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Preventative cardiology is a subspecialty under cardiology that focuses on reducing patients’ risk of developing heart diseases. It also helps to prevent patients from developing cardiovascular disorders such as heart attack, stroke, and other types of avoidable heart conditions. The preventative cardiology team is typically made up of experienced doctors, nurses, nutritionist, and exercise physiologist that provides a wide range of services to improve patients’ heart and to prevent from developing diseases. They help to assess the risks of a patient developing cardiovascular diseases. This does consider the family history, genetics, medical history and lifestyle of the patient when carrying out their assessment.

Who Needs To See A Preventive Cardiologist?

Studies have shown that more people have developed heart diseases over the years. This is mainly because people have become busier, and most of the people consume are junks. The free time people have is mostly spent binge watching shows and movies.

This eventually takes a toll on the heart and is responsible for the increase in cases of heart diseases. Below are some of the people that should go see a preventive cardiologist:

  1. Individuals with a strong family history of cardiovascular diseases. This include disorders such as heart attack, stroke, and other peripheral artery diseases. This set of people have a high risk of also developing one or more of these diseases later in their life unless they do something to prevent it. This is why they should go see a preventive cardiologist, on ways to prevent this from happening to them.
  2. People with a medical history of cardiovascular diseases: Persons with a medical history of cardiovascular diseases, especially when they’re young also have a risk of being affected by these diseases This is it’s crucial to consult a preventive cardiologist and work out ways of preventing a reoccurrence of these diseases.
  3. People with risk factors that are difficult to control such as atherosclerosis and cholesterol problems: There are some individuals with conditions that contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases and are difficult to control. Examples of these diseases include atherosclerosis and hypercholesterolemia. It’s important to consult a preventive cardiologist for proper management of these conditions.
  4. Controllable risk factors: There are a lot of risk factors that can be controlled if properly managed. Examples of these factors include hypertension, high blood sugar, obesity, excess consumption of alcohol, smoking, and lack of physical activities. All these factors can be appropriately managed by a preventive cardiology team. The team usually includes a nutritionist that would help the patient eat right and an exercise physiologist that would help coordinate the type of exercise the patient should engage to get the maximum result.
  5. Uncontrollable factors: There are some factors that are uncontrollable. Some of the factors include the following:
  • Gender: Studies have shown that men have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than women.
  • Age: It has also been shown that older people have a high risk of developing heart diseases, as compared to young adults or teenagers. This can be attributed to the build-up of fats and other particles in their blood vessels over the years.
  • Race: Studies have shown that there is some race that has a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases as compared to others. As an illustration, Africans and African-Americans usually do have a higher risk of developing heart diseases, as compared to other races.

Reasons You May Want To Go See A Preventive Cardiologist Near Me

Below are some of the reasons why you may want to go see a preventive cardiologist:

  1. Physician recommendation: One of the most common reasons people go see a preventive cardiologist, is because of recommendation from their physician, especially their primary care doctor. Family doctors can tell if a patient needs the care of a specialist. So it’s important you follow their recommendation.
  2. Heart pain: Individuals experiencing some form of discomfort or pain in their chest, should go see a cardiologist. The various signs and symptoms of heart pain would be discussed subsequently in this article. However, a cardiologist can evaluate the signs and symptoms, give a diagnosis, and properly manage the condition.
  3. Family history: Individuals with a family history of heart disease must consult a cardiologist to prevent them from also developing the conditions. People with a family history of heart diseases have a high risk of developing these conditions later in their lives.
  4. Pregnancy complications: Women that have problems during their pregnancy, or have conditioned such as preeclampsia have a high risk of developing heart diseases. This is why they need to consult a preventive cardiologist for proper management.
  5. Gum diseases: Studies have shown that people affected with gum diseases have a high risk of also developing heart diseases. This is most common with people with swollen gums.
  6. Diabetes mellitus: People affected with diabetes mellitus have a high risk of developing heart diseases. These patients have to be managed by the preventive cardiology team, which includes a nutritionist, exercise physiologist, physician, nurses and so on.
  7. Smokers: Smokers have a high risk of developing heart diseases. This is mostly because of the toxins released into the body when smoking. Typically, the first step towards management is stopping smoking or reducing it significantly. The preventive team can also help patients overcome it if they’re addicted.
  8. High blood cholesterol: People with high total blood cholesterol have a high risk of developing heart diseases. According to studies, a total blood cholesterol level of 200mg/dl and above are prone to developing cardiovascular diseases.

