27 Jan Healthy Heart Maintenance with Your Primary Care Provider
Heart care is a team effort. Seeing your primary care provider for heart care maintenance is often the best way to keep up on heart health.
Did you know your primary care provider is equipped to manage your basic heart care?
When it comes to hypertension, arrhythmias, palpitations, blood pressure and other heart-related health issues, primary care providers are both knowledgeable and experienced. In fact, on a day-to-day basis, heart health is one of the main issues they monitor in their patients.
If you have high blood pressure or a family history of heart-related medical issues, you might assume your first connection should be with a cardiologist. But your primary care provider is well-equipped to manage your heart care, including monitoring your blood pressure, prescribing the right medications and working with you on preventive care.
“Many patients are dealing with high blood pressure or cholesterol, benign palpitations, arrhythmias, those sorts of conditions, and assume they have active cardiac issues that require a cardiologist,” said Dr. Kara Urnes, cardiologist and Olympic Medical Heart Center medical director. “However, those are really the purview of primary care.”
And with a shortage of cardiologists not only on the Olympic Peninsula, but nationwide, the ability of a primary care provider to give knowledgeable preventative and maintenance heart care is good news.
Currently, Olympic Medical Physicians has moved to this practice model, with the goal of improving access to cardiologists for urgent consultations, high-level patient management and the procedural work of stress testing and imaging.
So when should you see a cardiologist?
For patients with active, ongoing cardiac issues, such as a recent heart attack, congestive heart failure, or significant risk factors, the cardiologist is still an important visit.
“When patients are seeing their primary care provider for maintenance and preventative care, cardiologist clinics like the Olympic Medical Heart Center can be more efficient in getting patients in for the acute issues and consultations they need,” said Dr. Urnes. “Otherwise, if everything is going well for a patient and their heart health, they’re in good hands with their primary care provider.”
To learn more about cardiovascular health on the Olympic Peninsula, visit www.olympicmedical.org/heart-center.