What is Preventive Cardiology

Preventive cardiology is a specialty of medicine focused on preventing and managing cardiovascular disease states by identification, correction where possible, and control otherwise of risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other vascular risk factors. In-depth advanced lipid testing, prompt identification of underlying coronary artery disease, and aggressive prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis is one goal.

By using noninvasive tests to detect evidence of early damage to organs such as the heart, kidneys, and arteries, preventive cardiology also aims to keep this “end organ damage” from progressing.

Preventive cardiology is trying to improve population health by catching cardiovascular disease before damage is done in the form of heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure.

This is especially important in reducing variations in care based upon gender as women who present to the emergency room are still more likely to be characterized as low risk based on standard cardiovascular risk assessment scores. Not surprisingly, women are preferentially likely to receive less intensive management of coronary artery disease than their male counterparts.

The 2014 American Heart Association Consensus Statement on noninvasive diagnostic testing in women with suspected ischemic heart disease highlighted the development of novel diagnostic tools in the evaluation of symptomatic female patients to detect not only focal epicardial coronary stenosis, but also early atherosclerosis as well as the identification of microvascular dysfunction, which is different in women versus men. Such methods are utilized in the field of preventive cardiology to help catch cardiovascular disease before it results in end organ damage or even death.

Thus, a big part of preventive cardiology is helping to address the need to find better approaches to coronary artery disease evaluation and testing. As personalized health care and genomic medicine become more a mainstay of how we treat patients, preventive cardiology is becoming an even more important field to reduce illness and prolong healthy and active living. Departments of preventive cardiology exist at major teaching universities and are often led by general internal medicine doctors, whose practice goals include prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as long-term management and reduction of risk factors.

A big part of what we do at Preventive Cardiology & Internal Medicine Associates (PCAIMA) is to try to keep people from having strokes, heart attacks, or congestive heart failure. We aim to reduce the need for hospitalizations or procedures due to poorly recognized or late recognition of advancing vascular disease.

Finally, because cardiovascular disease presents differently in women versus men our multi-specialty practice of internists and family medicine providers especially focus on the education and management of women. Dr. Rahangdale, Dr. Schnippert, and ARNP Brianne Tanner look forward to providing this care for their patients at PCAIMA.

Sandeep Rahangdale, PCAIMA

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