Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Heart Disease Overview

What is heart disease?
A person with heart disease has a heart that does not function properly. The most common forms of heart disease include coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Heart disease is the most common cause of death for men and women in the US.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?
Common symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, fatigue, leg swelling, palpitations, faintness, fainting, and shortness of breath. The shortness of breath may be worse during exertion or while lying flat.

How does the doctor treat heart disease?
Treatment for heart disease depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for coronary artery disease includes medications to reduce chest pain and lower blood pressure. Some patients may be candidates for angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery. Treatment for congestive heart failure includes smoking cessation, a healthy heart diet, a low cholesterol diet, a low salt diet, regular exercise, weight reduction, and fluid restriction. Medications for heart disease may include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and potassium supplements. Severe heart disease may require surgery or a heart pacemaker.

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