One in four deaths in the US each year are from some form of heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for men and women in most ethnic groups. This covers a range of potentially fatal heart conditions, many of which are survivable if caught early enough. For that reason, tests and screenings are vital to determine the severity of a heart condition, including getting an ultrasound.
Dr. Rogers S. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care have years of experience helping patients with diagnostics and treatment for many problems, including heart conditions.
Understanding heart disease
Also referred to as cardiovascular disease, heart disease is the general term for a number of conditions. The heart is the organ responsible for circulating blood throughout the body, moving deoxygenated blood to the heart and sending oxygen-rich blood out.
The problems that affect the heart are often either narrow or blocked blood vessels, damage to the heart valves and muscles, or issues with the heartbeat rhythm. This also includes different kinds of heart defects.
Many habits or other conditions can affect the risk of getting heart disease, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse, and smoking.
Types of heart disease
These are some of the conditions that can affect the heart:
- Arrhythmia: an irregular heartbeat caused by faulty electrical impulses in the heart.
- Coronary artery disease: damage from the coronary arteries being clogged up
- Heart attack: a result of interrupted blood flow damaging or destroying heart tissue.
- Heart failure: inability of the heart to pump blood in the body effectively.
- Pulmonary stenosis: a tightened pulmonary artery that makes it harder to pump blood.
- Congenital heart disease: one of many different types of birth defects in the heart.
Many of these and other conditions present with a variety of symptoms like chest pains, lightheadedness, a slower or faster heartbeat, numbness, or fatigue. Getting help early is vital, so see a doctor when these symptoms start.
How ultrasounds help
An echocardiogram (also called a diagnostic cardiac ultrasound) is a type of test used on your heart, which uses soundwaves to take pictures of your heart. This test allows doctors to examine how well the heart functions. It can show the thickness of the walls in the heart, its size and shape, pumping strength, and how the heart moves. It can also determine if your heart is leaking blood, see how wide or narrow the heart valves are, or check for tumors.
The results of the test can see if things like blood clots, abnormal holes, or problems with the heart lining or blood vessels are responsible for heart problems and make it much easier to determine treatment.
Most heart diseases, if caught early, can be managed with treatments and lifestyle changes. So if you have symptoms you think may be related to heart disease, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care to get checked out today.