The term “cardiovascular disease” is not unfamiliar these days, though it may commonly be called heart disease. Most people have some degree of awareness of the dangers of poor heart health. Generally, we are aware that our diet, lifestyle, and genetic makeup are involved in how well the heart functions as we age. This is a great start, but we could use a little more knowledge.
Historically, heart disease has been categorized as a men’s health issue. However, statistics indicate that just as many women may be affected by some type of cardiovascular condition or event. In fact, every year, approximately one in three women passes away as a result of heart disease or stroke. This outnumbers female cancer deaths.
Statistics also suggest that heart disease is affecting more patients under age 50. Because the symptoms of cardiovascular disease are often a stroke or heart attack, we have every reason to become as familiar as possible with our personal risk factors as well as indicators that we should see a cardiologist. These indicators include:
- A smoking habit, whether current or past, can contribute to the accumulation of arterial plaque due to the damage it causes to the lining of the arteries.
- Unbalanced blood glucose levels increase a person’s risk of obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Each of these accompanying conditions can add to the risk of blood vessel and nerve damage in the heart and other areas of the body.
- A family history of heart disease. It might not play into your health quite so much if your father’s second-cousin died of cardiovascular disease. However, if your father or any other first-degree relative has or had heart disease, a cardiologist should be a part of your healthcare team.
- Gum disease. Inflamed and infected gums are in a state of disease because there are too much harmful bacteria in the mouth. Recent studies demonstrate a direct link between gum disease and heart disease. It is believed that this association involves the movement of bacteria from the mouth through the blood and to the arteries of the heart.
- Chronic high blood pressure. Medication may be used to manage high blood pressure. However, due to the inherent risks of excess pressure within the arteries of the heart, cardiologic testing and monitoring may be necessary.
There are several reasons a person may need to see a cardiologist aside from what we have listed here. If you experience any of these indicators, or experience chest pain or persistent, unexplained leg and foot swelling, you can benefit from the specific knowledge of an experienced cardiologist. To schedule a visit to our Lake Success, Forest Hills, or Richmond Hill office, call 516-437-5600.