As of March 21, spring is in the air. On top of taking advantage of the warmer weather and additional daylight, people like to clean. People clean their cars, yards, floors, gutters, closets – you name it. But this year, why don’t you make it a goal to spring clean your arteries, your heart, and overall health? Consider making a routine appointment with a primary care physician, and a cardiologist if you experience discomfort or any symptoms associated with heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 51% of all physician visits are to primary care physicians. These are the physicians typically associated with annual checkups, meaning there is a significant number of Americans not seeing them each year.
Many people wonder if there is an appropriate age to start seeing a cardiologist, but there is no one-size-fits-all guideline. Turning 50 or 60 doesn’t automatically mean you should schedule a visit. When to see a cardiologist is less about age and more about comfort, wellness, and medical history. Reasons to consider visiting a cardiologist may include heart or chest pain, or your physician may recommend it based on high blood pressure or cholesterol, or your family medical history.
If you do see a cardiologist, you’ll of course want to let them do their job. But what can you ask them to get the most out of your time together? Especially if it’s your first visit, you may want to ask some of the following:
- What symptoms should I be wary of?
- For my age, what is my ideal weight and waist circumference?
- What should my cholesterol and blood pressure be?
- Are there activities or exercises I should do more or less?
- Are there any other steps I can take to ensure optimal heart health?
Annual visits to a primary care physician may not lead to cardiologist visits, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.