Medically Reviewed by Robert H. Messier, Jr., MD, PhD
“Heart disease is part of growing older,” says McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Robert Messier, MD. “Many people ignore the signs, because we don’t want to face growing older. Yet, the signs of heart disease indicate a need to seek help immediately.”
In males, the sign is often pain on the left side or in the central portion of the chest that will radiate up into the jaw or down the left arm. Many times, females have atypical symptoms. They might mistake it as gallbladder disease, indigestion or heartburn. Interestingly, diabetics often won’t get chest pain. They will get shortness of breath or fatigue easily. If those symptoms are occurring, you probably should see your family practitioner or cardiologist.
There are people that say, ‘Look I’ve done everything right. I take my cholesterol medication. My blood pressure is good.’
Yet, they can still develop heart disease. You’re not immune to heart disease just because you don’t have risk factors, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and a family history of heart problems.
PATIENTS MUST DO THEIR PART
While advances have been made in the treatment of heart disease, a 2016 study had what the American College of Cardiology called ‘very disheartening news.’ According to the study, despite a better understanding of cardiovascular risk factors and an increasing focus on preventive cardiology, patients suffering heart attacks are getting younger and more obese. The report states that the number of heart attack victims who smoke, suffer high blood pressure and diabetes are all increasing.
Only patients, who take better care of their health and lifestyle, can reverse these trends.
A cardiologist can tell you if you have heart problems and whether you may need a procedure by a cardiothoracic surgeon. Find a Cardiologist near you.