What Is Sports Cardiology?
Sports cardiology is a specific branch of cardiology. It safeguards the cardiovascular health of sportsmen and other people who want to lean an active lifestyle but who suffered from cardiovascular diseases in the past or who had undiagnosed cardiovascular problems. This cardiology realm involves multiple aspects of cardiology including electrophysiology, exercise physiology, cardiac imaging, and structural heart disease.
Any highly professional sports cardiology pattern has to engage the competent and experienced physicians who are acutely aware of the mentioned realms. Also, the team of sports cardiology doctors has to be comprised of the medical specialists highly competent in pediatric heart, congenital heart disease, inherited diseases. There should be also electrophysiologists, cardiovascular imagers, heart failure specialists, and exercise physiologists. All these medical experts have to cooperate and share own experience to evaluate the state of heart health in sportsmen as well as provide the athletes with professional advice on how to exercise safely and not to put own life into jeopardy.
The sports cardiologists also seek for the assistance of athletic coaches, trainers, and even family members of the sportsmen. This is required in order to guarantee the truly effective multi-faceted approach to the sportsmen’s health care.
What Do Sports Cardiologists Do?
The major tasks of sports cardiologists are as follows:
- Precise study of sportsman’s medical history
- In-depth study of sportsman’s sports history
- Assessment of sportsman’s symptoms
- Physical exam of the cardiovascular system
- Electrocardiogram testing
- Diagnostic cardiac tests including cardiopulmonary exercises tests and the others
- Specific laboratory testing
- Athletic nutrition recommendations including advising on the intake of high-quality testosterone boosters
- Appraisal of sports medications and reasonability of their use
- Adequate physical therapy
- Exercise recommendations to maintain proper athletic activities and enhance sports performance
- Recommendations to visit the other medical experts in case that sports cardiologist can’t help a sportsman solely
- Development of the appropriate treatment approach, enabling a sportsman to continue sports activities without a risk to the health
What Is Cardiology?
Cardiology is an internal medicine field that specializes in the diagnostic, management, and treatment of the diseases, affecting heart and blood vessels. Among the others, it focuses on preventing and curing valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure, congenital heart defects, and electrophysiology.
While cardiology itself is a medical specialty, it has several distinctive subspecialties such as echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, and sports cardiology. The latter one is at the same time a part of sports medicine.
People who have cardiovascular issues have to consult a cardiologist. It’s worth noting that a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon are two different doctors. A cardiac surgeon specializes in performing surgical procedures inside the chest, while a cardiologist treats the patients without a surgical invasion.
When a Patient Should See a Cardiologist?
First of all, if any person has an ailment, this person should visit a family physician. This medical specialist will appraise a patient’s complaints. If these complaints indicate the symptoms of a cardiovascular disease, a physician will recommend a patient to visit a cardiologist.
A patient has to seek for a cardiologist’s aid when having the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart rate or rhythm abnormalities
- Constant fatigue
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Obesity even provided that a patient takes fat burners and tries to lose weight
A cardiologist performs special tests for determining an abnormal heart rhythm and a heart murmur. These doctors also use many other tests to find out how the heart and the whole cardiovascular system function and what treatment strategy is needed.
The cardiologists work with the patients who have experienced heart failure, heart attack, or any other cardiovascular medical conditions. These doctors assist in deciding whether angioplasty, heart catheterization, stenting, and heart surgery are a reasonable solution in each particular case.
The cardiologists are responsible for the treatment in the following cases:
- Atherosclerotic vascular disease
- Ischemic heart disorder
- Congenital heart lesion
- Congestive heart failure
- Ciliary arrhythmia
- Irregular heartbeat
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Abnormal blood cholesterol levels
- Abnormal triglyceride levels
The cardiologists not only treat these diseases when they have already affected a person. Thus, one of the most crucial tasks of any cardiologist is to help people timely take preventive measures in order not to develop any heart medical condition.
Any individual can consult a cardiologist even provided that there are no signs of cardiovascular diseases but there is a family history of such diseases. People with diabetes and high cholesterol levels as well as people who are smoking should also see a cardiologist.
Role of Palliative Care in Cardiology
There is a tendency for the population aging in the U.S. while the medicine technologies, diagnostic, and treatment methods develop in leaps and bounds. And cardiology is not an exception. This particularly refers to the older people with advanced heart failure. These people now can prolong their life duration like never in the past due to the emergence of the innovative treatment techniques in cardiology.
