Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about the Prefontaine Cardiovascular Center, call (541) 266-4650.

Heart Attack

How do I know if I’m having a heart attack?

These are the major symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat or experiencing nausea or light–headedness.

Click here to learn more about Common Heart Attack Warning Signs.

What should I do if I think someone is having a heart attack?

Call 9-1-1 immediately. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive.

What is interventional cardiology?

Interventional cardiology uses catheters to treat heart problems. Bay Area Hospital can offer catheterization procedures including balloon angioplasty, stenting, thrombectomy, pacemaker implantation, and others.

Does Bay Area Hospital offer open heart surgery?

No, but we partner with various hospitals for open heart surgery. In an emergency, you may be flown directly to one of them.

Does my health plan cover cardiac rehab?

Conditions covered vary with different health plans. We will assist you in determining if you have coverage for your diagnosis or if preauthorization is needed. For more information about our program and how to obtain a referral, call (541) 269-8389.

Heart Disease

What is heart disease?

The most common heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease. It occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. This condition is called atherosclerosis. The subsequent reduction of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle can lead to a heart attack.

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

Certain medical conditions can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, and so can some lifestyle factors.

Reduce your risk of heart disease by:

  • controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • avoiding tobacco
  • preventing or controlling diabetes
  • maintaining adequate physical activity, weight, and a healthy diet


How can I control my cholesterol?

There are several things you can do:

  • Get a blood test
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Treat high cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, your provider may prescribe medications in addition to lifestyle changes. Talk with your provider about how to reduce your risk of heart disease.

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

There are generally no symptoms of high cholesterol. If you’ve never had your cholesterol checked, you may not know you’re at risk. A simple blood test can determine your level.

What are the risk factors for high cholesterol?

A variety of factors affect your cholesterol level:

  • Age. Cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older
  • Gender. Until around age 55, women tend to have lower LDL levels than men. But as people age, women’s LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels rise more quickly than men’s. At any age, men tend to have lower HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels than women do.
  • Diabetes.
  • Diet. Foods containing saturated fats, trans fatty acids (trans fats), dietary cholesterol, or triglycerides can raise your cholesterol.
  • Being overweight.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Genetics. High cholesterol can run in families.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Heart Association

The information in this FAQ is intended for consumer education only. It is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Ask your physician or other qualified healthcare provider about any medical condition you may have.

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