Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of things on your to-do list? In the fast-paced and sometimes hectic world that we live in, it’s easy to let important things fall to the wayside when other seemingly more pressing things arise. However, in the midst of the busyness of life, there are certain things that you really must prioritize, and one of those is your health. Without your health, many things in life that feel essential fall away.
As cardiologists, we often see patients in failing heart health for this exact reason. Maybe they weren’t feeling their best, but they hadn’t hit rock bottom yet. For many people, visiting your cardiologist should be routine in the same way that getting your oil changed is.
Why Routine Matters
The best way to keep up with your heart health is to schedule it into your calendar. Make appointments in advance and book the rest of your life around them. Rarely do heart conditions pop up out of nowhere. It’s more likely that your health changes over time and, with regular checks, can be monitored and treated before it becomes problematic. Maintaining a routine with your cardiologist is key to ensuring that you track and treat your evolving health over time.
When Do I Start?
There is no particular age or time when one must begin seeing a cardiologist regularly, though age is often a factor in a patient’s ailing cardiovascular health. But there are some signs that you should look for to determine whether or not it’s time for you to see care. First and foremost, if you were experiencing any adverse symptoms like chest pains, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or if you’ve been referred to a cardiologist by your primary care doctor these are clear signs that a visit to check your heart health is necessary. Some other signs that you might want to look for are a family history of cardiovascular issues and any lifestyle choices you make that may put your health at risk. For instance, if you’re a smoker, drink excessively, or eat an unhealthy diet, you may be putting stress on your cardiovascular system. When a person should start seeing a cardiologist, is entirely individual to that person if you feel like it is the right time for you, we urge you to trust that instinct.
How Often Do I See My Cardiologist?
The frequency of visits is one of the details that vary between patients. If you were actively in heart failure, your cardiologist might want to see you on a very regular basis. Similarly, if you’ve undergone a recent procedure or have had a recent heart attack, you might need to follow a specific protocol with your cardiologist. We urge you to follow the strict instructions of your doctor in these cases. If you are a regular patient who is just monitoring and maintaining your heart health, it may be likely that you only need to go in to see your cardiologist every six months to a year. This is a difficult question for us to answer without knowing your particular case, which is why it’s so important to be in an ongoing relationship with a cardiologist.
Tips For Preventative Cardiovascular Care
Regardless of where you land on the spectrum of existing heart health, there are a number of things that you can do to move toward a healthier lifestyle. So much depends upon the things you eat and the way you use your body. To maintain heart health, it’s essential to carefully select the food and drink that will help move you in that direction. Fresh whole foods, plenty of water, little to no alcohol, and moderate sugar intake are parts of a heart-healthy diet.
Your body is like an engine. When your car engine sits around in your driveway for years at a time, it doesn’t work as well. The same is true of your body. It’s essential to get up and move your body to the extent that you can or is deemed safe by your cardiologist. We find that many patients are intimidated by exercise because they imagine setting lofty goals like running marathons or climbing mountains. But for many people walking around the block or swimming around the pool are some of the best exercise options available. The goal of regular exercise is that it gets your heart pumping, and whatever it takes to do that will be beneficial to your health.
Finally, it’s important to consider the amount of stress you’re putting on your body’s engine. If you are a chronically stressed, underslept, and overworked person your heart will feel the effects of that. Take some time to evaluate your lifestyle and determine what needs to change to maintain a heart-healthy life.
In many ways, your heart health is in your own hands, and we find that many patients are dreadfully uninformed about that fact. This is one of many reasons why it’s so vital for you to have an ongoing relationship with your cardiologist. When you come and see us regularly, we can help you set dietary and exercise goals, monitor your medication, and partner with you to get you on the road to heart health.
If you are not already seeing a cardiologist regularly and think you need to be, we urge you to call our office. The best offense is a good defense, and in the case of cardiology, that means having a solid team on your side to protect your heart.