8 Reasons to See a Cardiologist
February 01, 2023
While February is recognized as American Heart Month, it’s important to prioritize your heart health 365 days a year. Cardiologists play an integral role in our overall health and wellbeing – they are the experts when it comes to preventing and treating heart and vascular diseases. Dr. Jad Al Danaf of Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
shares eight reasons to visit a cardiologist.
1. Abnormal EKG
The American Heart Association
states an electrocardiogram, abbreviated as EKG or ECG, is a recording of the heart’s electrical activity to measure the rate and rhythm of the contractions in the upper and lower chambers of the heart. An EKG detects heart problems or abnormalities. If you have an EKG that shows abnormal results, you’ll want to see a cardiologist. An abnormal EKG can mean many things, such as irregular heart rate, heart rhythm abnormalities in the shape or size of the heart, medication side effects, and more. A cardiologist is most qualified to evaluate an abnormal EKG and determine the cause.
2. Immediate family history of heart disease or sudden cardiac death
Knowing your family health history is essential to identify if you’re at risk for certain health conditions such as heart disease. For example, if you’re aware of anyone in your immediate family who had or has had heart problems or passed away from sudden cardiac death. In that case, you’ll want to discuss it with a cardiologist so they can determine if screenings, medications, or lifestyle changes are needed to help lower your risk.
3. Chest pain or shortness of breath with exertion
If you have chest pain or shortness of breath that starts or worsens with activity, it may indicate a heart problem, and you should schedule a visit with a cardiologist immediately. Severe chest pain might be a sign of a heart attack or other serious medical emergency. If you’re experiencing severe chest pain, shortness of breath, or any other signs of a heart attack
, call 911 immediately.
4. High blood pressure
Have you had a high blood pressure reading? If so, it’s recommended to consult with a cardiologist for further evaluation. High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, as uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage arteries, reducing blood flow and oxygen to your heart and brain.
5. High cholesterol/triglycerides
Your cholesterol levels can be identified through blood work. If you have high cholesterol levels, fatty deposits can develop in your blood vessels that cause plaque buildup, reducing the supply of oxygen to your heart and increasing your risk for a heart attack or stroke. This is also known as hyperlipidemia. Treatment of high cholesterol depends on your risk of developing heart disease. A cardiologist can recommend a healthy diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat and recommend medicine to help lower your cholesterol to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.
6. Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease is caused by a problem with the heart’s structure present at birth, also known as a congenital heart defect. This condition can sometimes be diagnosed before a baby is born, in infancy, childhood or adulthood. Therefore, it’s important for those diagnosed with congenital heart disease to be seen by a cardiologist regularly throughout their life to follow any necessary course of treatment and prevent further health complications.
7. Preeclampsia during pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman can develop a high blood pressure (hypertension) disorder, increasing the risk of heart disease later in life. If you’re diagnosed with preeclampsia, it’s recommended to follow up with a cardiologist so they can help keep your heart health under control.
8. Heart valve disease
In heart valve disease, one or more of the valves in the heart doesn't work properly. If you’re diagnosed with or have symptoms of heart valve disease, it’s important to follow up with a cardiologist to discuss treatment, which depends on the heart valve affected and the severity of the disease.