Sarah M. Speck, MD, FACC
Cardiologist & Internist located in Ballard, Seattle, WA
Cardiovascular disease is a pressing concern in the U.S. with more than 600,000 people dying from it each year. Dr. Speck offers numerous treatments and extensive screenings to her Seattle based patients at her Speck Health practice in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA to help them maintain cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular Health Q&A
What is the Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease, which is often called heart disease, is an umbrella term for a number of afflictions affecting the heart, blood vessels, and arteries. Types of disease which fall under this category include:
- heart attack
- heart arrhythmias
- pericardial disease
- coronary heart disease
- congestive heart failure
- congenital heart disease
How is Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosed?
When a patient has a cardiovascular health assessment, the doctor usually begins with a review of the patient’s symptoms and their medical history. The patient will also be examined physically. If the patient presents symptoms and signs for heart disease, further tests will be performed to determine what is happening inside the heart. An electrocardiogram, commonly called an ECG, is usually the first test. The ECG records electrical activity inside the heart, revealing any electrical irregularities. Any out of the ordinary activity could indicate that the heart muscle has been, or is being injured by ischemia, a lack of oxygen-rich blood. Further information may be gathered by taking images of the heart using X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or an angiography, a technique which allows for detailed imaging of blood vessels. Echocardiograms are ultrasound evaluations of the heart which can also reveal the functionality of the heart and valves. Blood pressure is the force or pressure exerted in the arteries by blood as it pumps through the body by the heart. Normal blood pressure for a resting adult is less than or equal to 140 over 90. The doctor may also recommend a blood test to check cholesterol levels and other chemical markers which can indicate cardiovascular disease.
What Are the Treatments for Heart Disease?
Once heart disease is diagnosed, treatment will be critical. The goals of treatment will be to stabilize the condition, control symptoms, and provide a cure when possible. The doctor will strongly advise lifestyle changes to reduce risk including adjustment to diet, stress reduction, and smoking cessation which are crucial in managing cardiovascular disease. Doctors may also recommend medications and surgery if necessary. However, sometimes lifestyle changes may not be enough, and the doctor will also prescribe medications to help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels, both key factors in cardiovascular disease. Medication can help to:
- Decrease chances of having a heart attack
- Lower blood pressure
- Prevent blood clots
- Reduce the heart’s workload
What Lifestyle Changes Prevent Cardiovascular Disease?
There are a number of adjustments a person can make to his or her lifestyle to prevent their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. First, and perhaps most importantly, if a person smokes cigarettes or uses tobacco, they should stop. Giving up can be challenging, but Dr. Speck can help. Second, follow a healthy and balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables and lean proteins. People who want to lower their chances of developing heart disease may also want to limit their alcohol intake as there are links between drinking too much and high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, cancer and other diseases. It is also important to be more active, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Taking more exercise can also help to reduce stress levels, another indicator of potential heart disease. These changes will help to lower a person’s body weight, control their cholesterol levels, and improve his or her overall health, all of which have significant impact on a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease.
Below is a short-list of just some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed below.
Words from our patients
"I am so glad I found Dr. Speck. She is an excellent Dr. I trust her knowledge so much...She got me on the correct meds and my life/health has been wonderful since then."
"Very knowledgeable and patient oriented group...I highly recommend this clinic for both athletes and those wanting top cardiac care and advice."
"Dr. Speck has a preventative approach to good heart health...In this scary area of heart health, Dr. Speck puts me at ease knowing I am in excellence hands."