Heart Disease

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a general term that includes several conditions, the most common of which is coronary artery disease (CAD). With CAD, a person’s arteries narrow and harden over time, as a result of the buildup of plaque in the arteries. As arteries narrow, blood flow to the heart is reduced, putting a person at risk for a heart attack.

Other kinds of cardiovascular disease include a condition affecting the heart’s valves, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries, such as those in the pelvis and legs.

In the U.S., heart disease is responsible for about 630,000 deaths each year, making it the No. 1 killer.

A person with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes has an increased risk for heart disease. It’s also important to realize that heart disease is not a man’s disease—women with these risk factors should talk to their doctors as well.

By seeing your doctor for routine exams and taking advantage of screenings, you can detect heart disease risks early and make healthy decisions.  

Treatment Options for Heart Disease

The greatest controllable risk factors for heart disease and heart attack are smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. That’s why lifestyle changes are often the first step in controlling heart disease.

To reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Don't smoke
  • Keep blood pressure in a healthy range
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy, low-fat, high-fiber diet
  • Limit alcohol
  • Keep stress at manageable levels  

In addition to lifestyle changes, a cardiologist may prescribe medications to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, prevent blood clots and allow blood to flow more easily.

If necessary, an interventional cardiologist can use surgical procedures to physically expand the arteries to help prevent a heart attack.  

Why Parrish Medical Center

Cardiovascular care at Parrish Medical Center combines advanced cardiovascular services and personalized care. Our expert interventional cardiologists use the latest technology to diagnose and understand each person’s heart condition. Then, our team of doctors, nurses, dietitians and more work with you to help fight your heart disease and protect you from a heart attack.

PMC now offers one simple test that allows you to find out if you’re at risk for heart attack or stroke. The PLAC Test is the only blood test cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to aid in assessing risk for both coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke associated with atherosclerosis. The test measures the level of Lp-PLA2 (lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2), an enzyme associated with artery inflammation. The PLAC Test is available at all Parrish locations. PMC provides full-service laboratory services to patient's with a physician's order.

Also at PMC, the PAD (peripheral arterial disease) Network is an essential element of our cardiovascular program. PAD affects millions of Americans, but few recognize the signs and the disease progresses. PAD Network physicians, which include family practice, internal medicine, geriatrics, orthopedics, pulmonology, cardiology and alternative medicine physicians, are trained to look for underlying heart or carotid artery disease, which could prevent a future heart attack or stroke.  

Cardiac/LowSodium/Diabetic Menu | Download PDF


Parrish Healthbridge: Healthcare Simplified

For education, breaking news or a message from your physician, HealthBridge will get it to you quickly.

  • Healthy Living

    Fainting Could Be Serious

    The phrase "faint of heart" describes someone who's squeamish. But it may have new meaning after a recent study published in the Journal of...

  • Healthy Living

    His and Hers: Heart Attack Symptoms

    Knowing common warning signs can save your lifeHalf of all heart attack victims wait more than two hours to seek help. Maybe we delay to sav...

  • Healthy Living

    Sleep Matters

    Good rest is good for you. Don’t deprive yourselfDo you pride yourself on being able to “get by” on just a few hours of sleep a night? In fa...

  • Healthy Living

    Simple Starts for Heart Health

    Bob Michaels, a fitness specialist at Parrish Health & Fitness Center, shares these simple strategies for improving your heart health.Eat mo...

  • Healthy Living

    New Year | New Attitude

    So what if you’re being asked to do more at work, dealing with family drama and taking care of elderly parents. Who isn’t? Stress is just a...

  • Healthy Living

    Stress-Less Holidays

    Give Yourself a Break So You Can Enjoy the FunQ. How do I manage two different families when traveling home for the holidays?Every family is...

  • Healthy Living

    The Gift of Good Health

    Your parents, spouse and kids, not to mention friends and co-workers, are likely all on your holiday gift list; but what about you? You dese...

  • Healthy Living

    How the Mayo Clinic Care Network Ben...

    1. Patients have access to Mayo Clinic expertise without leaving the county.2. Membership will enhance the delivery of healthcare in our com...

  • Healthy Living

    A Window to Your Health

    When you make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned, you may wonder how that visit benefits your health. After all, you brush after each...

Our Services

PMC helps our community stay healthy by living our vision of Healing Families—Healing Communities®

See Services

Classes & Events

Get healthy—and stay that way!—with dozens of classes, events and support groups to choose from every month.

See Calendar

Accomplishments

Parrish Medical Center is among the nation's best in clinical care, safety and patient experiences.

See Awards

Patient Stories

Need a little get-healthy inspiration? Read about how people just like you have transformed their lives.

See Stories

Web Nursery

Parents of babies born at PMC can choose to have a picture of their baby posted.

Find Pictures

Urgent Care Scheduling

Reserve a space at urgent care locations, as well as make an appointment at a physician's office.

Check In