Who Should Visit a Cardiologist?

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A cardiologist is a doctor who can diagnose conditions that affect the heart and other parts of the cardiovascular system. There are many reasons why an individual should consider seeing a cardiologist, and making an appointment with a reputable provider can be beneficial for overall health. Here are some of the main factors that determine who should visit a cardiologist.

Experiencing Symptoms
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of a cardiovascular problem should schedule an appointment with a cardiologist right away. If the heart feels like it’s skipping beats frequently or beating at an irregular speed without any explanation, this could indicate a heart rhythm problem (arrhythmia) and should be brought to a cardiologist’s attention. Strange pulsating sensations in other parts of the body or frequent lightheadedness could also indicate a cardiovascular problem that should be addressed by a cardiologist. Chest discomfort, shortness of breath and other symptoms of a heart attack require emergency medical care.

A Family History
Certain cardiovascular conditions can be passed down genetically to family members. Anyone with a known history of cardiovascular problems should see a cardiologist. The cardiologist can perform a series of tests to determine if a person has a genetic condition that may require medications or additional treatments to keep it from causing major problems. This is especially where seeing a multi-specialty medical group may come in handy. Locally, someone like Indus Healthcare, has a combination of both primary care and cardiology care at the same location. As you’ll see below, in addition to family history, various chronic conditions can call for cardiology care so having a team that is highly qualified is going to be to your benefit.

Hypertension
Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension occurs in most people when blood pressure readings exceed 120/80. High blood pressure raises the risks for heart attack and stroke. Blood pressure can usually be lowered by increasing exercise, reducing sodium and making other simple lifestyle changes. However, if high blood pressure readings persist, a cardiologist should be consulted for further recommendations.

High Cholesterol
Primary care physicians can perform blood tests that measure the body’s good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels along with the amounts of triglycerides in the blood. A high level of LDL cholesterol increases the risk of developing heart disease. If the harmful LDL cholesterol levels are too high, the primary care physician will likely refer the patient to a cardiologist for further testing and treatment. The cardiologist can also recommend certain lifestyle changes to lower LDL cholesterol.

Other Preexisting Conditions
Cardiologists often see people who have preexisting conditions that can directly or indirectly affect the heart and blood vessels’ functioning. Diabetes is known to increase heart disease risks and worsen symptoms. The inflammation caused by chronic gum disease can also lead to the development of heart disease. Some HIV medications have side effects that could cause heart problems.

Tobacco Usage 
Regardless of whether a person still smokes or used tobacco products in the past, it’s best to see a cardiologist to rule out any underlying cardiovascular problems. Smoking is known to damage the heart, blood vessels, and blood cells. Smoking can also harden the arteries (atherosclerosis) and cause coronary heart disease. Using snuff, chewing tobacco and other forms of smokeless tobacco may additionally increase blood pressure and heart rate.

A Change in Exercise Patterns
Anyone who is thinking of starting a new exercise plan should see a cardiologist to rule out any underlying conditions. Undiagnosed problems of the heart wall, valves or other parts of the cardiovascular system could lead to heart attacks, stroke and other problems if these components are put under stress from exercise.

There are many good reasons to see a cardiologist. Even if a person isn’t experiencing symptoms or has no known history of cardiovascular problems, a cardiologist can still recommend ways to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy.

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