What Are Heart Diseases?

Heart diseases are conditions that affect the heart. The diseases that qualify as heart conditions include those that affect blood vessels, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disorders, and congenital heart defects. Heart disease is also commonly referred to as cardiovascular disease. There are various forms of heart diseases that can be treated with lifestyle modifications, medications, and surgery.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Diseases?

Heart diseases do cause various signs and symptoms, depending on the cause of the disorder. Below are some common heart conditions and the symptoms they present with:

  1. Atherosclerotic disease: This is a common heart disease in both males and females. However, it’s more prominent in people that are above the age of 50. Generally, people affected by atherosclerosis present with chest discomfort, dyspnea, nausea, and extreme fatigue. Below are some of the symptoms of atherosclerotic diseases:
  • Persons affected with atherosclerosis do present with a lot of pain in their chest, also known as angina, chest pressure and tightness of their chest.
  • Patients might also present with shortness of breath, also referred to as dyspnea.
  • Persons affected with this of heart condition might also present with numbness or weakness in their legs. This might also affect the arms. This mainly occurs because of the constriction of the vessels that supply this part of the body.
  • Patients commonly present with pain parts of the body other than the chest, such as in the neck, jaw, back and the upper abdomen.

A lot of people tend to ignore the signs and symptoms of this heart disease until they become severe. It’s always best to consult your physician if you notice any of the symptoms above, to avoid any complications.

  1. Heart diseases caused by abnormal heartbeats: This is the type of heart disease that is caused by an abnormal In this condition, the heart beats abnormally. The heart of the patient might beat too fast, too slowly, or irregularly. This can lead to the following signs and symptoms:
  • Patients might experience a fast heartbeat. This condition is also known as tachycardia.
  • Bradycardia: This is a condition in which the heart of an individual beats abnormally slow.
  • Persons affected by heart arrhythmia may also present with shortness of breath.
  • Patients might manifest lightheadedness.
  • In severe situations, the patient might faint. This mostly occurs when there is a shortage of the supply of oxygen to the brain.
  • Patients might experience fluttering in their chest.
  1. Heart disease symptoms that occur as a result of heart defects: Heart defects are mostly congenital. Most of them are severe and would require surgical

Below are some of the signs and symptoms presented by people affected with this disorder:

  • Patients might present with cyanosis of their skin. Their skin may turn pale grey or bluish in color.
  • Patients might also develop shortness of breath, especially in infants. This mostly causes poor weight gain.
  • Patients might also experience swelling in parts of their body such as the legs, abdomen, and areas around the eyes.

There are some congenital heart defects that are not life-threatening. Some of the signs and symptoms of these defects include the following:

  • Patients might get tired quickly. This becomes evident when they take part in physical activities or exercise.
  • Patients also present with swelling in their extremities such as in the hands, and feet.
  • Dyspnea: Persons affected with less severe congenital heart defects do experience shortness of breath, especially during exercise.

