Right Cardiologist for You
Cardiologists are specialized physicians who diagnose, treat, and manage heart disease. There are many reasons why individuals seek cardiology care, from confirming a diagnosis and controlling a chronic heart condition to discussing treatment options.
Finding out you need to see a cardiologist may be unsettling news but doing your research and making an informed decision about whom to select may help ensure you find the right cardiologist.
Being said, selecting a cardiologist may be intimidating. However, understanding the different types of cardiologists and the characteristics to look for may help you make the best decision.
Individuals experiencing symptoms that may be heart-related or who have cardiovascular risk factors should start by discussing their concerns with their primary healthcare provider.
Usually, a primary healthcare provider will refer patients to a cardiologist. Still, if the symptoms are persistent, you are dissatisfied with the approach your primary healthcare provider suggests, or you want another opinion, it is not unreasonable for you to pursue a heart specialist or a cardiologist.
Chest pain may feel like a dull ache, pressure, tightness, burning, or sharp stabbing. Even though there are other chest pain causes unrelated to the heart, new or unexplained chest pain or one that occurs or worsens with activity may indicate that the heart is not getting enough blood.
–SWELLING IN THE LEGS
Leg swelling or edema; congestive heart failure may cause fluid retention in the feet, ankles, and legs. When the heart cannot function as well as it should, blood flow slows down and goes back up in the veins of the body’s lower extremities.
–DIFFICULTY BREATHING, HEART POUNDING, AND DROWSINESS
Symptoms of shortness of breath, dizziness, and palpitations may show abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. There are several kinds of arrhythmias, but all are due to trouble with the heart’s electrical impulses that provoke it to beat too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia).
Risk factors for heart disease may involve conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, family background of heart disease, and age.
A cardiologist can recommend preventive strategies, order cardiac and vascular examinations or diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications to help you reduce your risk.
Individuals with a cardiac or vascular diagnosis may benefit from a second opinion. A second opinion may confirm a diagnosis or present new care options.
You have many different options when looking to establish care with a cardiologist. The first step in finding the right cardiologist for you is to select somebody who specializes in treating your symptoms or condition.
The field of cardiovascular care has many specialties and subspecialties, which means there are many different types of cardiologists:
General cardiologists are those physicians who diagnose and treat disorders of the heart and circulatory system.
Cardiothoracic surgeons are physicians who perform surgical procedures on the heart, lungs, and chest.
Electrophysiologists are physicians who are experts in cardiac rhythm and may diagnose and treat heart rhythm abnormalities.
Interventional cardiologists are those physicians who specialize in minimally invasive catheter-based procedures to treat blocked blood vessels in the heart.
ADULT CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE CARDIOLOGISTS
Adult congenital heart disease cardiologists are those physicians who treat individuals living with congenital heart disease.
HEART FAILURE AND TRANSPLANT CARDIOLOGISTS
Heart failure and transplant cardiologists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring individuals with advanced heart failure, including heart transplant candidates and recipients.
Vascular physicians and surgeons treat problems in the circulatory system outside the chest. For example, clogged blood vessels are a common reason individuals seek cardiology care.
For this reason, cardiologists work closely with vascular specialists, and your primary healthcare provider may refer you to physicians in both specialties for the same condition.
CARDIOLOGIST STYLE OF COMMUNICATION
When you need to make an appointment with a cardiologist, a referral from your primary healthcare provider or a recommendation from a friend or a relative is a good start. However, physician-patient relationships are unique, and selecting a cardiologist who suits your communication style is essential.
Online hospital staff directories are an excellent resource to explore before scheduling an appointment. Directories should list each physician’s specialty and credentials, and you will usually find a profile photo and brief biography. Sometimes, a video will be available to help you get to know the doctor. Additionally, you can read patient reviews.
It is essential to select a cardiologist with whom you feel comfortable. Use the information available to decide if you will be able to relate and have an honest conversation about your health and needs.
When looking for a cardiologist, you should consider the specialist’s experience with your particular heart problem. The more experience the cardiologist has in treating a condition or performing a specific procedure, the better your prognosis.
Many publications of quality-of-care studies show a direct connection between centers with a high volume of patients and better outcomes. One factor influencing the experience is whether the cardiologist has ties to an academic medical center.
Consider cardiologists treating many individuals with a given condition and having more experience with that condition. In addition, consider physicians who work closely with a whole team of cardiology and vascular specialists and can consult with them about your case.
In addition, as physicians at academic medical centers, cardiologists should have knowledge of and access to life-saving clinical trials and be all up-to-date on the newest procedures, techniques, advanced therapies, and medicines.
At Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, you will be able to find the right cardiologist: with the knowledge, experience, and up-to-date procedures, techniques, and advanced therapies.
Suppose you are seeking a second opinion for your heart condition. In that case, advisors highly recommend an appointment with a cardiologist who specializes in your ailment and is a member of an academic medical center.
Nevertheless, even if you have a more common condition, it may be beneficial to establish your cardiology care at an Institute with specialized and advanced care options. At Modern Heart and Vascular clinics, you will have quicker access to a team of specialists who can help you take preventive measures, even outside of your cardiology care.
Additionally, you will have that support and expertise immediately available should your heart condition require a higher level of care.
It is also important to consider credentials when selecting a cardiologist. For example, your cardiologists should be board certified in cardiovascular disease by the American Board of Medical Specialties, meaning they have completed an internal medicine residency and a cardiology fellowship after medical training.
Fellowships and residencies provide physicians with additional years of training and expertise in their medical field.
Additional board certifications are available in the diverse cardiology subspecialties, such as:
MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE
Before scheduling an appointment, check with your insurance company to see if the cardiologist of your choice is In-network. If the cardiologist is out-of-network, familiarize yourself with your insurance plan’s out-of-network benefits.
If your primary healthcare provider referred you to a cardiologist, it is vital to understand why. Ask your physician to explain the reason for your referral and to review your test results with you. Comprehending this information will make it easier to discuss your treatment or therapy options with the cardiologist.
Your first appointment with a cardiologist is likely longer than follow-up appointments, so being prepared will ensure you get the foremost out of it. In addition, there will be time to get to know each other, for the cardiologist to work with you on a specific treatment plan and ask questions.
Be willing to share, and do not be afraid to ask what is on your mind. It would be best if you felt listened to and that the medical team be there to answer your inquiries and help alleviate your concerns.
Now that you are ready to find the right cardiologist for you, we welcome you to our Modern Heart and Vascular clinics; meet our trusted cardiology and cardiovascular medicine experts with more than sixty years of combined experience: Dr. Rajiv Agarwal, Dr. Naddi Marah, Dr. Michael Siropaides, Dr. Percy Morales, and Dr. Ricardo Bellera, lead the practice.
We use modern technology at Modern Heart and Vascular to diagnose and treat our patients. We are committed to placing our patients first and providing all the answers to your questions about heart health and heart conditions. We are accepting most major insurance companies, including Medicare. Some appointments are available.
We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice. For more information, contact us.
Every heart has a story… What’s yours?
CARDIOVASCULAR CENTERS IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
Modern Heart and Vascular, a preventive cardiology medical practice, has several offices around Houston. We have locations in Humble, Cleveland, The Woodlands, Katy, and Livingston.
We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice.
Every heart has a story… What’s yours?
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At the Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer state-of-the-art cardiovascular care with innovative diagnostic tools and compassionate patient care. Our priority at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is prevention. We help patients lead healthier lives by avoiding unnecessary procedures and surgeries.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.
Every heart has a story…What’s yours?
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