When to See a Cardiologist

Visiting your general practitioner on a regular basis is an essential aspect of staying healthy, but there are also times that you need to see a cardiologist. Your health history, genetic factors, and the severity and complexity of your symptoms will determine whether you should see a heart specialist. If you have significant risk factors including immediate family members with heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol readings, you should see a heart specialist who will determine if you need ongoing care.

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1. Family History

A strong family history with heart disease may require that you see a heart doctor for an evaluation or low-level tests to determine your heart function. If the test results return normal, we may recommend that your primary care physician regularly monitor your heart. If the test results show problems, further testing may result in longer-term cardiology care.

2. Chest pain or discomfort (angina)

Pain could indicate the arteries that provide blood to the heart or narrowed. Coronary artery disease is a condition that involves the blockage of an artery and restricts the heart muscles from getting enough blood and oxygen. The most pressing concern would be sudden-death for those individuals who had heart attacks or heart damage in the past. It’s crucial for you to see a specialist before additional damage or blockages are experienced.

3. Arrhythmias

Rhythm disturbances including palpitations and missed heartbeats indicate the need to see a cardiologist for further testing.

4. Angina

Angina primarily starts the chest and radiates down the left arm, but can also cause discomfort in the chest, across the shoulders, in both the left and right arms, in the upper back in the throat, neck or jaw.

Symptoms of Angina:

Sensation of Fullness
Numbness and Tingling
Dizziness or Sweating
Squeezing or Tightness

If you are experiencing these symptoms, stop your activity, sit down and relax. Get to the emergency room or call 911 if the symptoms worsen or last longer than 15 minutes. Do not drive yourself! If you don’t feel that the symptoms are urgent, contact your physician for a routine visit and contact a heart care specialist for further testing.

5. Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath could indicate valve issues or congestive heart failure.

6. Heart Attack or Cardiac Event

Emergency treatment is needed and should be followed by further testing and ongoing monitoring with a heart specialist.

Heart Attack Warning Signs:

Intense Squeezing or Chest Pain (lasting more than a few minutes)
Nausea or Vomiting
Excessive Sweating
Short of Breath
Extreme Weakness
Rapid Heartbeat

If you have any the symptoms and believe you are having a heart attack, call 911 and get to the emergency room right away.

Cardiology Expertise near You

Families come from miles around Dickson, Tennessee visit the Vascular Institute of Dickson because we are a leader in comprehensive heart care in the region. We deliver outstanding services to each patient including testing and interventional cardiology.

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