Coronary artery disease is a condition that develops when the main blood vessels that supply your heart with blood become diseased or damaged. Often, this is the result of cholesterol-containing deposits (also known as plaque) building up in your arteries. This can eventually lead to decreased blood flow causing chest pain, shortness of breath, or even a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease usually develops slowly over time, so it’s best to visit a cardiologist like Dr. Ruiz to check and see if it is a concern for you. Dr. Ruiz may recommend one or more of the following tests to check for coronary artery disease.
This is an assessment that evaluates how well your heart performs under physical stress or exertion like exercise. Typically, you walk on a treadmill or pedal an exercise bike while medical technicians closely monitored you and an EKG tracks your heart’s activity.
This test uses ultrasound imaging technology to obtain detailed images of your heart’s structure and real-time images of blood flow during exercise. The technician takes an ultrasound before your stress test, then you exercise just as you would with the standard cardiac stress test as the EKG tracks your heart’s activity. When you are finished with the test, the technicians takes another ultrasound for comparison.
In this procedure, Dr. Ruiz inserts a long thin tube (catheter) into an artery in your neck, arm, or groin, then threads it through your blood vessels and into your heart. He can then check for blockages through a number of tests. One common test is an angiogram. Dr. Ruiz injects a special dye into the heart via the catheter to view blood flow through your heart. On X-ray images, the dye highlights where your arteries that have narrowed or are blocked. Sometimes, Dr. Ruiz can clear a blockage during this same procedure.
As a preventive cardiologist, Dr. Ruiz works with you on what you can control, like diet and lifestyle choices. Lifestyle changes like smoking cessation, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and reducing stress in your life can often go far in treating and preventing coronary artery disease. If you need medications, Dr. Ruiz can prescribe those as well.
If you need surgery to treat coronary artery disease, Dr. Ruiz can place a stent in your heart, a procedure known as angioplasty. During this procedure, Dr. Ruiz inserts a long, thin tube into the artery along with a tiny balloon. He then inflates the balloon to open up the artery.
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