As the prevalence of obesity increases, there is a direct correlation with heart related diseases, and the number of patients that cardiologists are seeing. There are still many patients that are not seeing a local cardiologist, let alone a general practitioner, that should definitely consider being seen.
Dr. Allen Amorn is a cardiologist and electrophysiologist from Canfield, Ohio, and he outlines just a few of the top reasons why patients should seek out care from their local cardiologist.
One of the top reasons patients see their cardiologist is due to having had or having increased risk for heart attack. A heart attack is the body’s way of telling you that it has been under stress for too long and it can no longer handle that stress, and changes need to be made. Your local cardiologist can help you through this tough time in life by helping counsel you on forming heart healthy habits and educating on potential medications that may help. Many times, patients will require close follow-up after having a heart attack, and a cardiologist will be the best doctor to visit for this.
Newly Diagnosed Disease or Disorder
For patients that visit their general practitioner regularly, new diagnoses may be made, and some may warrant a discussion about a possible referral to the cardiologist. A new diagnosis of diabetes, cholesterol, or hypertension — especially if severe — would benefit greatly by being looked at by a cardiologist. Although not directly a heart concern, all of these diseases have the potential to negatively impact the heart and vessels of the body.
Patients with diagnosed kidney disease should also be seen by a cardiologist along with their nephrologist, as both systems depend on one another and work hand in hand. Patients with kidney disease many times will have decreased fluid output, leading to greater intravascular volumes, directly impacting the amount of pressure put on the heart.
Both systems when healthy also have in place regulatory mechanisms to provide balance, an example of this being the heart secreting atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in response to high blood pressure, causing the kidneys to excrete more sodium, and therefore more water. Dr. Allen Amorn explains that with the kidneys not functioning properly, the heart is going to take a hit, and before that happens, a cardiologist can help intervene.
Other patients that should be seen are those with bleeding disorders, those with valve replacements or disease, and patients that have peripheral arterial disease. Additionally, patients that should be followed by a cardiologist are smokers, as smoking also increases the risk for cardiac related diseases.
Dr. Allen Amorn suggests that patients experiencing symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, and chest pain should have at least one consultation appointment with a cardiologist. Medical history and physicals alone may not be able to rule in or out cardiac causes of symptoms, but cardiologists can perform ECGs to look for any electrical abnormalities that may hint at what is going on, or many clinics can also perform echocardiograms in office as well.
Patients experiencing intermittent claudication, or leg pain with walking or exercise, should also be evaluated by a cardiologist for potential peripheral arterial disease, a sign of cholesterol plaques building up in blood vessels, which can be an early sign of coronary artery disease.
Any patient even without any other diagnosis that is obese should visit a cardiologist at least once. Be it due to unhealthy lifestyle or other health concerns, obesity is one of the largest contributors to heart disease. With obesity comes other diseases such as: diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension — the three main culprits of heart disease. Many obese patients may also be unable to exercise, further worsening their heart outcomes over time putting them at increased risk, and a cardiologist can help assess risk, and help counsel patients on healthy living.