when to see a cardiologist? – CMIO- Brazil)

In Brazil, cardiovascular diseases represent the main causes of death. According to the Ministry of Health, per year, about 300,000 people suffer Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), popularly known as a heart attack. Of these, 30% are fatal victims, so it is natural for individuals to be concerned about their heart health and wonder when it is time to seek specialized help.

Genetic factors contribute to this scenario, but unhealthy habits are responsible for most of the injuries. Simple routine changes can improve quality of life. MS spoke with the director general of the National Institute of Cardiology (INC/MS), cardiologist Carlos Scherr, to clarify the main doubts on how to maintain a healthy heart.

  • When should we see a cardiologist?

People who have a family history, who already have a disorder like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, who are overweight and who are smokers. These people should see a cardiologist because they are considered a risk group.

In addition, every time you have a suspicious symptom of chest pain or shortness of breath, it is worth ruling out the cardiac origin, especially if the person is part of this risk group.

  • How should a person act on a daily basis to maintain a healthy heart?

Maintaining weight, doing regular physical activity, not smoking, not consuming alcohol in excess, having an adequate night’s sleep, avoiding processed or ultra-processed foods, avoiding excess salt and excess sugar. Besides having a life with less anxiety.

  • When should a person start doing some kind of assessment, the first checkup?

It depends on the disease she has and her family history. If the person has in the family individuals with heart disease at a young age, men under 55 years old and women under 65 years old, they should seek treatment earlier. Generally speaking, men over 40 and women over 50 should have a checkup.

  • What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?

Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high cholesterol, not sleeping properly or living in places with a lot of air pollution.

  • What signs should be observed when something does not go well?

If you start to feel more tired than you used to do the same things, if when you make some effort you have a symptom of pain in the chest that you didn’t have before, or when there are changes in pressure, symptoms of dizziness, fainting or lack of of air.

  • They talk a lot about the benefits that alcohol (eg wine) can bring to the heart, what are they?

In fact, excessive alcohol consumption will be harmful to the heart, it can even determine a disease in the heart muscle, where the heart loses the strength of contraction, called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Some people are even more sensitive to alcohol and this can cause cardiac arrhythmias. There are numerous studies showing that consumption, especially wine, in moderation, could bring benefits, increasing the good fraction of cholesterol, but this is part of the Mediterranean diet, which would be the best diet to adopt from a cardiovascular point of view.

  • Is red meat bad for the heart?

If it’s excessive, yes. If it is consumed 2 to 3 times a week at the most, it will not cause great harm, but if it is consumed every day, at lunch and dinner or if the person only eats red meat or fatty meats, it will be harmful. Consumption is not prohibited, as long as it is limited.

  • What are the main heart diseases and how do they develop?

The congenital, which are diseases that children are born with a malformation in the heart. And there are diseases that are acquired, such as disease of the valves, coronary arteries, heart muscle, heart rhythm. They can develop due to bad lifestyle habits, such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and even diseases of family origin.

Karol Ribeiro
Ministry of Health

Official content – Fact Check – Verified