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Treating the Full Range of Heart and Vascular Conditions

Cardiovascular disease can put limits on how you live your life, and even shorten your lifespan — it’s the second leading cause of death in Montana. At Benefis Heart and Vascular Institute, we’re committed to achieving the best possible outcome for each condition and each patient.

We treat a wide range of cardiovascular conditions. Some of the most common ones include:

Coronary artery disease. This is the most common type of heart disease. It results from a buildup of cholesterol inside the walls of the heart’s arteries. This buildup is called plaque and it hardens and narrows the arteries in the heart, reducing its blood supply.

Heart attack. This happens when plaque in a coronary artery ruptures, causing a blood clot to form. When the clot blocks the blood supply through the heart, part of the heart muscle can die.

Heart failure. This is a chronic condition that happens when the heart can’t pump enough blood to keep up with the body’s needs. Eventually it causes fatigue and shortness of breath with even minor activities.

Heart rhythm disorders. These disorders are also called arrhythmias. They include heart beats that are too fast, too slow, or irregular. They may not cause symptoms, or they can feel like a skipped heart beat or fluttering sensation. If severe they can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, or fainting.

Heart valve disorders. Heart valves that don’t work properly can cause problems with blood flow through the heart. People with this disorder may have shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen feet or ankles, irregular heartbeat, or chest pain.

High blood pressure. If the force of the blood flowing through the vessels is consistently too high, this is called high blood pressure or hypertension. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other serious health issues. Many people have this condition without symptoms.

Peripheral vascular disease (PAD). Like coronary artery disease, PAD is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. With PAD, the affected arteries are outside the heart, usually in the legs. People with this condition have pain or cramping when they walk or climb stairs.

Stroke. When an artery in the brain is blocked by a clot or ruptures, the result is a stroke. Part of the brain is deprived of blood, and the brain cells die.