Beyond the Bedside: Heart Disease

Sensenbrenner Primary Care / Education  / Beyond the Bedside: Heart Disease

Beyond the Bedside: Heart Disease

Dr. Eric Sensenbrenner

“Heart disease” is a term that can be used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease. Both describe poor blood flow to the heart, brain, or other parts of the body that result in tissue damage such as a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from heart disease. 

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include age, gender, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and obesity. As you can see, we are unable to control or change some risk factors which poses a challenge to preventing cardiovascular disease. For those risk factors we can control, we try to maximize treatment through diet, exercise, and medication to best reduce a patient’s risk. It is important to know if anyone in your family has had a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure especially if it occurred in a parent or sibling. Family history can be a strong indicator of your heart disease risk and help determine how aggressive your health care provider should be with testing for and treating disease or risk factors. 

Cardiovascular disease causes insufficient functioning of the heart and blood vessels; thus, it can affect every organ. Therefore, the symptoms of cardiovascular disease can be various. Most commonly patients will experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or stroke symptoms (face drooping, arm/leg weakness, or slurred speech). More subtle symptoms, such as becoming more easily winded or having exercise fatigue, can also be related to cardiovascular disease. 

We encourage you to make an appointment to further evaluate any questions or concerns you have about your cardiovascular health. Our goal is to catch and treat disease early to prevent negative outcomes. While you may “feel fine” currently, the insidious processes that lead to advanced cardiovascular disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, vision loss, and limb amputation if left unchecked. We use a combination of diet, exercise, and medication when necessary to best reduce cardiovascular disease risk. If needed we can order advanced imaging, tests, or refer you to a cardiology or vascular specialist. 


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