A cardiologist is a doctor with advanced training and knowledge in diagnosing, treating, and preventing vascular disease (in the blood vessels) and heart disease.
Heart disease is the number-one cause of death in the United States for both men and women, so cardiologists play an important role.
Many people do not seek treatment from a cardiologist until heart disease is far advanced and life-threatening. Let’s look at some of the main symptoms that indicate you may need to visit a cardiologist.
Reasons to See a Cardiologist
Below are some of the most important reasons why your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist for further evaluation and possible treatment:
There are many possible causes of chest pain, including digestive issues like heartburn – which is why chest pain is often ignored and assumed to be nothing. But it could also mean there is a serious problem with your heart.
Let your doctor know right away if you feel any pain or discomfort in your chest. It is better to be “wrong” about your concerns than to leave a serious health condition unaddressed.
Irregular Pulse or Heart Racing
If you can feel your heart race (without physical exertion causing it) or it is continuing to beat quickly after exercising and it is not slowing down like usual, call your doctor. Irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, can be a symptom of cardiovascular disease.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measurement of force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels when your heart beats. Narrowed passageways, family history, or illness may cause high blood pressure.
Therefore, high blood pressure needs to be monitored closely and managed carefully in order to prevent damage to the heart. It can result in a heart attack or other cardiac event.
Cardiovascular disease often occurs in someone who has diabetes. If you have diabetes, especially type 2, part of your health management should include monitoring your heart health.
Diabetes alone can damage blood vessels and can put additional stress on your heart. That is why the existence of diabetes is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.
The plaque that can collect on the sides of blood vessels – narrowing the blood pathways and causing blood pressure to rise – contains cholesterol. A diet that is high in cholesterol can contribute to the buildup of plaque, which increases the risk of heart attack and other cardiac events.
A history of high cholesterol may indicate that you need to see a cardiologist. Some people do not have a weight problem but have inherited a cholesterol problem, so they should see a doctor to ensure it stays under control.
Chronic kidney disease is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Decreased kidney function can limit the kidneys’ ability to regulate fluids, which can cause high blood pressure.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can lead to stroke, kidney failure, or heart attack. Swelling in the feet and legs is sometimes caused by peripheral artery disease.
When there are blockages in the arteries of your legs, it can lead to blood clots – which may cause a heart attack or an aneurysm if the clot breaks free. This is why unexplained leg pain and swelling are serious symptoms that need to be monitored by your primary care doctor and/or cardiologist.
A Healthy Heart Starts with Primary Care
Seeing your primary care physician regularly is the best way to control your risk of developing cardiovascular issues and to prevent disease. Your doctor is your partner in health and will refer you to a cardiologist if you may require specialized treatment.
Primary Care Physicians in Sarasota and Bradenton
Intercoastal Medical Group helps patients manage their health through excellent primary care physicians who work with cardiologists who are right here, within our practice. If you need to see a cardiologist, your health records will be instantly available to all of our medical providers electronically without delay. Communication among providers is open and seamless.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and caring providers. You can call us at your nearest location or fill out our online appointment request form now. We have locations across Sarasota and Manatee counties for your convenience, and we look forward to serving you.