Has your primary care physician recommended you see a heart doctor? Heart doctors known as cardiologists, are experts in diagnosing, treating, and preventing a wide range of problems related to the health, structures, and function of this most vital of body organs.
Here are ten signs that suggest you need to see a cardiologist.
1. You Have Acute Symptoms of a Cardiac Problem
Acute symptoms of a cardiac problem can vary depending on the specific condition and the severity of the problem. Here are some common acute symptoms of a cardiac problem: Chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting, sweating, and fatigue.
It’s important to note that some people may not experience any symptoms of a heart attack, particularly women and older adults. If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a cardiac problem, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Time is critical in treating a heart attack or other serious cardiac problem, and early treatment can improve outcomes.
2. You Have a Family History of Heart Trouble
This may include valvular disease or myocardial infarction (heart attack) at an early age. History of high blood pressure, stroke, and high cholesterol levels can run in families, too. If you see these developing in your own health–or wish to prevent them–consult a cardiologist to assess your risk for a cardiac event or for chronic problems, such as congestive heart failure. A cardiologist can recommend ways to lower your risk.
3. You Currently Have Diabetes, Hypertension, and/or High Cholesterol
High Blood Pressure: If you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, it could be a sign of a heart problem. This is because high blood pressure can cause damage to your heart over time.
High Cholesterol: If you have high cholesterol levels, it could be a sign of a heart problem. This is because high cholesterol can cause plaque buildup in your arteries, leading to heart disease.
Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes blood sugar (glucose), and it can have a significant impact on your heart health. People with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease, which includes conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
See a heart doctor, also known as a cardiologist, to understand how your particular health problem is impacting your heart. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. You may also need to make lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. In some cases, medications may be needed to help manage your conditions and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Regular checkups with a cardiologist may also be recommended to monitor your heart health.
4. You Have Leg Ulcers Related to Leg Vein or Artery Issues
Leg ulcers are open sores that typically occur on the lower leg or foot, and they can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor circulation. Poor circulation can be caused by a variety of conditions, including cardiovascular disease. If you have leg ulcers, it’s important to see a healthcare provider who can help determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Depending on the cause, treatment may include lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight loss, medications to manage underlying conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, or in some cases, surgery to improve circulation. A cardiologist may also be involved in your care if your leg ulcers are related to a cardiovascular condition.
5. You Were Diagnosed With a Congenital Heart Defect as a Child
Even if you are asymptomatic and seem to be in good relative health now, an annual or biannual check-up with a cardiologist is a good idea. Make sure that any surgical repair or reconstruction is still functional now that you are an adult.
6. You Smoke Cigarettes
Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which includes conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Here’s how smoking can affect your cardiovascular health: damage to blood vessels, increased blood pressure, decreased oxygen supply, increased heart rate, and increased risk of blood clots.
If you smoke, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your cardiovascular health. The benefits of quitting smoking can be seen as early as 20 minutes after quitting, and they continue to increase over time. If you need help quitting smoking, talk to your healthcare provider at EMU Health about options. Making other lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress, can also help improve your cardiovascular health.
7. You Are a Woman
Cardiovascular disease isn’t something for men to primarily be concerned with. If you are a woman, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your cardiovascular risk and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Women may experience different symptoms and risk factors than men so it’s important to know the facts and consult your clinician at EMU Health. With appropriate care and lifestyle changes, many cases of cardiovascular disease can be prevented or managed effectively.
8. You Have Swollen Legs and a Sudden Uptick in Weight
These two symptoms are characteristic of heart damage–such as congestive heart failure. These should be investigated by a heart doctor right away.
9. You Drink and Eat an Unhealthy Diet
Both alcohol intake and poor diet significantly increase the risk of heart disease. More than one drink per day for women and more than two drinks for men is considered too much. Plus, a diet high in saturated fat and processed foods packs on the pounds and increases the risk of a cardiac event.
10. You Want to Start a Rigorous Exercise Routine or Sport
If you’ve decided to begin lifting heavy weights, training for a marathon, or another strenuous physical activity –particularly if you are overweight and/or sedentary–be sure to see a cardiologist for a check-up first. They can make sure you are heart-healthy enough to begin your new pursuit.
Get The Best Heart Care at EMU Health
Don’t ignore heart-health symptoms and wait to find out you have a serious heart condition. Let our cardiology team do a thorough assessment and recommend the interventions you need to live well and strong.