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Heart Disease Specialist

Spring Valley Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine located in Washington, DC & Bethesda, MD

Heart disease causes nearly 18 million deaths every year, accounting for more than 30% of all deaths around the world. The numbers are scary — but there’s also hope: The most common type of heart disease, coronary artery disease, is often preventable. At Spring Valley Internal Medicine in Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland, the team of caring experts can help with all aspects of heart disease. For heart disease prevention, diagnosis, and effective management, call the office nearest you or use the online booking tool.

Heart Disease Q & A

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is any condition that affects your heart function. Heart disease takes many forms, including: 

  • Coronary artery disease — affects arteries connected to your heart; most common type
  • Valvular heart disease — affects heart valves and, therefore, blood flow
  • Cardiomyopathy — affects heart muscle function
  • Arrhythmia — affects electrical activity in your heart
  • Congenital heart defects — heart malformations present before birth

Untreated heart disease can cause a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, or death if not diagnosed and treated. Fortunately, the most common types of heart disease are preventable and treatable. 

What are the signs of heart disease?

The signs of heart disease vary widely according to the type of disease and your sex. For the most common form of heart disease, coronary artery disease, symptoms can include:

  • Angina (chest pain) 
  • Chest constriction
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cold feeling or numbness in your extremities
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Back pain

Men with coronary artery disease generally have chest pain, while women more often have chest discomfort along with other issues like difficulty breathing and nausea.

With other forms of heart disease, you may have similar symptoms, with specific differences like foot and ankle swelling with cardiomyopathy, fainting with arrhythmias, or pale blue skin color with congenital heart defects.

Am I at risk for heart disease?

If you have risk factors for heart disease such as obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, high alcohol consumption, or diabetes, the Spring Valley Internal Medicine team can help you with preventive care. 

Often, altering your diet and exercise habits can make a dramatic difference in your heart health and can help you prevent heart disease. You may also need daily medication to maintain your health and avoid heart disease in the future. 

How do you treat heart disease?

Treating heart disease starts with stabilizing and optimizing your health. This includes eating a low-fat and low-sodium diet, losing weight if necessary, exercising regularly, and taking medication as directed. 

If you’ve already had a heart attack or are recovering from heart surgery, you may need cardiac rehabilitation, a supervised medical program that helps you make the necessary lifestyle changes to stay healthy. 

Get heart disease treatment from the compassionate team at Spring Valley Internal Medicine by calling the office nearest you or booking online.