Heart Attack Specialist

Craig R. Peterson, MD -  - Cardiologist

Eastern Shore Heart Center

Craig R. Peterson, MD

Cardiologist located in Fairhope, AL

Each year, approximately 735,000 people in the United States have a heart attack: 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already suffered a previous heart attack. Because almost a third of those who’ve had a heart attack have another, post-heart attack care is critical. At Eastern Shore Heart Center in Fairhope, Alabama, Dr. Craig Peterson specializes in helping his patients navigate the tricky waters of post-heart attack health. To learn how you can best prevent against another heart attack, call or book an appointment online.

Heart Attack Q & A

What is a heart attack?

The term heart attack is so commonplace that it’s become part of the American vernacular, but behind these two words lies a severe problem. A heart attack describes a condition where oxygen-rich blood is cut off to your heart, and the tissue in that area begins to die.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) causes most heart attacks. It's a buildup of plaque along your arterial walls, causing blockages, which is also known as atherosclerosis.

Over time, the accumulation is so significant that an area of plaque may rupture, causing your blood to clot. If this clot is large enough, it can drastically decrease or completely block the flow of blood to your heart.

If left untreated, the muscle in your heart begins to die and scar over, impairing your heart’s ability to function correctly.

CHD isn’t the only condition that leads to heart attacks. In less common cases, the following can cause a heart attack:

  • A spasm of the coronary artery
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat

How is my risk assessed after a heart attack?

Since almost a third of those who’ve had a heart attack suffer another, post-heart attack care is critical, which is where Eastern Shore Heart Center plays an invaluable role.

Dr. Peterson’s first goal is to get to the underlying cause that precipitated your heart attack in the first place. To do this, he relies on advanced testing and screening, including:

  • Complete lipid panel screening to determine cholesterol levels
  • C-reactive protein screening that detects inflammation
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening using ultrasound
  • Glucose screening for diabetes
  • High blood pressure screening

Using these five important screenings, Dr. Peterson zeroes in on the problem to get you started on treatment as quickly as possible.

What are the post-heart attack treatments?

With your heart attack diagnosis in hand, Dr. Peterson can recommend the best course of action for your particular case, which usually includes one or more of the following:

  • Medications, such as daily aspirin
  • Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise
  • Medical procedures to address arterial blockages

Either separately or in combination, these treatments offer the best protection against another heart attack.

To learn how you can ward off future heart problems after a heart attack, call Eastern Shore Heart Center or book an appointment online.