Frequently Asked Questions

What is ischemic heart disease?

Cardiac ischemia presents when blood flow to the heart is restricted or reduced. This condition is usually due to a block in the coronary arteries.

Am I at risk of developing ischemic heart disease?

Early in life, most people start developing fatty deposits in the arteries, however not everyone will develop cardiovascular disease (CVD). Risk factors include family history of CVD, age (older than 45), male sex, and other preventable risk factors that play an importan role in avoiding coronary artery disease.

What is angina pectoris?

Angina pectoris is the main manfestation of ischemic heart disease, but contrary to popular beliefs, angina pectoris is not always manifested as chest pain. Symptoms include chest oppression or discomfort, nausea, dizzines, upper abdominal pain, or something "stuck" in the esophagous. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to look for medical attention and exclude any cardiovascular disease.

I have an upper abdominal pain and it is hard to breathe on exertion, should I visit the cardiologist?

Yes. These could be symptoms of a cardiovascular disease, mostly related to ischemic heart disease.The cardiologist's evaluation is necessary to exclude any significant disease that could endanger your health.

Is angina pectoris the same as a heart attack?

Angina pectoris is just a manifestation of an insufficient blood flow to the coronary arteries, nonetheless it is not possible to determine by itself if the discomfort is due to a myocardial infarction (total occlusion of a coronary artery) or to chronic ischemic heart disease (partial occlution of a coronary artery). It is important to vist the cardiologist if you have any symptoms of ischemic heart disease for an immediate evaluation, including blood samples and a recent electrocardiogram to exclude the possibility of a heart attack.

What other diseases does the cardiologist evaluate?

A cardiologist can also focus on cardiovascular disease prevention, hypertension control and treatment, cholesterol management, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, structural heart disease (or cardiomyopathies), chest pain management, and interventional procedures such as pacemaker implantation and cardiac catheterization.

What is Valvular Heart Disease (VHD)?

Heart valves avoid the retrograde flow of blood. The heart has 4 valves, two that communicate the atriums with the ventricles, and other two that communicate the ventricles with the arteries. Heart valves present basically two diseases (even simultaneously): - Valve regurgitation: blood flows in a retrograde way. - Valve stenosis: the valve generates forward obstruction of blood flow. The main manifestations are dyspnea, faints, and chest pain. If you have any of these symptoms, present a heart murmur, or have been diagnosed with any valvular heart disease, it is important to visit the cardiologist for early diagnosis and treatment.

How can I know if I have an arrhythmia?

Dizziness or fainting are the main symptoms of any heart arrhythmia. Bradiarrhythmias (or slow heart rate) are distinguished by slow pulsations; a pacemaker implantation may be necessary. Tachyarrhytmias (or accelerated heart rate) are distinguished by fast pulsations. They can be treated either with oral drugs or an implantable device. For a proper diagnosis, an electrocardiographic activity register for 1-30 days is necessary, in order to correctly evaluate and treat the arrhytmia type and its severity.

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