Cardiologists provide continuing care of heart patients, doing basic heart-function studies, supervising therapy, including drug therapy, and working closely with heart surgeons.
PROTECTING YOUR HEART
With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can be on your way to better heart health.
Start slowly with daily exercise. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or park further from a building. This helps build stamina. Aerobic exercises such as jogging or walking provide excellent cardiovascular benefits.
Replacing cigarettes with cigars or chewing tobacco won’t do the trick. Smoking can lead to serious complications, including cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obesity triggers high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Eat a diet consisting of lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Cardiology Department offers a variety of diagnostic testing for both inpatients and outpatients. Tests ordered by your physician must be scheduled.
- Holter Monitor
- Stress Test
- Event Recorder
An EKG is a test to determine the electric activity of your heart. Twelve leads are connected to your chest, arms, and legs via stickers (electrodes) to acquire the needed information.
Holter Monitoring is a continuous recording of your EKG, usually for 24 hours, while you go about your daily activities.
Holter Monitoring, which is named after the man who designed the test, is also known as ambulatory EKG. The holter monitor is a small portable tape recorder worn on a strap near the shoulder or around the wrist.
Several electrodes (small sticky patches) are placed on your chest and connected by wires to the recorder.
Your EKG is recorded continuously on tape (or computer chip) and then played back and printed out.
This allows doctors to detect any abnormalities and compare them to activities and symptoms.
Holter Monitoring is especially useful in diagnosing abnormal heart rhythms which may occur during brief periods as in a clinic and hospital while doing a routine EKG. The test is also useful to access reoccurring symptoms of dizziness, fainting, palpitating, effectiveness of medications and pacemakers.
You’ll keep a diary in which you enter your activities and any symptoms you experience and the time this occurred.
Holter Monitoring is very safe and thus has no risk involved. It is only a minimal inconvenience to carry the recorder.
An exercise EKG test allows doctors to learn how well your heart functions, when it is made to work hard. This test can help detect heart problems that may not be apparent at rest.
The exercise EKG test is done while you walk on a treadmill. During the test, an EKG records the electrical activity of your heart.
A trained technician (or nurse) will place several electrodes (small sticky patches) on your chest and shoulders to allow recording of EKG during exercise. The electrodes are connected by wires to an EKG machine with a monitor. A blood pressure cuff is applied to your arm to monitor your blood pressure. You will be shown how to step onto the treadmill and how to use support rails to maintain balance. The treadmill starts slowly and the speed and incline are gradually increased. Your blood pressure will be checked every few minutes and your EKG tracing watched for any abnormal changes. You will be instructed to report any symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, leg fatigue or dizziness. The test will end when you become too tired, have significant symptoms (examples shortness of breath) or when you reach your peak heart rate.
Doctors can see how well your heart functions during exercise or exertion by studying what happens during the test such as:
- The length of time you were able to exercise.
- Did you have significant symptoms?
- What happened to your heart rate and blood pressure?
- What did the EKG show?
The exercise test is especially useful in diagnosing blockage in the coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed, the heart muscle may not be getting enough oxygen during activity and this may result in angina or abnormal EKG changes.