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Diseases That Increase Your Risk of Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a chronic and progressive condition in which the heart functions weaker than normal. It does not mean that the heart stops but instead that it can’t work as efficiently to supply the body with nutrients it needs. About six million people in the US are living with heart failure, and it is the leading reason for hospitalizations in people over 65. Several conditions contribute to congestive heart failure, so if you have one of these diseases, talk to your doctor about ways you can cut your risk of developing it.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease , or CAD, occurs when the arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen become narrowed or completely blocked. The lack of blood flow starves the heart of the nutrients it needs. CAD is usually caused by plaque build-up in the arteries as the result of high cholesterol. CAD can lead to a heart attack if the flow of blood to the heart is stopped completely. While CAD can itself lead to heart failure with or without a heart attack, the damage done to the heart muscle during a heart attack can dramatically increase your risk.

Cardiomyopathy

With cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle becomes enlarged, thickened, or stiffened. The condition is progressive, and as a result, the heart’s ability to pump is compromised, which leads to congestive heart failure. There are three types of cardiomyopathy – dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive – and the treatment your heart doctor recommends depends on the type you have.

Non-Cardiac Conditions

Non-cardiac conditions that put a strain on the heart can also cause heart failure. These include thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Often, managing these conditions if you have them can reduce your risk of developing heart failure.

At Cardiac Solutions , our team works closely with heart failure patients to help them control symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. If you have been diagnosed with a heart disease, including congestive heart failure in Phoenix, schedule an appointment at our clinic today by calling (623) 876-8816.

Benefits of Electrophysiology Studies

Electrophysiology studies, or EPS, are important tools your heart doctor can use to diagnose and manage your heart condition. The test takes between one and four hours, and you will be kept comfortable throughout with the use of a local anesthetic.

EPS is performed to test the electrical activity of your heart and determine the cause of an arrhythmia. The test helps your heart doctor determine which arrhythmia treatment is right for you, such as medication, a pacemaker or ICD, ablation, or cardiac surgery. The biggest benefit of EPS for patients is that is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t require a hospital stay. Most patients return to their usual activities the following day.

EPS is one of the tests we use to diagnose heart conditions at Cardiac Solutions . Ask your doctor for a referral to one of our cardiologists near Phoenix if you are experiencing heart disease symptoms. You can schedule a consultation by calling (623) 876-8816.

How to Reduce Sodium in Your Diet

Heart conditions are often managed with a combination of lifestyle modifications and medical treatments. One of the changes your heart doctor may recommend implementing is reducing the amount of sodium you eat. Following a low-sodium diet can help you prevent or manage heart disease. In addition to refraining from adding salt to foods, you’ll need to watch out for hidden sodium in common foods.

Reduce Sodium in Diet Going Grocery Shopping
Adding lots of fresh vegetables and fruits to your grocery cart is one way to reduce the amount of sodium you eat. You could also choose frozen vegetables with no added salt. Packaged foods often contain high amounts of sodium. Read nutrition labels carefully before purchasing processed products. Be particularly careful with condiments, which often contain lots of salt. Select fresh or frozen poultry that hasn’t been treated with a sodium solution.

Dining Out
Restaurant meals are notoriously high in sodium. Consider choosing a restaurant that provides nutrition information for its meals. Otherwise, avoid menu items with the following descriptive words:

  • Brined
  • Cured
  • Smoked
  • Au jus
  • Miso
  • Teriyaki

While ordering, ask your server to instruct the chef not to use extra salt and to leave sauces to the side of the plate.

Preparing Food at Home
Making homemade meals from fresh ingredients is an excellent way to control the amount of sodium you eat. Instead of adding salt, you can use lemon juice, onions, garlic, pepper, and other flavorful ingredients. If you use mixtures of dried herbs and spices, make sure that the product doesn’t contain added sodium. Look for recipes that incorporate potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes, greens, kidney beans, and sweet potatoes. Increasing your potassium intake can help you control your blood pressure.

Cardiac Solutions provides educational classes for patients and family members, which cover topics such as following a low-sodium diet after a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Call (623) 876-8816 to reach one of our convenient locations in Arizona. Or, visit us on the Web to learn more about working with our cardiologists near Glendale, Phoenix, or Avondale.

Ejection Fraction and Why It’s Important

If you’ve been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you may have heard your heart doctor discussing ejection fraction (EF). EF is a measurement that lets your heart doctor know how much blood your heart is pumping out of the left ventricle each time it contracts. Normally, a person without heart conditions will have an EF of about 55 to 70 percent. This means that 55 to 70 percent of the blood is being pushed out with each contraction.

If a person’s EF is under 40, this may be indicative of congestive heart failure or cardiomyopathy. An EF measurement between 40 and 55 could reveal damage to the heart, such as from a previous heart attack. However, it is not necessarily indicative of heart failure. A very high EF may also be cause for concern. An EF greater than 75 percent may indicate hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. However, since it is possible to have a normal EF and still have heart failure, your ejection fraction is just one of the many aspects of your heart health that your cardiologist will review.

Patients with heart failure, heart arrhythmia, peripheral vascular disease, and other cardiovascular conditions can contact Cardiac Solutions at (623) 876-8816. We provide personalized, compassionate care for patients with heart conditions in Phoenix, Sun City West, and beyond.

Kids Explain Heart Attacks

A heart attack is no laughing matter; however, this video takes a lighthearted approach to emphasize to viewers the importance of calling 911 immediately when symptoms of a heart attack are observed. The kids featured in this video discuss how heart disease can lead to a blocked coronary artery, and consequently, a heart attack. And while these kids aren’t cardiologists, they also debunk one common myth regarding heart attacks.

Since a heart attack could happen to anyone, you may wish to consider talking to your doctor about your risk factors. If you do have cardiovascular conditions such as high cholesterol or coronary artery disease, you might be referred to a heart doctor.

Since 1984, Cardiac Solutions have been proud to provide state-of-the-art diagnostics and sophisticated treatment options for patients with heart disease in Phoenix. Give us a call at (623) 876-8816 to book an appointment at one of our cardiology clinics in the West Valley .