Heart disease kills about 647,000 Americans each year, and it is the number one cause of death from chronic illness in the U.S. As you go about your regular workday, or participate in the activities you like, you have probably thought about whether or not you can fall gravely ill from your lifestyle.
The more prudent among us have regular executive checkups and are able to detect early signs of illness. If you are concerned about your heart health or would like to determine if you are at low or moderate risk for contracting a cardiopulmonary disease, keep reading for reasons why you should see a cardiologist.
1. You have a family history of heart disease
Ask questions about your family’s health history. Heart disease is largely genetic, and if your parents have high cholesterol or blood pressure, you are likely to be at risk for it as well. If your parents do not heave cardiac ailments but have other chronic conditions like diabetes, that also predisposes you towards contracting heart disease.
Childhood congenital heart disease or CHD is not a risk factor for heart conditions. However, people who had CHD surgery when they were young enjoyed a significant increase in their quality of life when they took control of their own healthcare. Since CHD can be structurally fixed when a patient is young, risk factors are further minimized through follow-ups with physicians.
2. You have the pre-conditions for cardiac ailments
Checking your blood pressure should be a habit once you turn 20. A creeping up in your blood pressure readings should not be ignored and must be managed as soon as possible. Even people in their twenties suffer from hypertension, and the earlier the onset of this condition, the harder it will be to manage it when you grow older. Hypertension is a strong risk factor for both cardiac disease and stroke.
Levels of cholesterol are not readily apparent; unlike your blood pressure, which you can measure at home, you need to wait for laboratory tests to confirm if you have high cholesterol. However, it is a significant risk factor for cardiac illness. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, you should see a cardiologist so they can put you on a maintenance plan.
3. You have a history of preeclampsia
Women who had a history of preeclampsia, or pregnancy-related high blood pressure during the gestational or post-partum period are at greater risk of developing heart disease. The Preeclampsia Foundation says that women with this condition are three to four times more likely to develop hypertension, and are twice as likely to develop heart disease and stroke.
Those who delivered preterm babies or had suffered preeclampsia in the past are even more likely to develop long-term hypertension, heart disease, or other related ailments.
4. You are a smoker
There are various health risks associated with smoking. If you are or were a smoker, make an appointment with a cardiologist to see how your habits might affect your overall health. Smoking is a major contributor to contracting some form of cardiovascular disease; people who smoke or are exposed to it are 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease.
5. You have diabetes
There is a strong correlation between diabetes and cardiac disease. Adults with diabetes are about twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to those without the condition. If you have diabetes, though, it is not a death sentence. This is one of the easiest chronic conditions to get under control and can be regulated through diet and exercise.
If your primary care has referred you to a cardiologist, they may have seen something in your physical exam that warrants a second look by a specialist. Your lifestyle, health history, and other circumstances might also be contributors to whether or not you are at risk for disease.
If you want to take better control of your health, contact a heart health specialist today. For cardiopulmonary doctors in New Jersey, get in touch with us today – we’re happy to help!