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Heart Disease Specialist

Vijaya L Cherukuri, M.D. -  - Internal Medicine


Vijaya L Cherukuri, M.D.

Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in Saint Petersburg, FL

A heart attack strikes every 40 seconds on average in the United States, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. At Premier Health Care Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, Vijaya Cherukuri, MD, diagnoses and treats heart disease to help reduce your risks of heart attack. Call the practice or book an appointment online today.

Heart Disease Q & A

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a general term to describe several heart conditions such as congenital heart defects, disease of the heart muscle, heart rhythm problems, and coronary artery disease.

The most common form of heart disease decreases blood flow to the heart and is coronary artery disease (CAD). Decreased blood flow is concerning because it can cause a heart attack.

Symptoms of heart disease might not arise until you’re experiencing early signs of a heart attack, including:

  • Chest, upper back, or neck pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath

Other signs of heart disease or heart failure include heart palpitations (arrhythmia) or swelling of the feet, ankles, abdomen, or legs. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms of heart attack, call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance immediately.

What causes heart disease?

Several medical conditions and lifestyle choices can increase your risk for heart disease. The three main risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

About half of all Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors. Having diabetes also increases your risk of heart disease, and the following lifestyle habits increase your risk for heart disease:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet

Getting annual physicals at Premier Health Care Inc. is essential for early detection of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Dr. Cherukuri can run further diagnostic tests based on your physical exam and personal and family medical history. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-rays
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Holter monitoring
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress test
  • CT Scan
  • MRI

If heart disease is detected, Dr. Cherukuri discusses treatment options with you.

How is heart disease treated?

Lowering your risk of heart disease starts with lifestyle changes, such as eating a low-fat and low-sodium diet, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking, and increasing exercise to 30 minutes daily.

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough for your risk level, Dr. Cherukuri may prescribe medications or recommend medical procedures or surgery depending on the type of heart disease and damage to your heart.

Heart disease is easier to treat when it’s detected early. If you think you may have heart disease or want to be proactive in preventing it, call the practice or schedule an appointment online today.