Heart Disease

Austin Primary Care Physicians -  - Internist

Austin Primary Care Physicians

Internists located in Austin, TX & Cedar Park, TX

Heart Disease Specialist
Heart disease often progresses to a life-threatening stage without ever presenting alarming signs and symptoms. These statistics aren’t meant to elicit fear but preventive action and commitment. Receiving regular physicals and maintaining a relationship with a primary care provider, who is focused on prevention and health maintenance, is the best way to detect heart disease before it’s too late. The proactive doctors at Austin Primary Care Physicians in Austin, Texas, are passionate about heart disease prevention.

Heart Disease Q & A

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a simpler term for coronary artery disease (CAD), a blood vessel disease that can lead to a heart attack when left untreated.

What causes heart disease?

While a small population of patients develops heart disease because of congenital conditions, most increase their risk through poor lifestyle choices, like lack of exercise, smoking, and poor diet.

What is the link between heart disease and smoking?

Smoking is one of the leading causes of the condition atherosclerosis, which describes hardening of the arteries. Nicotine increases blood clotting, blood pressure, and heart rate, it decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart, and damages the arterial lining, leading to heart disease.

Who is at greatest risk of heart disease?

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Prediabetes, diabetes
  • History of preeclampsia
  • Smoking
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Advanced age

While some risk factors, such as family history and advanced age, can't be controlled, most risk factors can. Patients can decrease their risk by making healthy lifestyle choices and quitting smoking.

What are the signs of heart disease?

Most patients have no symptoms until it’s too late. The best way to detect and mitigate risk and identify heart disease early is to schedule an annual physical exam with a qualified primary care doctor who puts prevention first.

Is there a cure for heart disease?

There's no cure for heart disease, so once a patient is diagnosed, they'll have heart disease for the remainder of their life. Treatment is designed to prevent heart attack and other complications and can include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.

What complications can result from untreated heart disease?

The potential complications associated with untreated heart disease are serious and life-threatening. They include:

  • Sudden cardiac arrest
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Death

Each of these complications can result in permanent secondary complications as well. For example, stroke can result in loss of speech and cognitive function and paralysis. Prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and compliance with the treatment plan are pivotal in the prevention of life-threatening complications including death.

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