Longevity in the elderly heart failure sufferers is closely related to the necessity of frequent stay in hospitals and the overload with different cardiovascular symptoms, which are typically very complicated for the proper management.
The cardiologists take the undisputed lead in treating acute heart failure aggravation. However, the elderly people suffering from heart failure are the difficult to manage patients who require the development and implementation of multi-faceted and multidisciplinary strategy not only to the physical treatment but also to psychological aspects of work with such patients.
The older patients are an extremely oversensitive and easily offended group of patients. That’s why the treatment of elderly people with heart failure demands the engagement of palliative care. If the palliative care is involved at the early stage of treatment of cardiac older patients, this promotes a considerable improvement of the elderly’s quality of life and relieves the manifestation of heart failure.
And if the disease prognosis is unfavorable, it’s also crucial to integrate end-of-life care into the management of older patients. This type of care is very helpful for both the elderly patients and their family members.
Symptoms of Cardiovascular Diseases
Different types of cardiovascular diseases may have their own symptoms which actually distinguish these diseases one from another. But there is a range of most common symptoms which mean you should visit your healthcare provider without a delay:
- Enormous tiredness and exhaustion
- Frequent lightheadedness and dizziness
- Racing heart exceeding 100 beats per minute
- Heartbeat irregularity
- Chest discomfort, pressures, and pain
- Troubled breathing and labored breathing regardless of availability of physical activity
- Cough or respiratory infection that aggravates
- Confusion and excitement
- Troubled sleeping
- Decrease in appetite
- Cold sweats
- Discomfort and pain in jaw, elbows, arms, back, and left shoulders
The mentioned symptoms may mimic the signs of other diseases. Only the doctor can determine what exactly disease they indicate.
The situation with cardiovascular health may be exacerbated if the patient has overweight or obesity. Though the intake of OTC appetite suppressants is beneficial, the unsolved problem of excessive weight contributes to the quicker development of cardiovascular diseases.
In this case, the use of carb blockers and other natural remedies as a part of body weight management can be used for relieving the cardiovascular symptoms.
Major Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Diseases
It’s possible to distinguish the following major risk factors contributing to the development of cardiovascular diseases:
- Hypertension: When a person constantly suffers from high blood pressure, the risk of becoming a victim of heart disease, stroke, or heart attack substantially grows. If you have problems with your blood pressure, you have to consult a doctor to determine the ways of lowering the blood pressure down and keeping it under control.
- High cholesterol levels: Excessive blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, also called bad cholesterol, contributes to the formation of dangerous cholesterol plaques inside the arteries throughout the body. This is how atherosclerosis starts. When the arteries are clogged with cholesterol buildups, a heart attack may happen.
- Diabetes: Cardiovascular diseases take the lead among the death causes in diabetics, especially those ones suffering from type 2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases lead to death in 65% of diabetics. Proper management of blood sugar levels lowers the risk of life-threatening cardiovascular diseases.
- Overweight and obesity: Excessive body weight which uncontrollably grows provokes the emergence of diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and hypertension. They in their turn provoke different heart diseases. The intake of advanced OTC diet pills and other weight management methods can improve the situation.
- Smoking: Tobacco smoking has a very aggressive impact on the health of heart and blood vessels. Smoking abnormally accelerates heart rate, may cause coronary artery spasm, increases blood pressure, and makes heartbeats irregular. These effects complicate the work of cardiovascular system and hence cause cardiovascular issues of varying severity.
- Lack of physical activity: It’s a scientifically proven fact that physically inactive people face a higher probability of being affected with heart attack comparing to people who are physically active. Moderate-intensity exercises promote artery flexibility, regulate cholesterol levels, normalize blood pressure, and keep body weight under control. In such a way, the risk of cardiovascular diseases lowers.
- Gender: Men are generally more predisposed to heart attack than women. However, the heart attack risk almost equalizes when women start experiencing menopause. Regardless of gender, people after 65 years old deal with the same risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Heredity: Heart diseases can be hereditary. The likelihood to develop a cardiovascular disease raises in people with family history of such diseases. Thus, the availability of a parent or a sibling who were the cardiovascular disease sufferers before reaching 55 puts your heart health into jeopardy.