  1. Heart disease symptoms that occur due to weak heart muscles: People affected with heart muscle disorders might not present with symptoms in the early stage of the disease. However, they tend to present with signs and symptoms as the disease Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of people affected by cardiomyopathy:
  • Persons affected with cardiomyopathy might present with breathlessness when involved in physical activities.
  • They might also present with swelling in parts of their body such as in the legs, ankle, and
  • Patients also get tired quickly.
  • They might manifest symptoms such as fast and irregular beating of the heart. In addition, they might experience fluttering of their heart.
  • Patients might present with fainting and dizziness.
  1. Heart disease symptoms that are caused by heart infections

The heart sometimes gets infected with some microbes. This might be a bacterial or viral infection. An example of a heart infection is endocarditis which occurs when the inner membrane of the heart is infected. Some of the signs and symptoms that patients might present with include the following:

  • Fever: This is usually one of the first symptoms to know that a patient has an infection. The body temperature of the patient would be abnormal, indicating fever.
  • Dyspnea: Patients might also present with shortness of breath.
  • Persons affected with a heart infection also get tired easily.
  • They might also present with dry or persistent cough.
  • Some patients might also develop skin symptoms. They may present with skin rashes.

 

  1. Heart symptoms that occur due to valvular heart disease: The normal heart has 4 main valves. This includes the mitral, tricuspid, aortic and the pulmonary valves. It’s the job of the valves to control the flow of blood in and out of the different chambers of the heart. However, there are situations in which the valves get impaired, and don’t function well. Some of these conditions include the narrowing of the valves, leaking of the valves, or the improper closing of the valves. The signs and symptoms presented by patients depend on the valvular defect the patient has. Below are some of the common symptoms:
  • Patients do present with fatigue.
  • They might present with dyspnea: This means they’d have difficulty breathing.
  • Patients might also develop chest discomfort.
  • Persons affected with valvular heart disease might experience swelling on their feet or ankle.
  • Patients might also present with fainting.

When Is It Important To See A Cardiologist?

It’s important to go see a physician as soon as you notice the signs and symptoms of these heart diseases. Below are some of the common symptoms that should make you consult a cardiologist:

  • Shortness of breath: This is one of the most common signs and symptoms of heart diseases. Persons affected with this disease do find it difficult to breathe.
  • Fainting: This mostly occurs when sufficient oxygen isn’t getting to the brain.
  • Chest pain: This is one of the early signs of a heart condition.

What Are The Causes Of Heart Diseases?

Heart diseases have various causes. Below are some of the common ones;

  1. Causes of cardiovascular disease

Heart disease could develop in the blood vessels. This condition is referred to as atherosclerosis. It’s a condition in which there is the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries. This causes the vessels to become thick and stiff, impairing the flow of blood in the vessels. The most prominent cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis. This is mostly caused by a combination of factors such as obesity, overweight, bad diet, smoking, lack of exercise and so on.

  1. Causes of heart arrhythmia

This is a condition in which an individual presents with abnormal heart rhythm. Some of the causes of heart arrhythmia include the following:

  • Hypertension: Persons affected with high blood pressure that persists for a long time, do have a high risk of developing heart arrhythmia.
  • Smoking and alcohol: Persons that smoke and drink an excess amount of alcohol are prone to developing heart arrhythmia.
  • Drug abuse: Individuals that indulge in the consumption of illicit drugs such as met, cocaine eventually do present with abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Coronary heart disease: This is one of the most common causes of heart arrhythmia.
  • Stress: Stress could also lead to the development of heart arrhythmia. This might be physical or emotional stress.
  • Medications: There are some medications that cause It’s important to consult your cardiologist if you notice any changes in your heart rhythm.

Healthy individuals with a normal and healthy heart usually don’t develop serious heart arrhythmia, unless it’s caused by an external factor. Examples of factors that could lead to arrhythmia include medications, illicit drugs, electric shock and so on. However, individuals with a heart that has scarred tissues have a high tendency of developing an arrhythmia.

