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

    Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

    Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month®. This annual event reinforces the importance of deve...

  • Healthy Living

    Keeping Diabetes in Check

    A diabetes diagnosis can be difficult, but there's plenty of good news: If you manage the disease well, you can prevent serious complication...

  • Healthy Living

    10 Steps to a Happier Heart

    Undertaking major lifestyle changes to improve your heart health, such as quitting your job or losing 40 pounds, can seem daunting, if not i...

  • Healthy Living

    Be an Action Star

    By Terri Brewis, BS, RRT, AE-C, PMC respiratory managerYou know the saying: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. For people who have chr...

  • Healthy Living

    PMC Nursing Job Fair

    Join the finest team of healthcare professionals. PMC is having a Nursing Job Fair open to all experienced registered nurses with a focus on...

  • Healthy Living

    Lights of Love

    Auxiliary members continue to give back to the communityIf you have lived in North Brevard long enough, you might remember the first communi...

  • Healthy Living

    Support in Your Fight Against Diabet...

    For those diagnosed with diabetes, knowledge is definitely power. When that knowledge is turned into actions, an otherwise unmanageable dise...

  • Healthy Living

    Fall and Flu Shots go Together

    Each year millions of people need medical treatment for influenza. Protect yourself!By Pamela Tronetti, DO, AGSF, Parrish Senior Consultatio...

  • Healthy Living

    Ebola | Separate the Facts From the...

    Ebola is scary. It’s important to separate the facts from the fiction—and the fear. Find out how the disease is really transmitted and how y...

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

Online Scheduling

Parrish Medical Center lets you reserve a space at urgent care centers and the hospital's ER.

Check In