How Frequently Should You Visit a Cardiologist?
Your heart is vital to your overall wellbeing, pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body. One way to keep your heart healthy is by visiting a cardiologist.
Cardiologists evaluate a patient’s heart health, order tests, diagnose conditions, give referrals for surgery and provide treatment options. There are many reasons you might want to visit a cardiologist, whether you’re experiencing symptoms or want to get a preventative exam.
This guide will help you figure out when to see a cardiologist. Read through the symptoms and conditions listed below and consider making an appointment with a cardiologist.
10 Reasons to Start Seeing a Cardiologist
1. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure occurs when the pressure in your blood vessels is higher than the average, usually due to narrowed arteries.
Most people with high blood pressure don’t experience physical symptoms, so getting your blood pressure tested at your yearly physical appointments is essential. Elevated blood pressure levels can negatively affect your heart over a long period.
2. Abnormal Heart Rate
Arrhythmia is a condition where your heart beats too fast or too slow. While arrhythmia has various possible causes, people with underlying heart conditions are more susceptible to developing it.
If you notice your heart beating irregularly fast or slow, it might be best to book an appointment with a cardiologist.
3. Family History of Heart Disease
If you have a family history of heart conditions or heart diseases, you’ll want to schedule a cardiology appointment. A family history of heart disease often puts you at a higher risk for a heart condition. Heart conditions can include:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attacks
It’s important to take extra care of your heart health if heart conditions run in your family. You can do this by making healthy choices like exercising regularly, being smoke-free and managing your blood pressure.
4. Chest Pain or Discomfort
People can experience chest discomfort in various degrees of pain and frequency. If you experience any of the following symptoms, your chest pain might be related to a cardiac condition:
- Sharp, stabbing pain
- A dull ache
- Lasting pain
- Shortness of breath
Heart-related conditions that can manifest in chest discomfort include:
- Heart attacks
- Aortic aneurysms
- Myocarditis or pericarditis
- Valve disease
It’s important to note that chest pain can also result from respiratory or digestive issues or muscle and bone injuries. However, it’s best to play it safe by seeing a cardiologist.
5. High Cholesterol
While cholesterol aids your body’s cell-building systems, it can be harmful in excess. When your cholesterol levels are too high, a fatty substance can build up in your blood vessels, restricting blood flow. Limited blood flow can lead to increased chances of heart attack or stroke.
It’s important to know the difference between “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol:
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL): This “good” cholesterol brings excess cholesterol to the liver, which rids it from the body.
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL): This “bad” cholesterol accumulates in your blood vessels and restricts your blood flow.
6. History of Tobacco Use
Tobacco use, especially smoking, increases your chances of developing heart disease. Smoking cigarettes can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to heart disease.
If you are or have ever been a smoker, it might be wise to schedule a visit with a cardiologist.
Diabetes is closely related to heart disease and usually occurs due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. It’s often comorbid with other conditions — high blood pressure, high triglycerides and too much LDL cholesterol — that can lead to heart conditions.
Untreated Type 2 diabetes causes chronically high blood sugar, which can damage blood vessels over time. If your diabetes was undiagnosed or untreated for a long time, you should consider making a cardiologist appointment.
8. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are visible blood vessels that appear twisted and bulging. While this is often primarily a cosmetic concern, it can also be a sign of physical complications. For example, high blood pressure is a common cause of varicose veins.
9. Poor Exercise and Dietary Habits
Getting too little exercise is a risk factor for heart disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. However, only half of adults get enough exercise.
A poor diet high can also lead to heart conditions. Consider consulting a cardiologist if your diet is high in:
- Saturated and trans fats
10. Shortness of Breath and Dizziness
As with chest pain, it might be time to schedule a cardiology appointment if you experience shortness of breath and dizziness. Most cases of shortness of breath occur because of heart or lung conditions, as both organs transport oxygen to your tissues. Problems with either can lead to trouble breathing.
How Frequently to Visit a Cardiologist
How frequently you visit a cardiologist will depend on several factors and is ultimately up to your doctor. However, even if you don’t have a diagnosed heart condition, it’s vital to see a cardiologist at least once a year for prevention purposes.
If you have a diagnosed heart condition, you’ll want to visit your cardiologist every three months. Here are some more specifics you can consider when deciding how often to see a cardiologist:
- Degree of heart failure: How often you visit a cardiologist will depend on which of the four stages of heart failure your condition has reached. The more at-risk you are, the more frequently you might need to visit.
- Rapid onset of symptoms: If you have a heart condition and begin experiencing symptoms like dizziness or swollen limbs, you’ll want to make an appointment with your cardiologist for an evaluation immediately.
- Recency of your diagnosis: If you have a new diagnosis, you may need to schedule frequent appointments until your condition stabilizes.
Request an Appointment Today With Modern Heart and Vascular
If it’s time to see a cardiologist in Texas, choose Modern Heart and Vascular. We have over 45 years of experience in cardiology and cutting-edge tools and technology at our disposal.
At Modern Heart and Vascular, we are dedicated to preventative care as well as treating existing conditions. Choose your preferred Texas location for possible same-day appointments. Whether you’re making your first appointment or it’s been a while since you’ve been in, we’re ready to help. Contact us today for an appointment.