Q : What does a cardiologist do?
A: A cardiologist is a physician who specializes in taking care of the heart and blood vessels. A cardiologist helps people control their blood pressure, reduce their cholesterol levels, and reduce their overall risk for heart attacks and strokes and when these happen the cardiologist uses his expertise to open clogged arteries and saving lives.

Q : What kinds of foods are bad for my heart?
A: Food high in fat, including red meats, lamb, duck, goose and any type of cold cuts, including hot dogs. Also, cheddar cheese, butter, whole milk dairy products, and fast foods. Many snacks such as crackers, cookies, muffins, etc., are high in fat, especially in saturated (bad) fat.

Q : If my parents have heart problems, will I?
A: There has been evidence that heart disease can be passed on genetically from parents to child. While not directly inherited as simple dominant trait, there is a strong tendency for coronary heart disease to run in families. I would recommend that individuals who have a strong family history of known heart disease be checked earlier in life, i.e. their mid-to late 30s, for the possibility of heart disease.

Q : What are the risk factors for heart disease?
A: Of major importance are certain aspects of lifestyle, such as a routine diet which is high in fat, alcohol, salt, caffeine, cigarette smoking, sedentary or inactive lifestyle, and associated medical problems which include high blood pressure, elevated blood pressure, cholesterol level and diabetes mellitus.

Q : How do I know I am having a heart attack?
A: Individuals suffering a heart attack experience heart pain in different ways. Most commonly there is an onset of pain in the middle of the chest. Most patients describe this event as a feeling of a heavy weight on their chest which may radiate to the arm, back or up the neck. In addition, sweating is often a strong component of the heart attack syndrome in the early moments of the event.

Q : What does it mean if I have a heart murmur?
A: A heart murmur is a sound created in the heart and Is detected by listening to the heart sounds with a stethoscope. These sounds are usually due to turbulence of blood flow, which may be due to a host of factors. These factors include problems as a hole within the heart chamber, a valve which is tightly narrowed, a valve which is leaking or other anatomical defects. Sometimes it is necessary to do a painless test called an echocardiogram to determine the significance of the heart murmur.

Q : Will having heart disease affect my sexual life?
A: It is true that some patients who develop heart disease or who have had bypass surgery have decreased sexual function for the rest of their life. Furthermore, certain individuals who have associated blockages in the arteries of their legs and in the pelvic area may have sexual dysfunction based on this as well. Social support following heart attack is very important. Specific guidelines for sexual teaching are available for patients after cardiac events.

Q : When should I go to the hospital?
A: It is recommended that if you experience chest pain which lasts longer than three to five minutes. If you are alone, call an ambulance. Do not attempt to drive yourself as you may endanger others as well as yourself.