As early as the 5th or 6th century BC, Alcmaeon of Croton believed that the brain was the source of intelligence. This view was later refuted by the Greek philosopher and teacher to Alexander the Great, Aristotle, who believed that the heart was the source of knowledge as early as the 4th century BC. As time went on we learned more about our bodies: although psychology is still in its infancy, cardiology has made a number of advances to help keep hearts beating and patients healthy. Here are some facts to guide patients and help them find a local heart specialist in their area.
The Danger of Cardiovascular Issues
The cardiovascular system is responsible for circulating blood, and thereby oxygen, to the rest of the body. Due to the significant role of the heart, there are a number of cardiovascular issues that could jeopardize heart health. Every year 610,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year, making it one of the most common reasons for death in the nation; to put this in perspective one out of every four deaths are attributed to heart disease.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone could be at risk for a heart attack or for developing heart disease, but those with poor habits could be at an increased risk. High cholesterol, smoking, excessive drinking, a lack of exercise, and obesity can all put Americans at an increased risk for heart disease. Those with high blood pressure and high sodium intakes are also at an increased risk; cardiologists recommend consuming no more than 2,400 mg of sodium per day, although 1,500 mg is more ideal. A majority of the population has one or more of these risk factors, making the need to schedule a consultation with an expert that much more pressing.
What to Look for in a Heart Specialist?
Every specialist is different, even within something as specialized as cardiology. Like any medical field, there are different approaches and treatment options that cardiologists can use. A cardiac surgeon for instance specializes in heart and blood vessel surgery to repair the damage caused by cardiovascular conditions. Your needs are different — take the time to research what kind of treatment options are best for you and plan a consultation accordingly to ensure that you are receiving the best medical attention you can find in your area.