Your cardiologist is a specialist medical practitioner with expert knowledge and understanding of your heart, including illnesses, chronic heart conditions, methods for treatment and ways to prevent heart disease. Trained as a medical doctor, a cardiologist then goes on to further study of the heart and the cardiovascular system which includes areas of your health related to respiratory function(breathing and the lungs), as well as circulation and the electrical system or nervous system throughout your body.
Every part of our bodies is intimately connected to and reliant on all of the other parts. Specialists like cardiologists are able to develop specific skills and expertise in the function of the heart and provide diagnoses for cardiac care, treatment options, including surgery, but they are also able to identify other health concerns like interruptions in your sleep cycle.
A sleep disorder like Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is characterised by period lapses in your regular breathing. While you are asleep, your airway can partially or completely collapse, reducing or eliminating your ability to inhale a breath. Your brain will try to awaken your body when this happens so you can restore your breathing patterns. During the wakening process, normal muscle function will return to your airways and you will be able to breathe normally again. Most people with OSA are not even aware of this wakefulness episode in their sleep cycle or that they have even stopped breathing at all. Symptoms of OSA usually present as things like tiredness and muscle fatigue, or irritability and an inability to control one’s moods. Longer term effects of OSA, however, include stress on the heart muscle resulting in things like a shortness of breath and irregular blood pressure.
If you have presented any of these symptoms, your sleep may be the cause of the symptoms and your GP may refer to you to a cardiologist or a sleep specialist for further testing.
What does a cardiologist do?
Your cardiologist is primarily concerned with your cardiology and general heart health. They may actas a specialist consultant operating out of rooms or a hospital clinic where they consult on patients and in a diagnostic capacity, offering treatment options and conducting tests to offer intervention measures in high risk patients. They will be able to diagnose heart conditions and refer you for further tests or conduct them themselves.
A cardiologist may also be a heart surgeon conducting heart surgery and related cardiovascular procedures like repairing blood vessels caused by conditions like ischemia. They may treat you for coronary artery disease with a combination of surgery and other, less invasive treatments like regular medication to moderate your symptoms like and irregular heart rhythm.
What happens when you get referred to a cardiologist?
Due to the recent rise in telehealth services across Australia, specialist medical practitioners like a cardiologist and now even more accessible, particularly for patients living remotely. Telehealth services are conducted online or over the phone, offering patients initial consultations from the comfort of their own home.
Telehealth services also extend to other specialists like a respiratory physician or a lung specialist who are also medical professionals experts in issues with the heart, lungs, throat and respiratory system. Previously, accessing services like these kinds of specialists, or sleep specialists, was highly location based and required clients and patients to physically attend specific clinics.
If you are interested in participating in a sleep test to check if you have a sleep disorder, or if you have been referred to a sleep clinic for a sleep study by your cardiologist, you can now arrange for your sleep study to occur at home, in your own bed. The CPAP Clinic, through its partnership with Centurion Health, can help you access a Medicare-funded sleep study in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to be conducted in the privacy and security of your home. For more information about gaining access to a sleep study or diagnosis in Adelaide or Perth, please contact one of our consultants either online over the phone on 1300 76 29 39.
A cardiologist will be able to tell you whether they believe your heart is under strain or stress and may recommend that you undertake a sleep study to eliminate the possibility of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) causing your heart stress.
This condition is fortunately a highly treatableone and very simple to diagnose. The most effective method for treating OSA is through the use of a CPAP machine. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP) is a form of therapy delivered by a specific medical device through a mask worn on the face throughout sleep. The pressure of the air through the mask ensures that the airways do not collapse while the wearer is asleep, there by eliminating the cessation of regular breathing. The wearer enjoy speaceful and restful sleep all night long, reducing the strain on their circulatory system and avoiding the development of potential heart conditions which can occur as a result of untreated OSA.
If your cardiologist is concerned about your heart health and has recommended that you undertake a sleep study, then you should not delay. Using our telehealth services and our partnership with Centurion Health, the CPAP Clinic can help you arrange a sleep study as soon as possible and get you the diagnosis and treatment that you need to lead a healthier and more restful life. Contact a consultant today to arrange your sleep test or to discuss treatment methods and options for your OSA.