Heart Disease (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Heart disease facts
- Introduction to heart disease
- What are the risk factors for heart disease?
- What are the symptoms of heart disease?
- How is heart disease diagnosed?
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Stress testing
- Perfusion studies
- Computerized tomography
- Heart catheterization or coronary angiography
- What is the treatment for heart disease?
- Prevention of heart disease
- Modifying risk factors for heart disease
- Medications for heart disease
- Angioplasty and stents for heart disease
- Surgery for heart disease
- Heart Disease FAQs
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
Modifying risk factors for heart disease
While patients cannot choose their family and alter their genetic predisposition to coronary artery disease, the rest of the risk factors are under control of the patient. Keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and other lipid levels, and diabetes under control needs to become a life-long goal. Smoking cessation is highly encouraged.
The purpose of medications for coronary artery disease is to allow more efficient heart muscle function to overcome any blockage that might exist.
Aspirin is one of the cornerstones of coronary artery disease treatment. It prevents platelets from clumping together when blood becomes turbulent, like when it flows past a narrowing in an artery.
Learn more about: Aspirin
Beta blockers prevent the action of adrenaline on the heart and allow the heart to beat a more efficiently by reducing the heart rate and causing the heart muscle to contract less aggressively. Examples of beta blockers include:
- atenolol (Tenormin)
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA)
- carvedilol (Coreg)
- labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate)
Calcium channel blockers can also be used to control heart rate and allow the heart to beat more efficiently. Examples of calcium channel blockers include:
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac)
- verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM, Isoptin, Covera-HS)
Nitroglycerin dilates blood vessels and may be used sublingually, under the tongue, to treat angina. Some patients may be prescribed long-acting nitroglycerin to help control anginal symptoms.
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