plan including guidance to help them improve unhealthy behaviors so they can reduce their risks for cardiovascular diseases. Additional testing may also be ordered, depending on the results of the initial evaluations.

Who benefits from preventive cardiology?

Considering heart disease is so prevalent, just about any adult can benefit from preventive care. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends regular cardiovascular screening beginning at age 20. While the tests and evaluations used in preventive care can benefit healthy men and women with no known risk factors for heart disease, they’re especially important for those with known risk factors like:

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • family history of heart disease
  • history of smoking
  • obesity
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • personal history of diseases that affect the cardiovascular system, like Marfan’s syndrome or rheumatic fever

Cardiac Specialists in San Luis Obispo

Ready to take that first step toward better cardiovascular health? Call Premier Heart and Vein Care at 805-979-4777 and schedule an evaluation today.

 

Visit Our Cardiovascular Center for State-of-the-Art Stress Testing

Cardiac testing plays an important role in identifying heart disease and its risk factors, and it’s also important for ensuring ongoing treatment stays on track. Our practice offers several types of cardiac testing depending on each patient’s individual needs and the type of information that’s being sought. One of the most useful tests for diagnosing heart problems and managing their treatment is called a cardiac stress test - and although the name may sound a little scary, it’s actually a simple, straightforward, noninvasive evaluation that can be performed right here in our cardiovascular center.

Cardiac Stress Tests: What Are They?

Cardiac stress tests are designed to evaluate how well the heart performs during strenuous physical activity.

The tests can be useful in diagnosing and treating an array of heart-related issues, including:

  • coronary artery disease
  • valve-related problems
  • rhythm problems, including atrial fibrillation
  • congestive heart failure

Plus, the tests can be very helpful in managing treatment for existing cardiovascular problems and in identifying risk factors for heart disease.

How is a stress test performed at a cardiovascular center?

Prior to the test, you’ll be given instructions about whether or not to take certain types of meds, and it’s a good idea to eat only a light meal during the few hours before the test. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes since you’ll be exercising.

At the start of the test, EKG leads will be attached to your skin in specific areas using a sticky gel. The EKG will be used throughout the entire test to monitor your heart’s electrical activity. An ultrasound (echocardiogram) of the heart may also be performed to obtain detailed images of the heart’s structures (including the heart’s walls, valves and chambers) and the blood vessels and blood flow around the heart. During the echocardiogram, a special handpiece called a transducer will be passed over your skin, transmitting data to a computer and monitor where the images can be viewed.

Next, you’ll be asked to walk on a treadmill at a steadily increasing speed until a target heart rate is reached. A second ultrasound will be performed once that target rate is achieved. Once the test is complete, you’ll be able to resume your regular activities, and the doctor will carefully review your results and discuss them with you, either the same day or within the next day or two.

Keep your heart healthy.

Stress tests are also used in preventive cardiology to help people reduce their risks for cardiovascular disease. If you’ve been experiencing heart-related problems, if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, or if you just want to understand your risks for disease, a cardiac evaluation is essential. At Premier Heart and Vein, we offer state-of-the-art cardiac testing to help men and women improve their heart health and reduce their risk for serious heart-related problems. To schedule your evaluation at our cardiovascular center, give us a call at 805-979-4777 today.

 

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