  1. Causes of cardiomyopathy: Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which there is a thickening or enlargement of the heart muscles. There are various types of cardiomyopathy. Below are some of them:
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy: This is the most common type of cardiomyopathy. However, the main cause of this condition is unknown. Some studies have suggested that it might be caused by a reduction of blood flow to the heart, which might occur because of damage to the damage to the heart. Studies have also suggested that this condition can be inherited from parents. The part of the heart that is most affected is the left ventricle.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: This is a condition in which the heart muscles become abnormally thick. This can also be inherited from parents. In addition, studies have shown that it can develop over time mainly due to conditions such as aging and high blood pressure.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy: This type of cardiomyopathy isn’t as common as the other types. This condition causes the heart muscles to become stiff and less elastic. The main reason for the development of this condition is not known yet. However, some factors that contribute to the development of the disease have been identified. Some of these factors include connective tissues disorders, abnormal accumulation of iron in the body, the buildup of abnormal proteins in the body and so on.
  1. Causes of heart infection: The heart can get infected with microorganisms. An example of a heart infection is endocarditis. This might occur due to irritation, or infections from viruses or bacteria. They do damage to the heart when they reach the muscle. Below are some of the common microbes that could infect the heart:
  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Parasites
  1. Causes of valvular heart disease: There are many causes of valvular heart diseases. However, most people affected with this disorder were born with it. Some of the conditions that can lead to the damage of the heart valves include the following:
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Infections
  • Connective tissue disorder: Disorders of the connective tissue can lead to the development of valvular heart diseases. An example is a Marfan

What Are The Risk Factors Of Developing Heart Diseases?

There are some factors that increase the risk of developing heart diseases. Some of the factors include the following:

  • Sex: Studies have shown that men are generally at risk of developing heart diseases. This can likely be attributed to the androgen levels in men. In addition, women also have a high risk of developing heart diseases after menopause.
  • Age: The risk of developing heart disease tends to increase with age. The older one gets, the more the chances of developing heart diseases. This can also be attributed to the weakening and damage of the vessels over the years.
  • Family history: Individuals that have a family history of heart disease also have a high chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. However, this mostly occurs in people above the age of 60.
  • Alcohol consumption: People that indulge in the consumption of an excess amount of alcohol have a high risk of developing heart diseases. This is not to say alcohol is dangerous for our health. However, it should be consumed in moderation.
  • Smoking: Individuals that smokes have are prone to developing heart diseases. This is mainly because nicotine, one of the main constituents of cigarette constricts the blood vessels. In addition, carbon monoxide, which is released can also cause damages to the inner lining of the lungs. This is why heart attacks are more prominent in smokers.
  • High blood pressure: Patients affected with high blood pressure, which has persisted for a long time have a high risk of developing heart disease. This is because of the effect of the high pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.

                          Diagnosis of Heart Diseases

Physicians initially take the medical and family history of the patient. This is then followed by carrying out a physical examination of the patient. The signs and symptoms presented by the patient are then examined. Asides from all these, below are some of the tests that may be carried out by your cardiologist:

  • Electrocardiogram: This is a machine that records the electrical activities of the heart. This helps the doctor to detect the various irregularities in the heart’s rhythm and structure. This can be done while the individual is at rest, or while exercising.
  • Echocardiogram: This test is noninvasive, and is carried out by carrying out an ultrasound of the chest. It usually shows the detailed images of the structure and function of the heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Stress test: This is done by raising the heart rate by making the patient carry out some exercise, and checking to see how the heart responds to the test.

                          Treatment Of Heart Diseases

It’s important to go see the best cardiologist near me if you’re manifesting one or more of the symptoms. Cardiologists treat heart disease mainly by two methods. This includes lifestyle changes and medications. Patients are encouraged to stop smoking for a start, then the blood pressure, a cholesterol level of the patient are brought under control. Other things the preventive cardiology team would also do is to ensure the patient is eating healthy food, and engaging in regular exercises.

References

Butler, J. (2011). Congestive Heart Failure Special Issue on Advanced Heart Failure. Congestive Heart Failure, 17(4), pp.159-159.

Heidenreich, P. (2016). Heart Failure Patients Need More Than Heart Failure Care∗. JACC: Heart Failure, 4(3), pp.194-196.

Kania, G., Boheler, K., Landmesser, U. and Wojakowski, W. (2011). Stem Cells in Heart Failure. Stem Cells International, 2011, pp.1-3.

 

 

 

 

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