Chances are that you and your primary care physician have talked about your risks for heart disease, including high blood pressure or a family history of heart attack or stroke. Still, there may come a time when you should begin seeing a cardiologist for specialty care.
And since prevention is key to your best heart health, seeing a cardiologist before you have a heart attack or stroke or develop heart failure is the best strategy.
"Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in men and women in the United States. It is important to optimize your cardiovascular risk factors to decrease the likelihood of an adverse event," said cardiologist Ryan P. Daly, MD, of Franciscan Physician Network Indiana Heart Physicians. "A cardiologist may assist you in controlling and monitoring these risk factors."
Reasons To See A Cardiologist
You should consider making an appointment to see a heart doctor if:
- Heart disease, including heart attack, stroke or heart failure, runs in your family. Both lifestyle and genetics play significant roles in your cardiovascular health.
- You have been told that you have heart valve disease or an abnormal heart rhythm.
- You want a second opinion regarding your heart condition.
- You received an abnormal calcium score of 100 or higher after having a heart scan screening. In patients with these elevated scores, it may be appropriate to seek specialty care, especially if you have score of 300 or above.
- You have high total cholesterol or high blood pressure. These are two major risk factors for heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
- You have diabetes. Diabetes significantly increases your risk of heart disease.
- You are or were a smoker. Smoking affects the flow of oxygen to the heart and increases heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of blood clots. It also damages the lining of the arteries.
If you are concerned about your risk of heart disease, ask your primary care physician about seeing a cardiologist. You may even self-refer, if you choose, and make an appointment directly with a specialist. Find a heart doctor near you at FranciscanHealth.org/findadoctor.
Get The Facts. Get Scanned.
A $49 heart scan can save your life. Request an appointment or download our guide to learn about heart disease and the benefits of a heart scan.