Many people believe that if there is something they need to know about their heart health, then their cardiologist will bring it up during their next appointment. After all, the doctor knows best, right?
However, your cardiologist may not think to provide certain information simply because they are so focused on treating the problem at hand, leaving you with a myriad of questions in the “how”, “what”, and “why” categories. Simply responding to questions doesn’t always provide you with the information you need, so start asking questions of your own.
Need some help getting started on your list? Here are some key questions you should ask your cardiologist at your next appointment.
Every heart is different. Some minor complaints, like heart palpitations, may be completely normal in one person and troubling in another, but knowing what is normal for your heart can help put your mind at ease.
Genetics and heart disease are often linked, so it’s important for you to discuss your family history with your cardiologist. If you have a first-degree relative (mom, dad, brother, or sister) who was diagnosed with heart disease, then you are 2-3x more likely to develop the condition yourself. Ask your cardiologist for an overall risk assessment and whether there are any steps you can take to decrease your risk.
There are a wide variety of risk factors for heart disease, but not all of them are readily apparent. Obesity, smoking, and your age may seem obvious, but you may not have thought about how stress, diet, and family history affect your heart health. It definitely helps to have a realistic understanding of which factors pertain to you, and if there is anything you can do about it.
Heart attacks happen fast and knowing the signs to watch out for ahead of time could be the difference between survival and death. Not all heart attacks come with crushing chest pain, so go over all of the possibilities with your cardiologist and have a plan of action in place. It could save your life!
A healthy lifestyle is the best way to take care of your heart. If you are honest with your cardiologist about your current lifestyle, they may have some great ideas for simple changes that could prove beneficial for your entire cardiovascular system.
Whether you want to enquire about treatment options for your specific heart condition or simply find out when to schedule your next appointment, discussing your health plan with your cardiologist gives you an opportunity to ask any other questions that come to mind.
Doctors’ offices can be intimidating, so don’t assume that you will remember everything you want to ask during your appointment. The experts at Cardiac Solutions recommend that you prepare your list of questions ahead of time to ensure that you have the information you need to maximize your heart health.
To find out more information, contact our professional team today!
A heart disease diagnosis can be a frightening experience, bringing up visions of open heart surgeries, long-recovery times, and a negative impact on your quality of life. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart-disease related incident, which continually motivates doctors and researchers to find better cardiovascular treatments; fortunately, many of the latest advances are of the non-surgical variety. For years, many doctors have relied on EKGs, chest x-rays, and CT scans to help diagnose heart disease, ACE inhibitors to prevent heart failure, and statins to lower bad cholesterol levels. While these procedures and medications are still providing great results, here are some new, non-surgical cardiovascular treatments that could reshape the way expert cardiologists diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
Cardiologists have used echocardiography for years to get a clear picture of the heart and its surrounding tissues. However, getting a good image often depends on having a clear line of sight from the body surface to the interior of the heart. If the patient is overweight, has significant lung disease, or cannot be laterally rotated, then the resulting images can be unclear.
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) circumvents these problems because it produces pictures of your heart from inside your esophagus. During the procedure, a doctor will gently guide a thin, flexible tube down your throat. The high-frequency echo transducer attached the end of the tube sends out sound waves to your heart and transforms the echoes that bounce back into pictures on the video screen. TEE has proven a much more useful tool for seeing blood clots, mitral valve disorders, or tears in the lining of the aorta.
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common reasons for admission to the hospital for people suffering from cardiovascular disorders. Characterized by a failure of the heart muscle to adequately pump blood to the body’s tissues, heart failure is often caused by heart attacks, high blood pressure, or diseases that weaken the heart. ACE inhibitors have been the gold standard for treating heart failure, but a new FDA-approved drug known as Entresto is causing a substantial 20% reduction in death or repeat hospitalization.
The first in a new class of drugs known as angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs), Entresto combines two compounds (valsartan and sacubitril) to reduce the strain on a failing heart by helping blood vessels relax and decreasing the buildup of sodium and fluid in the body. Currently, 20% of patients admitted for heart failure are readmitted within 30 days, but Entresto is changing all that by helping more and more people live longer and stay out of the hospital.
It is well known that “bad” LDL cholesterol is not good for your heart. In fact, elevated LDL cholesterol is the leading cause for developing coronary heart disease. Statins, the current leading drugs for reducing cholesterol levels, can decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 35%, but recent advances in PSCK9 inhibitors leave that statistic in the dust.
PSCK9 inhibitors target and inactivate a specific protein in the liver, which dramatically reduces the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream. Lower bad cholesterol equals healthier arteries, fewer heart attacks, strokes, and other cholesterol-related cardiovascular problems. PSCK9 inhibitors are given by injection every two to four weeks, showing remarkable reductions in LDL cholesterol of 50%-70% in just one year!
Cardiac Solutions is dedicated to staying at the forefront of technology to provide you with the absolute best care for your cardiovascular condition. Schedule an appointment today to find out more information!
To find out more information on the latest non-surgical treatment options, contact our exceptional cardiac team today!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In fact, 1 in 4 deaths every year can be attributed to heart disease, so the stakes are high when it comes to finding effective treatment options.
Fortunately, there have recently been several significant advances in heart disease treatments that are providing effective alternatives to open heart surgery. From minimally-invasive catheter-based techniques to implantable devices that can monitor atrial fibrillation, here are some of the exciting new treatment breakthroughs expert cardiologists and electrophysiologists are offering to improve your cardiovascular health.
A severely damaged heart valve, a condition known as aortic stenosis, can cause shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, loss of consciousness, or even death if left untreated. Many patients with heart valve disease are older or too ill to withstand open-heart surgery. However, TAVR is a new surgical procedure that can replace your aortic valve without a major operation.
Approved by the FDA in 2011, TAVR is performed by inserting a small catheter into the femoral artery and using advanced imaging techniques to guide the instrument into the chambers of the heart. Through this catheter, a collapsed tissue heart valve is routed into position and placed directly inside the diseased valve. Then, a balloon is inflated to expand the new valve, which starts to function immediately.
The best part about TAVR? Recovery is quick, and patients are typically discharged within one to three days!
Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia, which can cause a heart to beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. People with AF have an increased risk for stroke, and can experience symptoms like chest pain, heart failure, or even no symptoms at all. Cryoablation for atrial fibrillation is a new minimally-invasive, FDA-approved procedure that can disable the heart cells that cause AF and restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
During cryoablation, an electrophysiologist inserts a balloon catheter into a blood vessel in the upper leg and uses advanced imaging techniques to thread the tube through the body until it reaches the heart. Once the catheter reaches the area of the heart that opens to the pulmonary vein, the electrophysiologist exposes the small amount of heart tissue that is causing the erratic electrical signals to extreme cold energy. The heart then returns to a normal, healthy rhythm.
Trying to figure out why you are having fainting spells can be incredibly frustrating. A standard electrocardiogram (ECG) can monitor what happens to your heart rhythm during a five-minute period, but that is not very helpful if the abnormality occurs infrequently. Implantable loop recorders are much more effective at answering your questions because they can continuously monitor your heart’s rhythm for up to three years!
Implanting the loop recorder is a minor surgical procedure typically done in a doctor’s office with a local anesthetic. The doctor will make a tiny incision in your chest, insert a device that is smaller than a thumb drive, and close up the incision. The loop recorder will monitor the electrical impulses of your heart and automatically transmit the data to your doctor via the internet and wireless technology. All you need to do is keep the transmission monitor by your bed so transmissions can occur while you sleep.
To find out more information about the latest surgical procedures for cardiovascular health, contact our professional cardiology team today!