What is the spectrum of care for cardiovascular disease?

You might come under a cardiologist’s care for having risk factors for cardiovascular disease or for existing disease that is stable or acute. Cardiovascular disease is stable when it is present but symptoms only appear occasionally, such as during exercise. Acute cardiovascular disease is when symptoms are severe enough to need urgent and immediate attention, such as a heart attack or stroke. Some patients have heart disease but have few, if any, symptoms.

No matter how severe your disease is when you begin treatment with a cardiologist, you will become a part of the spectrum, of care. The spectrum of care describes treatment options that range from least invasive to most invasive: lifestyle changes, medical therapy, angioplasty and stenting, and surgery. Your cardiologist will assess your level of disease and talk with you about your treatment options. Part of the discussion will include your expectations for quality of life and how active you hope to be.

The severity of disease determines where your treatment will fall in the spectrum of care. If you have risk factors only for cardiovascular disease, you may be prescribed medications and lifestyle changes. If you have stable cardiovascular disease, your treatment may require lifestyle changes, medications, and possibly angioplasty and stenting. For severe cardiovascular disease, your treatment could consist of lifestyle changes, medications, and either angioplasty and setting or bypass surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.