Heart Disease

Heart disease doesn't just happen overnight. It begins years, even decades, before any symptoms start to appear. That is if you are lucky enough to get symptoms instead of suffering a sudden heart attack. Studies have repeatedly shown that heart disease can begin in early adulthood, 20 years old or younger. Poor diet choices, stress, lack of vigorous exercise and family history of heart disease all factor into triggering this life threatening condition.

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for men and women!

Heart disease is responsible for nearly 30% of all reported deaths in America. Each year approximately 565,000 individuals suffer their first heart attack while an additional 300,000 have a second or third.

Are you at risk?

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Individuals who smoke
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Poor Diet—high in saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Over stressed

Symptoms & Warnings

  • Chest pain, pressure, tightness or squeezing that lasts a few minutes, or goes away and returns
  • Pain that spreads to either arm or both, neck, jaw or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, heart burn or abdominal pain
  • Breaking out in cold sweats  
  • Light headed or dizziness
  • Fatigue

1 in 3 women die from heart disease, more than all other cancers combined!

While women may experience the most common chest pain as men, they are more likely to experience nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath and back or jaw pain. 

How can I prevent heart disease?

  • Control your cholesterol
  • Carefully watch your blood pressure
  • Control your diabetes
  • Only use alcohol in moderation
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do not eat a diet rich in saturated fats or cholesterol
  • Control your weight

What to do during a heart attack:

  • Call 911 Immediately!
  • Follow the operator’s instructions. 
  • Stay as calm as you can while you wait for someone to respond.
  • Take deep, slow breaths and try not to panic.
  • Take an aspirin.

Heart related problems we are screening for:

Aortic Valve Regurgitation 

Aortic valve regurgitation is a condition that occurs when your heart valves do not close tight enough allowing blood that was just pumped out of your heart to leak back in again.

The leakage of blood may prevent your heart from efficiently pumping blood out to the rest of your body, leaving you feeling fatigued or short of breath. Aortic valve regurgitation has a variety of causes and can develop suddenly or over decades. 

Aortic Valve Stenosis 

Aortic valve stenosis is a condition in which the heart's aortic valve narrows preventing it from fully opening. This obstructs the blood flow from your heart into your aorta and the rest of your body.

When the aortic valve is obstructed, your heart needs to work harder, eventually thickening the muscle. Because your heart pumps only a limited amount of blood, it is unable to provide increased blood flow needed for activities such as exercise.

If you have severe aortic valve stenosis, you will most likely require surgery to replace the valve. Left unchecked, aortic valve stenosis can lead to serious heart problems.

Arrhythmia (Irregular Heartbeat)

Also known as cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat is the result of an abnormality in the electrical activity of the heart.

Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries) 

Atherosclerosis is a thickening of the inner lining in the arteries (your blood vessels) which carry nourished and oxygenated blood from the heart to all the parts of the body. This condition can lead to blockages that can reduce the supply of blood to your heart as well as to your brain.  

When it affects the blood supply to the heart, a heart attack occurs. When the blood supply to your brain is compromised, the result is a stroke.

Cholesterol (Complete Lipid Profile) 

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance which is produced in the liver and is found in your blood. Although it is essential to our health, it can be both "good" and "bad" for us. "Good" because not only is it used in forming cell membranes and certain hormones, it also supplies other functions our body requires. 

"Bad" because high levels of cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can cause heart attack, stroke and other diseases. Our bodies need a small amount of cholesterol, however, too much can be detrimental.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease (or defects) are problems with the structure of the heart that are present at birth, but may not be detected until adulthood. One such abnormality, sometimes known as "a hole in the heart", can change the normal flow of blood through the heart. 

An inner wall called the septum separates the two sides of the heart. The septum prevents mixing of blood between these two sides. With each heartbeat, the right side of the heart receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the body. However, people born with holes in the upper or lower septum are at risk for problems that can occur with congenital heart disease. The two main congenital heart conditions that we will evaluate are: Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).


