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 Direct Access Testing locations.

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

    It’s Back-to-School Time. Learn to H...

    The new school year is quickly approaching. Ready for a little math? Did you know…A helmet reduces the risk of head injury by up to 86 perce...

  • Healthy Living

    Sweet Dreams

    Getting good rest is not a luxury—it’s essential to your health. If you have trouble sleeping, know that help is nearBy Kristina Weaver, Par...

  • Healthy Living

    What Are YOUR Wishes

    Did you know that only 29 percent of people have living wills, many of which are out of date or locked away where no one can get to them?It...

  • Healthy Living

    Summer Tomato and White Bean Salad

    This quick dish tastes great and keeps wellFiber-rich white beans are swapped in for mozzarella in this colorful summer side salad featuring...

  • Healthy Living

    What Are You Doing About Emergency P...

    During an emergency, it’s hard to think straight. That’s why it’s important to plan for emergencies before they happen. What steps are you t...

  • Healthy Living

    Change of Heart

    After struggling with cardiovascular disease, Charlie Collins turned to Parrish Health & Fitness Center’s Cardiac Rehab ProgramBy Robin Leat...

  • Healthy Living

    Wellness and Mindful Living Activiti...

    By Helen Duane, LCSW, Parrish Medical Group Behavioral Therapist Wellness and Mindful Living for Preschoolers teaches children how to live w...

  • Healthy Living

    Make Home Safety a Priority: 5 Tips...

    Living safely encompasses a range of activities, from knowing and obeying the laws, to remembering and following general safety tips. Nation...

  • Healthy Living

    How to Use a Spacer for Your Inhaler

    If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and your metered-dose inhaler isn’t doing the trick, you might be doing it incor...

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