Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States. If you have symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, it may be time to visit a cardiologist. A doctor who specializes in diagnosing heart and blood vessel disorders, a cardiologist diagnoses and treats many types of cardiovascular conditions. Doctors can help diagnose what’s causing your symptoms and how to get relief. Here are five signs that it’s time to see a cardiologist:
What is a cardiologist?
A doctor who specializes in diagnosing heart and blood vessel disorders, a cardiologist diagnoses and treats many types of cardiovascular conditions. Doctors can help diagnose what’s causing your symptoms and how to get relief.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms for a while and the severity is increasing, it may be time to see a cardiologist. Cardiologists can evaluate your symptoms and determine if they’re caused by something life-threatening or benign. If they’re caused by something serious, they’ll help get you the right treatments. For example, if your chest pain is constant and severe, but your EKG (a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart) is normal, you should consult with a cardiologist.
How to find the right doctor
It’s important when seeking the help of a cardiologist to find one who is best qualified for your needs. You should ask your primary care doctor for referrals or do some research on your own. Once you have a few names, check out each doctor’s website to learn about their experience and qualifications.
If you live in an area where there are multiple doctors in the same specialty, it may be helpful to schedule appointments with more than one doctor and talk with them about their approach to treatment options.
How to prepare for your first appointment
The first appointment with a cardiologist often takes about an hour. You’ll be asked about your medications, your medical and family history, your symptoms, and how you feel. Questions will range from the typical (how long have you been experiencing shortness of breath?) to the more specific (have you been experiencing nausea or vomiting?). A cardiologist may also order tests to evaluate the severity of your condition.
Doctors often ask patients to wear a monitor that measures heart activity when they have symptoms. This is called an electrocardiogram (ECG) or Holter monitoring test. These tests can help identify irregularities in the heart’s rhythm and assess whether or not there are any other underlying issues that might be causing your symptoms.
The following tips will help prepare for your first appointment:
- Look over your medical records from past visits with other doctors to make sure everything is up-to-date.
- Bring any medications you take to show what you’re currently taking.
- If you’re on blood pressure medication, bring those records as well.
- If you’ve been using alternative treatments for your symptoms, bring documentation of these treatments as well. It’s important for doctors to understand all possible causes of your symptoms so they can effectively diagnose what’s causing them and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan if needed.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and want to know more about your heart, take a minute to call the cardiologist in Houston Texas.