Patient Education – Heart Care

Looking for information about the diagnosis, management, and treatment of cardiovascular disease? There is an abundance of health-related websites containing information about cardiovascular disease and its treatment, but few offer information that’s accurate and up-to-date. To ensure that the information you encounter online is reliable and to steer you away from questionable sources of information, we’ve compiled a list of trusted resources below:

American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiology has a website serving as an important educational resource.

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association’s website provides a comprehensive overview of heart disease, risk factors, diagnostic testing, and treatment options. It also provides heart disease prevention guidelines that focus both on real-world recommendations and clinical research.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic’s website offers patient information about diseases, conditions, drugs, supplements, tests, and procedures. The site also features a symptom checker and provides healthy living recommendations.

My Life Check

My Life Check is a tool developed by the American Heart Association that looks at your personal heart score and life plan.

Seconds Count

Seconds Count is an informational website run by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). The site provides detailed information about cardiovascular health, cardiovascular disease, and coronary intervention.

Why is it Important for People with Diabetes to See a Cardiologist?

Diabetes is a prevalent chronic health condition affecting millions of adults. It may directly affect the body's production and use of insulin and glucose, but, indirectly, diabetes also affects the heart. According to research, the risk of death from cardiovascular causes is quadrupled for people with Type 2 diabetes. This is why, when a doctor diagnoses Type 2 diabetes, they may recommend a consultation with a cardiologist. This consultation can be immensely valuable even if your heart health is currently "fine", meaning you don't have noticeable symptoms of heart disease.

When you see a cardiologist before heart symptoms arise, you're taking the opportunity to be proactive about your long-term health. Managing your blood sugar levels is one step you must take to lower heart disease risks, but you can do more. In addition to having a greater risk of blood vessel damage, people with diabetes are much more likely than nondiabetics to have fatty deposits in the walls of their arteries. Coupled with the increased risk of blood vessel stiffening, these fatty deposits can accelerate the onset and worsening of coronary artery disease.

Heart disease prevention is vitally important for people with diabetes for many reasons. One, according to studies, is that a person with this condition is not likely to recover from a heart attack as well as a person with normal, regulated blood sugar. There are also greater risks associated with a heart attack, such as heart failure.

I'm a Very Active Person. Do I Still Need to Know about Heart Disease?

Regardless of your activity level, you need to know about heart disease. The idea that active people, athletes even, are healthier than less active people is not uncommon. That doesn't make it true. As a former competitive athlete and team physician, Dr. Stevens understands that even professional-level players are not without cardiac risks. Active people can still have a heart attack or develop potentially serious heart conditions. These include hypertension, the most common, atrial fibrillation or other irregular heartbeats, and coronary artery disease. Activity level and healthy lifestyle also do not overcome congenital heart defects, which may not make themselves known until adulthood.

Along with your healthy activity level, your diet and family history should be addressed as you seek to secure optimal heart health throughout your lifetime.

What Can I Do to Lower My Risk of Heart Disease?

Some factors that put you at risk for heart disease can't be eliminated. Fortunately, most factors that create cardiac risks are lifestyle related and can be lowered. To protect your heart, you can begin by exploring what is included in a heart-healthy diet. In general, heart health is promoted by an abundance of fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fat. Trading processed, packaged, and fast-food items for fresh produce and lean meats is also a good preventive measure for a stronger, healthier heart. Your primary doctor or nutritionist may have specific tips for what to eat and what not to eat to reduce your risk of heart disease.

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