A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders and abnormalities of the heart. They undergo extensive training that includes four years of medical school, three years of education in general internal medicine and another three years of very specialized training in cardiology. They then have to take a two-day exam to get their certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine. If you are starting to show symptoms of a heart-related issue, it is crucial to see our experienced cardiologist in Fort Myers as soon as possible.
When Should You See Our Cardiologist?
A patient should see our cardiologist under the following situations:
• Their primary care physician refers them to our office
• They have a family history of heart disease
• They have a condition like diabetes that increases their chances of developing heart disease
• They are over 40 and want to start a new exercise regimen
• They have symptoms of heart disease
What Symptoms Might Indicate Heart Disease?
Symptoms of heart disease can include the following:
• Severe pain, pressure, discomfort or a squeezing sensation in the chest
• Pain that spreads in the shoulders, arms, neck or jaw
• Chest pain that worsens
• Chest pain that is not alleviated by resting
• Heart palpitations
• Low blood pressure
• Chest pain combined with other symptoms like irregular or rapid pulse, faintness or dizziness, fatigue or weakness, paleness and/or sweatiness, clammy, cool skin and anxiety
• Hoarseness caused by pressure on the vocal cords
• Trouble swallowing
The symptoms of heart disease differ somewhat in men and women. While chest pain is the most common symptom of heart disease in both sexes, women are more likely to suffer a heart attack and not experience any chest pain. Instead, women are more likely to experience such symptoms as shortness of breath, pain in the back or jaw and nausea and/or vomiting.
What Risk Factors Increase the Chances of Heart Disease?
Risk factors of heart disease are classified as modifiable and non-modifiable. Modifiable risk factors are those that the patient can control, at least to a certain degree. For example, smoking increases the chances of heart disease. If the patient stops smoking, they can reduce their risk. Non-modifiable risk factors are those that can’t be controlled, like age. Getting older causes physiological changes in the heart that increase the chances of developing heart disease.
Other non-modifiable risk factors include the following:
• Gender – Men are generally more susceptible to heart disease than are women. After menopause, however, women become as susceptible to heart disease as men.
• Family history – If a close male relative developed heart disease before 55 and/or a close female relative developed heart disease before 65, the patient is at greater risk.
• Genetic disorders
Modifiable risk factors besides smoking include the following:
• Being overweight or obese
• Being physically inactive
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Unhealthy diet
The symptoms and conditions that our cardiologist at Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida can treat are too numerous to mention. Schedule a consultation at our office in Fort Myers to learn about how your symptoms and/or conditions can be effectively treated. Contact us today to book an appointment!