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Heart Disease

Hitesh B. Patel, MD -  - Board Certified Internal Medicine

Premier Healthcare Associates, PC

Hitesh B. Patel, MD

Board Certified Internal Medicine (Primary Care Physician) & Board Certified Obesity Medicine located in Brick, NJ

Heart disease is a significant problem that causes more premature deaths across the United States than any other condition. If you have any symptoms of heart trouble, internal medicine specialist Hitesh Patel, MD, of Premier Healthcare Associates, PC, in Brick, New Jersey, can help. Dr. Patel delivers expert care for patients who are at risk of heart disease and those who already have a heart condition. Find out how healthy your heart is by calling Premier Healthcare Associates, PC, or book an appointment online today.

Heart Disease Q & A

What is heart disease?

Heart disease isn't a single condition, but a term that covers a group of diseases, including:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Pericardial disease
  • Aorta disease
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)

Heart disease is a leading cause of death, but it's possible to prevent many of the most serious heart problems.

How does heart disease affect my heart?

Each day of your life, your heart beats around 100,000 times, pumping blood around your body. Blood leaving your heart is rich in oxygen. As the blood travels around your body, it delivers oxygen to all your tissues and organs. Veins take the blood back to your heart to replenish the oxygen, and the cycle continues.

Heart disease affects your heart's ability to pump blood. Without enough oxygen, your body suffers chronic problems like breathlessness, cramps, and pain. If heart disease reaches a critical stage and causes your heart to stop, it could have potentially life-threatening consequences.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Some of the more common symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Feeling of pressure in your chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tachycardia (racing heart)
  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Lack of energy
  • Swollen lower legs

If you have severe chest pain with breathing difficulties or you pass out, you should get emergency medical assistance.

What causes heart disease?

Some forms of heart disease are present at birth (congenital). However, most people develop heart disease later in life. The leading cause of heart disease is atherosclerosis, which is a build-up of plaque in your arteries.

Plaque is a sticky substance that contains cholesterol and adheres to the inside walls of your arteries and makes them narrower, reducing blood flow. Atherosclerosis is usually a result of unhealthy living, including factors such as:

  • Being overweight
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive alcohol intake

Heart disease can also develop if you have medical conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), in which the pressure inside your arteries can reach dangerous levels. Diseases like diabetes, as well as infections and toxins, can also lead to heart disease.

How is heart disease diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Patel offers onsite EKG (electrocardiogram) testing and ankle-brachial index testing to diagnose heart disease. If these tests aren't conclusive, Dr. Patel provides 24-hour blood pressure monitoring and Holter monitoring devices for you to wear at home.

Addressing poor lifestyle choices is vital in treating heart disease. Dr. Patel can support you with making changes like losing weight and stopping smoking. He may also prescribe medications for your heart disease, like ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, or beta-blockers.

Schedule a heart health check-up by calling Premier Healthcare Associates, PC, today, or book an appointment online.