Heart Disease Specialist

Premium Care Internal Medicine

Internists located in Santa Barbara, CA

You can significantly lower your risk of heart disease with routine preventive health care that catches the early signs of a problem before you develop irreversible disease. Drs. Timothy Leigh Rodgers, Brittany Bryan, and Dennis H. Baker at Premium Care Internal Medicine specialize in personalized medicine, managing chronic health disease, and working with you on an individual level to develop a wellness plan that helps prevent cardiovascular disease. If you have any concerns about your heart health, call our office in Santa Barbara, California, or schedule an appointment online for a consultation.

Heart Disease Q & A

Premium Care Internal Medicine

What are the different types of heart disease?

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, refers to diverse health problems that affect the structures and function of your heart. There are many different conditions — and multiple names for the same condition — so this list only includes examples of the most common types of heart disease:

  • Blood vessel disease — coronary artery disease, hypertension, peripheral artery disease, and peripheral venous disease
  • Arrhythmias — heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation and extra heartbeats
  • Heart valve disease — narrow valve openings (valvular stenosis), leaky valves, valves damaged by infection
  • Cardiomyopathy — damaged heart muscles caused by disease, infection, alcohol abuse
  • Myocarditis — inflamed heart muscle usually caused by virus

What do I need to know about coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease, is the most common type of heart disease in the United States. It’s caused by cholesterol that builds up over time in your coronary arteries, eventually developing into plaque.

Plaque leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries, or a condition called atherosclerosis. As atherosclerosis blocks the flow of blood to your heart, you can develop:

  • Angina — chest pain or a feeling of pressure in your chest due to lack of oxygen-rich blood
  • Heart attack — when loss of oxygen-rich blood damages heart muscle
  • Heart failure — when weakened heart muscles can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s oxygen needs
  • Arrhythmias — irregular heartbeat
  • Peripheral artery disease — when plaque blocks blood flow in the arteries in your legs

The most important thing to know about CAD is that it’s often preventable. The primary causes of CAD — high cholesterol, hypertension, cigarette smoking, overweight, diabetes — can all be eliminated or controlled with proper medical care and lifestyle changes. As you manage the risk factors, you lower the chances of developing heart disease.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Every type of heart disease can cause chest discomfort (pain, pressure), shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Heart failure often causes swelling in the ankles, legs, and abdomen, while an infection is accompanied by a fever, and arrhythmias cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat or the sensation that your heart is fluttering.

Don’t wait to call for help if you suspect heart problems. Call our dedicated team at Premium Care Internal Medicine for an assessment, or call 911 for immediate assistance if you are experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath (with or without chest pain)
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness