Meet Your Cardiac Care Team, Taking the Fight to Heart Disease in Our Community
Every minute of every day, someone in America dies from heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. At Main Street Hospital, we’re not taking that news lying down. We’ve assembled a team of medical experts who provide a comprehensive range of services to help you and your family prevent, detect, treat and recover from heart disease.
Your Primary Care Physician
Your primary care physician (PCP) is your first line of defense in the fight against heart disease. An annual physical exam with your PCP is one of the best ways to detect heart disease early, when treatment is usually more successful. During the exam, your doctor will check your four critical heart-health numbers: cholesterol level, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and your resting heart rate. Your PCP will also be familiar with your medical history, your family’s medical history and your risk factors. He or she will ask if you smoke, if you exercise regularly, and how healthy your diet is. With that knowledge, your PCP can advise you about making a few simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference in lowering your risk for heart disease.
Other tests, such as an electrocardiogram or a stress test, may be required if your PCP believes you have a higher risk of heart disease. In some cases, you may be referred to a radiologist. If heart disease is detected, your PCP often serves as your care coordinator, responsible for the day-to-day management of your treatment, monitoring your symptoms and managing your prescriptions.
Your radiologist specializes in using diagnostic imaging to detect disease. A variety of technologies—including X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, PET Scan and nuclear medicine—are used to screen for diseases of the heart and blood vessels. If heart disease is found and determined to be serious, you’ll usually be referred to another member of your cardiac care team, a cardiologist.
A cardiologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of problems with the heart and arteries. In some cases, your cardiologist can serve as your primary point of contact for treating and managing your heart disease.
Some cardiologists have more specialized training. An interventional cardiologist is trained in the techniques of cardiac catheterization, performing procedures such as angioplasty and stent placement.
Your Cardiac Rehab Team
Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program that provides the resources, training and education that people with heart problems need to improve their health. A team of cardiologists, dieticians, exercise therapists, physical therapists and nurse specialists work together to create a customized program of care based on your health and goals. The program includes a medical evaluation, exercise training, and counseling and guidance on living a more heart-healthy life.
Cardiac rehab has a proven track record of success. For example, people who undergo cardiac rehab after a heart attack have a 50 percent greater survival rate after three years compared to people who do not. Unfortunately, only about half of heart attack victims participate fully in a cardiac rehab program.