In celebration of February 2023’s American Heart Month, local cardiologist Dr. Matthew Finn, MD answered some important questions on how community members can stay heart healthy, happy, and avoid cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Finn works as an interventional cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) in Houma, Louisiana. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas before attending the Louisiana State University Health and Sciences Center School of Medicine in New Orleans. He went on to complete a master’s degree in patient-oriented research from Columbia University in New York, where he also trained as an interventional cardiology and vascular medicine fellow. Dr. Finn completed his internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was named chief medical resident.
Cardiovascular disease is very broad. What are the different types, and symptoms, patients can experience?
It is a very broad disease, and incorporates many different problems. The most common type we see is coronary artery disease, which is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply the heart with blood– this can cause a heart attack. The most common symptom of cardiovascular disease we see in patients is chest pain, which we can usually manage with medicine.
Pulmonary embolism is a common issue that relates to vascular disease. What is its prevalence, what are the symptoms, and how can it be prevented?
Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that originates in the legs and travels to the lungs. It can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and a dry cough. It is very common– in fact it is the third leading cause of cardiovascular death, however it can be treated with blood thinners. While it is hard to prevent, people can get ahead of it by educating themselves on their family history of blood clots, get routine cancer screenings, and speak with their doctor.
Why is prevention of cardiovascular diseases so important? How can members of our community prevent themselves and others from suffering these diseases?
Once a patient already has a blockage of some kind, they are starting from behind– so it is very important for people to be aware of the risks of cardiovascular disease. Community members can prevent it by eating a healthy diet and leading a healthy lifestyle by being as active as possible. I also encourage everyone to get frequent health screenings, particularly if they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. These diseases can be prevented in our community!
Thank you to Dr. Finn for answering these useful American Heart Month questions and helping to keep the Terrebonne Parish community heart healthy for years to come!