If you’ve ever considered visiting a cardiologist, you’re not alone. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, so it’s important to be proactive about heart health. General cardiologists are practitioners who specialize in diagnosing and treating heart problems. If you’re at risk for heart disease, seeing a cardiologist regularly can help keep you healthy.
General cardiologists are practitioners that focus on the heart. If you are at risk for heart disease, a cardiologist can help you to be on top of your heart health.
11 Reasons to see a cardiologist right away
Recommendation of Primary Care Physician
If your primary care physician recommends you see a cardiologist, it’s probably for a good reason. Maybe your family doctor spotted a red flag during your exam and wants to have your heart checked a little more closely. Or it could be that your personal or family history warrants an exam by a physician who specializes in heart health. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health!
Heart disease is often due to genetics. If you suspect that heart disease may run in your family, do some research and track your family history. Ask your family members about their health and look for any patterns of heart disease, such as high cholesterol or blood pressure. If you find something concerning, see a cardiologist right away.
Hypertension/High Blood Pressure
Every adult should have their blood pressure checked from age 20 onwards. If it is rising or has always been high, it is important to take steps to get it under control. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, so it is vital to know your numbers and take action if needed.
High Bad Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels don’t directly cause symptoms, which can make them difficult to manage. As one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease, it’s important to get cholesterol numbers under control. You can find more information on cholesterol here.
High blood pressure during pregnancy or in the postpartum period
Studies have shown that women who have had preeclampsia–high blood pressure during pregnancy or in the postpartum period–are more likely to have heart disease. This risk may be even higher for those that deliver preterm babies or suffer from this condition more than once. If you had preeclampsia during any of your pregnancies, it is best to get your heart checked.
History of Smoking
Smoking at any time in your life raises the risk of developing heart disease. If you are a smoker, making an appointment with a cardiologist may not be a bad idea.
Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease than those adults without diabetes. The American Heart Association lists diabetes as one of seven major controllable risk factors of heart disease. Take action and work toward controlling it.
There is a link between your gum health and your heart health. Bacteria found in gum disease can travel through the body and cause infection in heart valves and inflammation in heart vessels. Taking care of your oral hygiene and seeing your dentist every 6 months are both important ways to protect your heart health.
Going from Inactive to Active Lifestyle
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends talking to your doctor before starting a moderate to high intensity exercise program if you’re inactive, have a heart condition, kidney disease or diabetes. A cardiologist can help you figure out an exercise plan that’s appropriate for your lifestyle and health history.
Childhood Heart Health
Many people think that having surgery for congenital heart disease (CHD) in childhood fixes it forever. This isn’t true. In fact, adults who had surgery for CHD as kids see a huge improvement in their quality of life by seeing a cardiologist regularly.
History of Cancer
It is important for all cancer patients and survivors to make an appointment to have their heart checked. Cancer treatments can damage the heart or put strain on the heart muscles and blood vessels. However, making lifestyle changes to increase heart health is also important.