Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, accounts for the highest cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Annually, about one in three Americans die of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Luckily, it's possible to prevent heart disease by decreasing exposure to risk factors. One way to manage your risk factors is to undergo preventive cardiology treatment, which helps detect signs and symptoms early.
What Is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease refers to problems that occur with your heart or blood vessels and affect your heart's ability to function and pump blood throughout your body. Heart disease risk factors—including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being a smoker, being overweight, having diabetes, and physical inactivity—can increase the likelihood of having an initial or recurrent cardiovascular event. Without the right treatment, these risk factors can result in vascular problems that can become life-threatening.
What Is Preventive Cardiology?
According to the American Society for Preventive Cardiology (ASPC), preventive cardiology is a division of cardiovascular medicine that helps patients better manage their risk factors and avoid future cardiovascular disorders. There are ample clinical, research, counseling, and educational programs aimed at decreasing death and disability.
A preventive cardiology program can provide you with the tools to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. These tools will depend on where your current cardiovascular health stands, such as whether you want to minimize your risks by learning to avoid bad habits, control symptoms that are starting to show, or, if you've already experienced a cardiovascular event, prevent another event from occurring. The evaluation and treatment therapies associated with preventive cardiology are intended to prevent heart disease risk factors from progressing into disorders like coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart valve disease, vascular disease, and more.
How Does Preventive Cardiology Work?
When being proactive about heart health management, a cardiologist will evaluate your risk factors through a comprehensive cardiovascular disease risk assessment. Through a preventive heart care team, which may include physicians, nurses, clinical physical therapists, dietitians, psychologists, and clinical support staff, an individualized plan will be created for you with detailed lifestyle recommendations and medication management.
Preventive cardiology incorporates services like nutritional services, prescriptive exercise programs, exercise stress testing, cardiovascular disease risk-reduction programs, smoking cessation programs, stress management tools, and cardiac rehabilitation programs. Educational and research programs are offered to help combat early cardiovascular disease via prevention.
Is Preventive Cardiology Right for You?
Whether you have several risk factors that raise your odds of having a heart attack or you've already suffered from cardiovascular disease in the past, preventive cardiology can improve your quality of life by lowering or eliminating existing symptoms and preventing future cardiovascular issues. It can help you prevent heart disease, keep the disease from progressing, and reduce heart attack and stroke risk, so it's a worthwhile consideration if you're worried about heart disease.
If you're at risk for cardiovascular disease, making healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent heart-related problems and diseases, and improve your overall heart health. Ask your doctor if preventive cardiology is the right move to help improve your health and prevent future heart problems.