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Avera Medical Minute: Recognizing the symptoms of Heart Disease

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Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 11:21 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Heart Disease is responsible for, on average, 600-thousands deaths in the United States every year.

But what exactly is Heart Disease? How do you know if you have it? What should you do if you think you do? It turns out, it covers several conditions as i learned during a recent conversation with an Avera Health cardiologist.

Dr. Susheel Gundewar: We are referring to a group of conditions which include Coronary Artery Disease and that involves blockages to the blood supply to the heart. It also includes Cardiac Arrhythmias which are abnormal heart rhythms of the heart. Or Cardiomyopathies where there is weakness in the heart muscle. So it is an umbrella condition but it’s often used for Coronary Artery Disease. That term.

Brian Allen: If somebody is on the road to a Heart Disease condition, Doctor, do they necessarily know it? Are the symptoms obvious and overwhelming or are they not so much?

Dr. Susheel Gundewar: Often times the symptoms for Heart Disease are very subtle. It takes years before a patient could actually start exhibiting symptoms. So it is a difficult condition to diagnose. Often times the symptoms are subtle. and they include what we often know as the symptoms for Heart Disease is chest pain or shortness of breath. But sometimes you can have palpations, you can have dizzy spells, all of this could be a symptom of Heart Disease.

Brian Allen: And if someone has had these symptoms at what point do they go see their doctor? Because if those things maybe exhibit themselves but not all the time I would imagine people are inclined to maybe not act on it because it’s not something that happens all the time. But should people be thinking the reverse? If it’s happening at all you need to go in and get this looked at?

Dr. Susheel Gundewar: So I would encourage patients to talk about their symptoms with their primary doctor because that’s usually their first point of contact. Depending on what the symptoms are..how significant they are, how much they’re affecting the lifestyle...the primary care doctor would probably want the patient to see a specialist like a cardiologist.

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