Just about everyone these days knows how important heart health is, but not everyone knows what to do if there’s a risk of any kind of heart problems. Heart disease and heart failure are some of the biggest killers in the United States today, and most often they are preventable issues. Fortunately, it is possible to diagnose and treat these problems early on by making an appointment with a heart specialist, also known as a cardiologist.
Just what exactly are the warning signs that you need an appointment with a doctor who specializes in cardiology? In no particular order, here are the top five signs to be wary of:
- You have a family history of heart disease: Some people can have a genetic predisposition to heart disease. If you know you have a family history of heart problems, there’s a good chance you might develop them, too. Talk to a doctor about getting screened for heart disease.
- You’re a smoker: Smoking contributes to a number of illnesses, including cancer, lung disease, and yes, even heart disease. A specialist can not only screen you for heart problems but give you information on quitting smoking, too.
- You are overweight or have high cholesterol: Being overweight or obese can contribute to a number of illnesses, especially if you have a diet that is high in cholesterol. This can cause clogged arteries and lead to a heart attack later on. Your doctor should be able to give you information on losing weight to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
- You’ve had other heart-related health problems: There are other risk factors for developing heart disease, including things like diabetes, preeclampsia as the result of a difficult pregnancy, or irregular heart rhythm. If your physician has recommended that you talk to a specialist, then this is a good idea to help you avoid these risk factors.
- You have experienced chest pain: Perhaps the most startling sign that you need to see a cardiologist is chest pain. This could indicate serious heart problems if not treated in time. If you suspect that you are at risk for a heart attack, make sure to speak to a doctor ASAP.
Think you need a “heart-to-heart” with a cardiologist? Make sure to schedule an appointment or get a referral before it’s too late.