The heart is one of our most vital organs, pumping blood around the body to keep us alive. That’s why it is so important to take care of your heart and go for regular check-ups, especially as you get older.
One of the ways you can keep your heart healthy and take preventative action against any problems that may affect your heart is to see a cardiologist — a heart specialist.
In this blog post, we look at some of the key reasons you may need to visit a cardiologist, such as any signs and symptoms (like chest pain), or health conditions you have already been diagnosed with, such as diabetes.
What does a cardiologist do?
Cardiologists are doctors who specialise in the heart. They assess, diagnose and treat patients with conditions and diseases of the heart and blood vessels — known as the cardiovascular system.
As well as specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions, cardiologists can help patients with the management of cardiovascular conditions, as well as suggest preventative measures for heart disease.
Some of the conditions and problems that cardiologists can treat include heart attacks, heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure, angina, heart murmurs and arrhythmia (problems with heart rhythms, such as your heart beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly).
Reasons to see a cardiologist
There are many reasons why someone may want to see a cardiologist in particular. This could be due to a family history of heart conditions, cardiac risk factors, or symptoms you are experiencing that you’re worried may be indicative of something more serious.
Here are six reasons to see a cardiologist.
It should go without saying that if you’re experiencing chest pain, you should see a cardiologist.
Chest pain is often an indicator of some sort of heart problem. Not all chest pain is related to the heart — common causes (NHS, 2020) can range from indigestion to anxiety — but it’s always worth seeking medical advice. It may be a sign of something more serious.
Chest pain may also be a sign that you are having a heart attack. There are other heart attack signs (Mayo Clinic, 2020) to look out for, such as pressure, tightness or pain in your chest. If you experience any of these, you should treat this as a medical emergency and call 999 immediately.
Heart palpitations make you feel like your heart is beating too quickly or too hard or can feel like your heartbeat is irregular — either skipping a beat or fluttering. You can feel heart palpitations in your throat or neck as well as your chest.
Heart palpitations are quite common. They can be caused by a number of reasons (including caffeine, anxiety and hormonal changes) and they’re usually harmless.
However, it’s worth talking to a cardiologist to get to the bottom of why you’re having heart palpitations, especially if they are accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath or dizziness. A cardiologist can determine if a heart condition such as arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) or coronary artery disease is the cause of your symptoms.
Some types of heart disease can be genetic. If someone in your family — particularly immediate relatives such as a parent or sibling — has previously had heart problems, you should speak to a cardiologist.
Your cardiologist will help you determine how at-risk you are and may carry out further testing or suggest preventive measures.
Likewise, if you aren’t sure of your family history when it comes to cardiovascular disease, but you have concerns, it’s worth speaking to a cardiologist to see if you could benefit from a heart health check-up.
When you have diabetes, you’re more at risk of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
This is due to the effect that too much blood glucose (sugar) can have on your blood vessels. If blood glucose levels are too high for any length of time, it can start to damage the blood vessels carrying blood to and from your heart. This can lead to serious heart complications.
For people living with diabetes, it’s important to see a cardiologist to ensure that the blood vessels are functioning correctly.
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of diabetes (Diabetes.org, 2022) but haven’t been diagnosed yet, speak to your doctor.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. High cholesterol can be caused by a number of things, such as eating fatty foods, smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight and not exercising enough.
Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels, increasing your chance of suffering from heart problems or a stroke.
A cardiologist will be able to diagnose this problem and monitor the condition to reduce the chance of heart disease. They may also suggest lifestyle changes (such as eating healthily and exercising) to lower cholesterol or prescribe medications to treat high cholesterol.
Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK (BHF, 2022). That’s an average of 460 death a day, and more than 160,000 deaths each year.
There are many risk factors and potential causes of heart disease, including high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, inactivity and family history.
It’s important to see a cardiologist if you’re suffering from any signs and symptoms of heart disease (WebMD, 2021), or heart disease runs in your family. They will be able to assess your heart health, run some tests, and suggest treatment or preventative strategies if needed.
Healthy heart and cardiologists at Echelon Health
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, then it would be very pertinent to have a comprehensive health assessment to check your heart health and ensure that there is no danger.
At Echelon Health, we offer some of the most comprehensive health programmes in the world that can be tailored to your health needs and areas of concern including a full body health check or a focus on your heart.
Our Healthy Heart service can provide a complete and comprehensive health assessment for your peace of mind, including heart health screenings and, if needed, further referrals to cardiology consultants.
This health assessment is ideal for those with a family history of heart attack, cardiac risk factors, or anyone concerned about the health of their heart. Below are the scans we use to look at your heart:
- Blood Tests
- CT Heart
- CT Coronary Angiogram
Contact us to find out more about our cardiology services and book an appointment with one of our highly-qualified cardiologists today.
- NHS (2020). Chest Pain. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chest-pain/ (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- Mayo Clinic (2020). Heart attack. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106 (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- org (2022). What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes? Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/diabetes-symptoms (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- BHF (2022). Facts and figures. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/contact-the-press-office/facts-and-figures (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- WebMD (2021). Symptoms of heart disease. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-symptoms (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- BHF (2021). How your heart works. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/how-a-healthy-heart-works (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- Brazier, Y. (2017). What is cardiology? Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248935 (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- Harvard Health (2022). Heart health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/heart-health (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- NHS (2019). Heart attack. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/ (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- NHS (2019a). What is high cholesterol? Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-cholesterol/ (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- NHS (2018). Cardiovascular disease. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cardiovascular-disease/ (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- Ansorge, R. (2021). Heart palpitations. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/what-causes-heart-palpitations (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- org (2022a). Diabetes and heart disease. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/cardiovascular_disease (Accessed 08/02/2022).
- Beckerman, J. (2021). Symptoms of heart disease. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-symptoms (Accessed 08/02/2022).