Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.
Mercy Medical Center offers state-of-art technology, compassionate care and skilled, knowledgeable staff trained in the treatment of heart conditions, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Concerned about your chances of developing heart or vascular disease? Recovering from a heart attack or stroke? Mercy's staff offers wide-ranging outpatient and inpatient services and education, providing prevention guidance and effective diagnosis and treatment.
Abnormal Heart Rhythms/Arrhythmias
Heart rhythm problems in which your heart beats too slowly, too quickly or irregularly, disrupting your heart rate. Arrhythmias vary but most are not life-threatening. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, racing heart, heart palpitations, weakness, fainting. Causes include heart attack, reaction to infection, congenital defects, complications from chemicals (nicotine, caffeine).
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Chronic condition that weakens your heart's ability to pump blood, so not enough blood is circulated to meet the body's needs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, tiring easily, fluid in lungs, feet or ankles, chest pain, dry cough, sudden weight gain, decreased urination. Heart failure is a set of symptoms caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or irregular heart rhythms over a long time. Major cause of CHF is heart attacks.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Program
Mercy plan of care designed specifically for CHF patients because CHF is a chronic condition requiring daily management. Goal is to improve patient's health and boost the heart's ability to pump. Care plans are tailored to the individual patient. Staff works with each patient reviewing medication and oxygen use, rehabilitation and CHF management plans, preparing for home care.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Also known as atherosclerosis, or heart disease in which blood flow through coronary arteries is reduced or blocked because of plaque deposits (cholesterol) in blood vessels. This minimizes the amount of oxygen reaching the heart. CAD can lead to heart attack or death. Can progress slowly, without symptoms until actual chest pain or heart attack. Cause unknown, but risk factors include high blood pressure, heart disease in family, smoking, diabetes, excess weight.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Common circulation condition in which the arteries carrying blood to the legs become narrowed or clogged, slowing or stopping the normal blood flow. Arms can be affected as well. Symptoms include leg or hip pain during walking that stops when you rest; numbness; tingling; weakness in legs; burning or aching pain in feet or toes while resting; sore on leg or foot that won't heal; cold legs or feet; color change in skin of legs or feet; loss of hair on legs. The most common symptom is painful cramping in leg or hip during walking, due to insufficient blood flow to leg muscles during exercise. You're also at higher risk for heart disease and stroke if you have PAD. Most common cause is atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Blood clots lodged in the arteries can also cause PAD.
Enlargement of the Heart (Cardiomyopathy)
Heart muscle disease or heart damage from untreated high blood pressure, abnormal blood flow due to defective heart valve or congenital defect, drugs (cocaine, cancer-treating drugs) or virus. Symptoms include swollen ankles and feet, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath, waking up coughing, increased need for urination during the night. Can lead to heart failure because the heart muscle pumps less effectively, unable to move enough blood through the body. The effort to pump normally enlarges the heart's chambers.
Also called myocardial infarction (MI). Occurs when inadequate supply of blood and oxygen causes damage to heart muscle. Unlike angina or chest pain, heart attack pain lasts longer and does not respond to relief that might ease angina. Symptoms include shortness of breath; intense, prolonged chest pain or pressure; prolonged upper abdomen pain; pain into left shoulder and arm, back, teeth and jaw; fainting, nausea, heavy sweating. A major cause is atherosclerosis, the build-up of cholesterol or plaque that narrows or blocks the artery.
Heart Valve Disorders
The heart's four valves are flaps on each end of two ventricles that prevent backward flow of blood. The two disorders are: regurgitation, where the valve isn't closing properly so blood flows backward instead of forward; and stenosis, when the valve opening is narrowed, limiting the heart's ability to pump blood because of the increased force needed to pump blood through stiff valves. The two most serious symptoms - chest pain and palpitations - require immediate attention. Other symptoms include fatigue, migraines, dizziness, low or high blood pressure, shortness of breath and abdominal pain. Causes include heart attack, cardiomyopathy, infection, congenital heart disease, valve deterioration due to aging and rheumatic fever.
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
Unstable or persistent elevation of blood pressure above what is considered the normal range. Often called the "silent killer" because you can have it for years and never know it. Resting blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered normal; 140/90 or higher, consistently, is high. Left uncontrolled or untreated, you could face stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. Symptoms include irregular heartbeat, weakness, frequent urination, excessive sweating and muscle cramps. Sometimes a cause can not be identified. Some causes include medications; kidney, thyroid or adrenal disease; abnormal blood vessels; sleep apnea; illegal drug use; or a blood pressure rise late in pregnancy.