What is a Cardiologist
What is a Local Cardiologist?
A local cardiologist treats a variety of cardiovascular diseases. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels. Some of the conditions a local cardiologist may treat include heart attacks, heart disease, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), and coronary microvascular disease (the narrowing of the small blood vessels of the coronary arteries). Depending on the condition, a local cardiologist may prescribe medication and/or lifestyle changes or surgery. Some examples of heart conditions a local cardiologist treats include:
Atrial fibrillation: Also called an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation causes, the upper chambers of the heart to beat out of sync with the lower chambers. It can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart conditions.
Heart failure: Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when fluid builds up around the heart, which interferes with the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. Heart failure symptoms depend on the type of heart disease you have. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is commonly associated with heart failure. While chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure are two different conditions, they can both cause breathing problems.
Stroke: A stroke occurs when there is a reduction or interruption of the blood supply to the brain. This deprives the brain of nutrients and oxygen. It’s important to watch for stroke symptoms, as a stroke is a medical emergency that can lead to brain damage or death. Stroke treatment will depend on what type of stroke you’ve had.
There are many more cardiovascular conditions, which we also cover in these heart health resources.
Cardiac Rehab Plans
If you experience a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, your local cardiologist might refer you to a cardiac rehab specialist. Sometimes patients who have heart surgery, such as the procedure to put in a defibrillator (ICD) (a small battery-powered device placed in the chest to detect irregular heartbeats) can also benefit from an exercise plan. F.I.T.T for cardiac rehab is an example of a fitness plan patients may use when recovering from a heart attack or heart surgery. F.I.T.T stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.
There are four phases of cardiac rehab: acute, subacute, outpatient, and maintenance. Your local cardiologist can assist you in finding the resources you need to start an exercise plan that will benefit your heart health. It’s important to create a cardiac rehab plan that incorporates cardiovascular exercise and exercise that strengthens the muscles. Patients may also benefit from working with a physiotherapist or kinesiologist during the cardiac rehab phases.
One of the best lifestyle changes that you can make is following a heart healthy exercise plan. Your local cardiologist can help you find a fitness provider that specializes in heart healthy exercise plans. From cardiac workouts to hamstring strength exercises,
Heart Healthy Lifestyle Changes
If you have heart disease, a healthy diet is essential. Being overweight or obese is also risk factor for heart disease. Obesity is an incredibly common health condition that occurs when a person has accumulated so much body fat that it can negatively affect their health. According to studies, nearly 30% of people worldwide are overweight or obese.
Watching your intake of LDL cholesterol, sodium, saturated fats, and triglycerides can also be important as you age. Your local cardiologist may recommend that you work with a local registered dietitian, who can help you create a heart healthy diet plan. Eating a well-balanced diet can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and help you lose weight. A diet low in saturated fat and high in fibre and plant food can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by improving your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, controlling your blood sugar, and helping with weight loss.
Other lifestyle changes that your family physician or local cardiologist may recommend include quitting smoking. Quitting smoking can be difficult, fortunately there are a variety of smoking cessation tools including prescription drugs and nicotine replacement aids such as gum or sprays. You may benefit from consulting with an addiction specialist if you have difficulties with substance abuse.
Having a health condition can also make you more likely to develop mental health conditions such as depression. Patients may develop anxiety before cardiac surgery, or feel overwhelmed by managing a chronic heart condition. Fortunately, there are mental health resources available including medication and therapy. In addition to working with a psychiatrist or psychologist, patients can also try techniques such as meditation, using humor and healing, and yoga for insomnia or anxiety.
If you have questions about how a cardiologist might help you, talk to your local family physician.