If you have or are at risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s important to know that Emerson Hospital provides convenient, close-to-home access to a team of board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists who can help you prevent, manage or recover from this condition.
What is cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions in which narrowed or blocked blood vessels can lead to a heart attack
, or a stroke
Coronary artery disease is the most common type of cardiovascular disease. It affects the arteries of your heart, which become narrowed by a buildup of cholesterol plaque inside the artery walls, decreasing blood flow to your heart. The medical term for this is atherosclerosis.
Chest pain (angina) is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease.
Preventing cardiovascular disease
If you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, are overweight or smoke—you may be at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Many risk factors are modifiable, however, through preventive strategies that include healthy lifestyle choices, medications and other treatments.
Emerson Hospital offers an array of programs and services to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle, including:
- The Steinberg Wellness Center for Mind and Body at Emerson has a wide range of community health and wellness programs and classes that can help participants lower cardiac risk factors through heart-healthy eating, smoking cessation, weight loss and stress reduction
- The Weight Loss Center provides medical and surgical options for weight loss
- Elizabeth Agarwal Diabetes Center provides clinical care, support and education for people with diabetes, a condition that increases the risk for developing cardiovascular disease
Talk to your primary care doctor about your risks for coronary artery disease or if you think you may have it.
Diagnosing cardiovascular disease
In addition to performing tests such as taking your blood pressure and checking your cholesterol and blood sugar, your doctor will take a complete medical history and check for other factors that could put you at risk of coronary artery disease.
Depending on the test results, your health care provider may order screening tests and/or refer you to a heart specialist (cardiologist). Those screening tests—most of which are available here at Emerson—include:
Should you need more advanced testing, through Emerson’s affiliations with leading Boston-area tertiary medical centers, we can provide streamlined access to the appropriate diagnostic resources.
Treating cardiovascular disease
Treatment for coronary artery disease is tailored to your unique situation. It may include a mix of:
- Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and eating a heart-healthy diet
- Medication to control high blood pressure or cholesterol, for example
- Angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure to unblock an artery
- Stent placement (a stent is a small, expanding mesh tube that holds an artery open and keeps it from reclosing after angioplasty)
- Heart bypass surgery, to replace damaged coronary arteries
Again, should you need advanced interventional or surgical procedures, through Emerson’s affiliations with leading Boston-area tertiary medical centers, we can provide efficient access to the appropriate treatment resources.
Recovering from cardiovascular disease
If you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery, or if you have angina, Emerson Hospital offers a comprehensive, medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation program
designed to help improve your cardiovascular health. Learn more about cardiac rehabilitation