Diabetes is a disease of the body's metabolism that alters its ability to make insulin. When you have diabetes, your body has difficulty processing fat, carbohydrates and protein efficiently.  

Ejection Fraction

During each heartbeat cycle, your heart contracts and relaxes. When your heart contracts (systole), it ejects blood from two pumping chambers (ventricles). When your heart relaxes (diastole), the ventricles refill with blood. No matter how forceful the contraction, it does not empty all the blood out of the ventricle.

The term ejection fraction refers to the percentage of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat. This measures the capacity at which your heart is pumping.

Because the left ventricle is your heart's main pumping chamber, ejection fraction is usually measured only in the left ventricle. A normal ejection fraction is 55 percent to 70 percent. The ejection fraction may decrease when the heart muscle has been damaged due to heart attack, heart muscle disease and heart valve problems.

High Blood Pressure

With every heartbeat, blood circulates and presses against the walls of your arteries (blood vessels). Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries and their resistance. If this force is stronger than it should be, it is called hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is known as the "silent killer" because it usually produces NO symptoms.

Ischemic Heart Disease

The word ischemia means a mechanical obstruction of blood supply. Ischemic heart disease is a disease characterized by reduced or obstructed blood flow through the coronary arteries. 

Usually, ischemic heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis (cholesterol build-up) inside the artery wall. As the artery narrows, a blood clot or a piece of cholesterol (plaque) can block blood flow causing a heart attack.

During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die causing damage to the heart. Depending on the severity of the attack, the heart can suffer:

  • Loss of muscle activity
  • Permanent heart muscle damage
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Damaged heart valves
  • Death
  • The most common cause of death due to a coronary event is the result of ischemic heart disease.

Left Ventricle Hypertrophy

Left ventricle hypertrophy refers to the thickening of your heart muscle's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. Although this condition is not itself a disease, it is considered a marker of an underlying health problem.

The thickened muscle usually develops in response to chronic high blood pressure or excessive blood volume filling the left ventricle. This creates more work for your heart. Over time, the over developed heart muscle may wear out and eventually fail.

The incidence of left ventricular hypertrophy increases with age and is common in individuals with high blood pressure or other heart problems putting them at risk of major heart and blood vessel complications.

You can reduce your risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy by controlling high blood pressure or by getting treatment for other conditions that may lead to this problem.

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)

MVP is a common heart disorder. It occurs when the valve between your heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly. When the left ventricle contracts, the valve's leaflets bulge (prolapse upward or back into the atrium. Mitral valve prolapse sometimes leads to blood leaking backward into the left atrium, a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.

Mitral valve prolapse affects slightly more than 2 percent of adults in the United States. Men and women appear to develop MVP in similar numbers. In some individuals with MVP, the progression of the disease requires treatment.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve (the valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle) does not close tightly allowing blood to flow backward into your heart.

When the valve doesn't properly function, blood cannot move efficiently through your heart or the rest of your body leaving you feeling fatigued or short of breath. As many as one in five people over 55 have some degree of mitral valve regurgitation.

Treatment of this condition depends on signs, symptoms, severity and progression. You may need heart surgery to repair or replace the valve. Left unchecked, however, severe mitral valve regurgitation can lead to congestive heart failure or serious heart rhythm irregularities arrhythmias).

Mitral Valve Stenosis 

Mitral valve stenosis is a narrowing of the heart's mitral valve preventing it from opening properly. This causes blood flow obstruction between the left chambers of your heart. You can be left feeling fatigued, short of breath, among other problems due to the inefficient blood flow to the rest of your body.

Mitral valve stenosis is treatable in people of all ages. Treatment depends on the signs, symptoms, severity and progression of your condition. You may need surgery to repair or replace the valve if your condition is severe enough. Left unchecked, mitral valve stenosis can lead to serious health problems. 

What else do we screen for?  Learn more.