MANKATO, Minn. — As people age, many start to experience more aches and pains throughout their bodies. While many symptoms can be chalked up to the natural aging process, it's important to pay special attention to the cardiovascular system.
"Heart Month is a great time of year to remind people that not all symptoms are created equal when it comes to our cardiovascular health," says Vinayak Nagaraja, M.B.B.S., interventional cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Health System. "If you have any concerns about symptoms you may be experiencing, it's always a good idea to meet with your primary care provider to determine if you should be referred to a cardiologist."
So what are some warning signs for underlying problems? Symptoms that suggest you may need a referral to a cardiologist include:
A cardiologist will evaluate your symptoms, review your medical history and may recommend diagnostic tests to appropriately diagnose the cause of your symptoms. The cardiologist also will help your healthcare team evaluate the best form of treatment for you.
Your individualized treatment plan could include:
If your cardiologist decides that you need cardiac surgery, you may be referred to a cardiovascular surgeon who specializes in operations on the heart, lungs and blood vessels. After you recover from the surgery, you will be sent back to your cardiologist for long-term monitoring and care.
"It may seem daunting to think about being diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition that requires surgical intervention, but discovering and treating the issue early can save your life," says Dr. Nagaraja.
Mayo Clinic Health System has a physical presence in 44 communities and consists of 53 clinics, 16 hospitals and other facilities that serve the healthcare needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based healthcare professionals, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality physical and virtual healthcare close to home.
Amanda Dyslin, Mayo Clinic Health System Communications Department, firstname.lastname@example.org