Medical Cardiology and What It Might Mean for You
Medical cardiology is the branch of medicine dealing with the heart. It is an incredibly important branch of medicine, given that one out of every four Americans will die of heart disease. Over 70 million Americans have high cholesterol, putting them at risk for cardiac disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
With that in mind, you may be a little more interested in learning about medical cardiology. This field can get you back on your feet if you have already had a cardiac arrest or other heart event, and it can prevent such events from happening if you currently just have risk factors.
A cardiologist can treat you if you have risk factors for heart disease.
Medical cardiology includes diagnosing and monitoring heart disease. Some of the risk factors to watch out for are obesity, physical inactivity or lack of exercise, and a family history of heart disease or stroke. Among the first signs that you might have that show you have a risk for heart disease are high total cholesterol, high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, high triglycerides, and low HDL or “good” cholesterol levels in your blood.
Once you seek Arizona cardiovascular treatment, heart doctors may provide additional diagnostic tests to understand your heart condition. They may include the following.
- Electrocardiogram to check how your heart beat pattern is.
- Stress test to see how your heart responds to stress such as exercise.
- Ultrasound imaging to visualize parts of your cardiovascular and circulatory system such as your heart, peripheral blood vessels, and renal artery.
- Ankle brachial index to check blood pressure in your ankles and arms as an indication of how well your blood is flowing throughout your body.
If any of these tests come back abnormal, you might stay under the care of a cardiologist to be able to monitor and treat your heart condition.
You may use conservative treatments.
If you have risk factors for heart disease or have early stages, your cardiac specialist may suggest conservative treatment, such as lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking is a strategy that can quickly improve your heart health. Also, you can improve your diet. For example, consume more fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, and limit your sweets and fatty meats. Introducing exercise, under your doctor’s care, can also promote heart health.
If these do not work, you may be placed on prescription medications. Blood thinners, or anti-coagulant medications, and cholesterol-lowering medications are common approaches. Your doctor will monitor you to see how your heart is responding and to manage any side effects.
More intensive treatment may be necessary.
Depending on your stage of heart disease and how you respond to earlier treatments, you may have more intense treatment. For example, your doctor could schedule a valve replacement procedure, a balloon angioplasty, or carotid stenting to improve heart function.