oral-health-and-heart-disease

Dental Care for Those With Heart Disease

Did you know that patients with heart disease or those that previously suffered from a heart attack require special dental care? If you fit into this category, here are some valuable tips to become familiar with prior to visiting your dentist.

Suffered from a Hear Attack?

For many who suffered from a heart attack at one point in their life, it’s common to be prescribed anticoagulants (blood thinners). While blood thinners carry amazing benefits for patients post-heart attack, dental surgeries can results in excess bleeding due to this specific type of medication.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Some blood pressure and hypertension drugs may cause you to have dry mouth. In other cases, these prescribed drugs may also affect your sense of taste. Calcium channel blockers, a supplement often prescribed to those with high blood pressure, can cause swelling of your gums, affecting your ability to chew.

If you’ve schedule an oral surgery with your dentist, be sure to confirm if they’ll be using anesthesia for the procedure. Some forms of anesthesia contain epinephrine, which can results in dangerous levels of high blood pressure, angina, heart attack, and arrhythmia.

Chest Pain (Angina)

As mentioned above, calcium channel blockers are a common supplement for those with previous or current heart issues. This is common for those being treated for angina. Calcium channel blockers combined with oral surgery can cause complications, so be sure to check with your dentist to see if they offer oxygen and nitroglycerin should a medical emergency arise.

Stroke

If you’ve had a stroke in the past, tell your dentist if you are taking anticoagulants (blood-thinning drugs). These medications could result in excessive bleeding during some oral surgery procedures.

Stroke can also affect your natural ability to produce saliva, which can lead to dry mouth. There are artificial products that can substitute for natural saliva, so be sure to check with your dentist if the problem persists.

Have questions about your oral health as it relates to your heart disease? Contact Sisselman Medical Group today or your local dentist for more information.

cardiovascular risk assessment

Are you at risk for cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is a condition that affects the function and structures of your heart. Causes of heart disease includes multiple factors, such as atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to plaque build-up, abnormal heart valves which affects how blood flows through the heart, diseased heart muscle (such as from a heart attack), birth defects of the heart, and abnormal heart rhythms. Heart disease is currently the number one cause of death in the United States.

Risks of Heart Disease

There are two categories of risks related to heart disease: modifiable and non-modifiable. Modifiable risks include factors that can be changed, such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Non-modifiable factors are factors that can’t be changed. Examples of non-modifiable factors includes family history of heart disease, age (there is a greater risk over 65 years old), ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status related to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Having a single risk factor does not necessarily mean you will develop heart disease, but having multiple factors does increase your risk. Your doctor will discuss your family history and assess your risk during your regular health visits and will order further testing, such as blood tests or an EKG, if necessary. Early identification of risk factors can help promote your heart health.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The symptoms experienced varies from person to person and depends on the type of heart disease you have. For example, if you have heart disease involving the blood vessels, you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and pain in the neck, jaw, or upper back. Patients with heart disease involving weak heart muscle may experience fatigue, swollen feet or legs, irregular heart beats, and breathlessness.

Heart Disease Prevention

Prevention of heart disease requires being aware of modifiable risk factors. Making changes to your diet and exercise are important. Lifestyle choices such as avoiding smoking and managing your stress are also essential. Additionally, regularly meet with your trusted family physician for wellness visits and physical exams and to discuss any necessary changes to your health. Sisselman Medical Group is happy to provide cardiovascular risk assessments for our patients.

If applicable to your situation, your health care provider will also discuss warning signs of a heart attack and stroke during your visit. Help keep your heart healthy by scheduling an appointment with Sisselman Medical Group at either their Massapequa or Commack office locations.