Routine Check-Ups and Heart Health
From implementing a diet with healthy recipe options to making physical activity a part of your routine, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to prioritize heart health at home. Even with a firm commitment to a heart healthy lifestyle, though, routine check-ups with a cardiologist are essential for limiting risks and combating heart disease.
“The first stage is self-recognition that I have a problem, I’m not sure what it is and I need to get it checked out,” said CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs cardiologist Dr. Nazneen Tata. “From there, we decide with the patient when they need to follow up. Generally speaking, you’re looking at somewhere between six months and 12 months for a regular check up and as needed in between.”
Think of the relationship between a cardiologist and patient as similar to the relationship between a professor and college student. Even as the student puts in their own time with studying and homework, the professor always remains to provide guidance and help the student understand the reason behind their work.
“If we can break down why we recommend things to patients and help them understand what is happening to their bodies, I think it’s such an important aspect of the relationship,” said Dr. Tata. “When someone understands what they need to do and why, that’s when we see success.”
With the stress of work, school, family or relationships, sticking to a healthy lifestyle can prove challenging for many people, often resulting in negative consequences for the heart. For many patients, routine check-ups with a cardiologist can provide a wake-up call for the need to prioritize heart health and limit risk factors for heart disease.
“We all make mistakes whether it’s our health choices or how we take care of ourselves but once patients recognize that we’re trying to give them quality of life, I’ve seen people turn around their lives,” Dr. Tata said. “People quit smoking, they start exercising, they see a counselor for stress management and they start educating other family members and loved ones about symptoms.”
Whether it’s anxiety about a potential diagnosis or shame from failure to stick to a healthy lifestyle, fear often prevents patients from receiving the care they need. While it’s no secret that heart disease is frightening, the journey can be much less daunting with a cardiologist by your side.
“One of our biggest messages to everybody out there is don’t be afraid to come in and get help,” said Dr. Tata. “We see a lot of people sit on symptoms and hope for the best because they’re afraid to come into the hospital or clinic. Whether it’s your health or anything else, having that hindsight where you wish you would have come in sooner is one of the worst things.”
As part of the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, Dr. Tata and the team of cardiologists and heart surgeons at the CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs Heart Center provide the diversity of expertise necessary to treat each patient’s specific condition. To learn more about the importance of routine check-ups and our wide range of heart services available across the state, visit: chistvincent.com/heart