Have you wondered how many times your heart beats in a day? Take a guess. Don’t be surprised. It’s about 100,000 times. Undoubtedly, the star performer of your body is your heart.
However, the real question is: how much do you care for your heart?
By all means, you need to adopt a heart-friendly lifestyle, and a good starting point is to learn more about cardiology- a branch that specializes in diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and circulatory system. So, let’s get started.
What is Cardiology?
Cardiology focuses on conditions affecting the heart and circulatory system. It is a branch of internal medicine that deals with how the heart works and detects any abnormalities in its functioning. The field of cardiology includes diagnosis, investigations, and medical or non-invasive treatment of conditions, such as heart attack, heart valve defects, angina, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, and heart failure, to list a few.
While many diseases directly impact the heart, some affect the blood circulatory system of blood vessels. Therefore, doctors usually refer to conditions related to the heart as cardiovascular system diseases.
The doctors who are medical specialists in the heart and blood vessels are known as cardiologists. Although cardiologists treat heart conditions and do non-invasive heart procedures, they do not deal with the surgical aspects. Specialists who concentrate on operating on the heart and its surrounding parts are known as cardiac/cardiothoracic surgeons.
When is it needed? When should I consider visiting a cardiologist?
Cardiologists treat patients who have experienced a heart attack, heart failure, other heart issues or patients at high risk for heart diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc. They also offer guidance in protecting against heart disease.
You should visit a cardiologist if you have any of the following symptoms:
You should also consult a cardiologist if you have any of the following-
What can I anticipate?
Cardiologists perform a physical examination and go through your medical history. They might check your heartbeat by a stethoscope for a cardiac murmur or an irregular heart rhythm.
Some of the following tests are used to assess the heart of a person-
ECG captures the heart’s electrical activity and may diagnose a heart attack or heartbeat abnormalities.
This test monitors heartbeats when a person engages in daily activities.
During the test, the chest is covered with tiny metal electrodes wired to a Holter monitor that records the heart rhythm.
An echocardiogram can be described as an ultrasound of the heart to produce an image of the heart, including its valves and blood flow through them, the heart wall and its thickness, heart chambers, and surrounding tissue. It can also indicate how well the heart is functioning by measuring the cardiac output, also known as the blood flow rate of the heart.
An activity test, often known as a stress test, demonstrates how the heart’s rhythm changes during exercise and rest. It evaluates the heart’s capabilities and limitations.
Cardiac enzyme tests like CPK, CPK-MB, and troponin may be done, indicating if the heart muscle is damaged.
It can be done using the conventional catheterization technique or a CT scan to show the extent of blockage in your arteries.
Heart disease can impact every aspect of your life. Not just your physical health but your feelings, friendships, and daily routines also encounter adjustments and difficulties during diagnosis and treatment. Nevertheless, the positive news remains that most heart patients can care for themselves if they have the proper knowledge and take the necessary precautions. And you can too. With a good starter of knowledge, accurate diagnosis, and timely medical care, you are onwards to a heart-friendly lifestyle.
If you experience any symptoms related to heart conditions, don’t delay consulting your doctor. Receiving the proper medical treatment and care is the only way to steer clear of any related medical complications.
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