According to the C.D.C., the number of adults diagnosed with heart disease is 30.3 million! That is about 12% of the nation! Additionally, the obesity rate in the US is about 40%. These are the two primary factors that you should be aware of when considering your cardiac health. With heart disease being the number one killer of Americans, it is very likely that you or someone that you know has thought about or been advised to see a cardiologist. A cardiologist has specialized training in finding and treating heart diseases and ailments. But when should you see a cardiologist? Should you see one at all?
When speaking with your primary physician, they may refer you to a cardiologist for follow-up testing or procedures if they feel that recommendation is necessary. However, if you have specific concerns or risk factors that you feel warrant more specialized care, speak to your physician about your options, and how that specialized care from a cardiologist might be beneficial.
It is important to know what symptoms to look out for and what signs to recognize. Even if you are having no symptoms, understanding your risk is key to preventing a major cardiac event. Let’s go through just some of the reasons why you should see a cardiologist:
Cardiac Risk Factors
There are several risk factors of heart disease and cardiovascular disease that everyone should be aware of. If you have any of these risk factors, you should talk to your primary physician about your next steps and whether or not you should see a cardiologist.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found in certain foods and also made by your liver. Often times, there is more cholesterol in the foods that we eat than we need. This extra cholesterol can build up in your arteries, which can restrict blood flow to the rest of your body. Unless you are tracking your choleric intake, the only way to discover the levels of your cholesterol would be to be tested at your physician’s office. If your cholesterol is high, you are more likely to suffer with heart problems. Discussing this with a cardiologist may help you discover a path to healthiness and lowering your cholesterol and risk of cardiac disease.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms other than the test result, so it is wise to always be aware of your blood pressure tendencies. Your physician should be able to test your blood pressure. If you know that your blood pressure is on the high side, it may be time to talk to your cardiologist about other risk factors you are having, and how lifestyle changes or medication can assist you towards better heart health.
Cardiac arrhythmia encompasses many ailments that may cause your heart to beat too fast or too slowly. Tachycardia refers to a faster beating heart than normal, whereas Bradycardia refers to a slower beating heart. These would not be just momentary symptoms, but rather, an irregular heartbeat for long periods of time. You may also experience some other symptoms associated with your arrhythmia, such as fatigue, chest fluttering, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, or fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away. If your physician sees that you have any sort of irregular heartbeat, scheduling an appointment with a heart doctor near you may give you the answers that you need.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have more of a risk to develop heart disease than those who are not diagnosed with diabetes. If you have diabetes, your body either cannot make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. Overtime, the high levels of blood glucose can damage your blood vessels and heart nerves. If your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, a cardiologist would be able to help you manage your diabetes, while also controlling other risk factors that you may have.
If there is a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or other similar conditions within your family, talking with a cardiologist can help you manage your risk. Also, if you are combining that risk with other unhealthy life choices, than your risk increases exponentially. The hereditary nature of these diseases is not a guarantee for heart trouble, but knowing that the genetics are there can give you a leg up on controlling your health.
If you are a habitual smoker, your risk for heart diseases increases. Smoking causes your arteries to tighten, which raises your blood pressure and makes your heart work overtime. Your heart’s structure can also be weakened by the many chemicals within cigarettes. With all of this strain on your heart, you are putting your life at risk. While these habits may damage the heart, quitting smoking has been shown to reverse those affects. Talking with a cardiologist can help motivate you to quit smoking and restore your heart health!
While these conditions and risk factors are not the only reasons to visit with a cardiologist near you, they are indicators that your heart health and general health may be at risk. If your doctor has referred you to a cardiologist, or if you believe you need a second opinion about your heart risk, call CT Cardio. Our knowledgeable specialists are ready to assist you on your journey to better heart health. You may have 206 bones, but you only have one heart. Let CT Cardio help you take better care of it!