Contributing Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Diseases
The contributing risk factors are not the most important ones but still can make you a cardiovascular patient as well:
- Stress: This factor raises adrenaline levels, elevates blood pressure, lowers heart oxygenation, and damage the arteries’ lining. This is how ischemia, angina, clots, and heart attacks emerge.
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol drinking contributes to the hypertension, cardiomyopathy, irregular heartbeats, and stroke.
- Sex hormones: Dramatic changes in sex hormone levels in menopausal years makes the risk of cardiovascular diseases drastically upsurge in women.
- Birth control pills: These pills can raise the probability of blood clots and other heart diseases in women who are over 35 years old.
Cardiovascular Diseases and Type 2 Diabetes
The latest scientific evidence has indicated that the type 2 diabetes patients are greatly susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. Type 2 diabetes, mainly in people who are in the middle age, is linked to a doubled risk of a heart disease in general and a stroke in particular comparing for non-diabetics.
The adult diabetes patients are prone to heart attacks being young. These people also run a high risk of repeat heart attacks provided that these patients suffer from insulin resistance or their blood glucose is substantially increased.
This happens because there is the interrelation between the normal functioning of cardiovascular system and glucose concentration in the body.
If enormously elevated blood glucose levels are left unaddressed, the probability of plaque formation in the blood vessels dramatically grows. These plaques emerge on the blood vessel walls. They can decrease or even completely cease the blood supply to the heart causing the life-threatening complications.
The diagnosis of diabetes requires the accurate regulation of blood sugar. For this purpose, it’s necessary to strictly stick to a special nutrition plan which has to contain much fiber but include a very limited amount of simple carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. It’s also important to keep the body weight under control by practicing moderate physical activity and taking OTC HGH supplements. This is how you will decrease the probability of cardiovascular diseases.
Depression and Cardiovascular Diseases
There are the clinical trials which indicated that the depression sufferers run a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases as opposed to healthy people.
Depression contributes to the development of some abnormal processes which raise the likelihood of heart diseases and heart attack. Constant stress and negative feelings provoke hypertension, which causes cardiovascular conditions in the long run.
Depression also serves as a trigger that makes C-reactive protein (CRP) grow. The elevation of CRP levels means the beginning of inflammatory process and is associated with the risk of heart disease.
The depressive mood may be also linked to the decreased physical activity. The less physically active you are the higher the probability of cardiovascular diseases raises. That’s why you should seek for the medical aid if you think you have depression before it turns into heart disease and other health issues.
Types of Cardiology
The cardiologist may rely on different types of cardiology which use different cardiology techniques for the most effective treatment of cardiovascular diseases. It’s possible to distinguish three major types of cardiology.
Invasive cardiology is based on the utilization of open surgery or minimally-invasive surgery for determining and curing structural heart diseases and heart’s electrical system defects.
The major types of invasive cardiology are as follows:
- Angioplasty: This procedure implies putting a tiny thin tube into a clogged artery in order to widen it and restore adequate blood flow through it.
- Stenting: This procedure typically accompanies angioplasty. The task of a cardiac stent is to keep a blocked vein wide enough to make blood flow unrestricted.
Non-invasive cardiology detects the availability of cardiovascular diseases without the application of any surgical methods and techniques. These techniques are as follows:
- Nuclear cardiology: These radioactive material-based tests use imaging to research cardiovascular diseases.
- Echocardiography: The ultrasound wave images help detect heart pumping issues, structural defects, and infections.
- Cardiac electrophysiology: The use of electrical currents enables the doctors find out heartbeat problems.
- Stress tests: It implies the cardiologist-controlled exercising to determine how the heart functions under physical load.
- CT scans: This method is helpful for diagnosing atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.
Interventional cardiology applies a catheter-based treatment of cardiovascular disorders. This method is effective for fixing the issues with impaired blood vessels, blocked arteries, and other heart structure defects.
Interventional cardiology specializes in treating the following cardiovascular diseases:
- Coronary artery disease: This condition is a drastic decrease in blood supply to the heart muscle due to the narrowed arteries responsible for the heart muscle oxygenation and blood delivery.
- Heart valve disease: It develops if the valves regulating blood supply to the heart’s chambers can’t perform their function properly.
- Peripheral vascular disease: It is a blood circulation disease which substantially worsens the heart work due to clogging and hardening of the arteries and veins outside the heart.