America Faces Cardiologist Shortage

<b>America Faces Cardiologist Shortage</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Heart disease remains the number-one killer in the United States. There is no shortage of patients needing cardiologists — and yet there aren’t enough doctors to go around.

According to a new report released by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the number of practicing cardiologists will need to double between 2000 and 2050 to accommodate aging baby boomers, and a growing population of heart disease patients.

“We have a significant shortage of 3,000 cardiologists in the workplace today, and all indicators are that it’s going to get worse if we don’t do something,” said George P. Rodgers, M.D., F.A.C.C., chair of the ACC Board of Trustees Workforce Task Force.

The ongoing obesity epidemic and new treatments, which allow patients to live longer with heart disease, are increasing the demand for cardiologists. At the same time, more than 40 percent of cardiologists in the current workforce are over the age of 55, and nearing retirement.

Training opportunities for cardiologists are limited — in the 1990s, policymakers wrongly assumed that family practitioners would treat heart disease, resulting in a 25 percent cut in the number of cardiologist training spots. While other medical fields have a growing number of women and minorities, they remain underrepresented in cardiology. African Americans and Hispanics form only 6 percent of all cardiologists, women only 12 percent.

In its report, the ACC recommends solutions, including expanding the number of fellowship positions, reducing known factors that may encourage early retirement and creating incentives for underrepresented minorities to consider cardiology, as well as encouraging a team-based approach to cardiology care that leverages the skills and expertise of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“We need to advocate for more training spots and funding for cardiovascular specialists and, in the meantime, find creative and more effective ways of delivering care,” said Alfred A. Bove, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the ACC. “Team-based care is a major opportunity for improving the current and future workforce crisis.”

For more information, visit www.acc.org.

Prevention is the Best Cure for Heart Disease

<b>Prevention is the Best Cure for Heart Disease </b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In America, heart disease kills someone every 35 seconds, making it the nation’s leading cause of death. And while medical technologies like advanced testing methods, surgeries, pacemakers and transplants do help save lives, the best “cure” for heart disease lies in its prevention.

Cardiologists can detect the earliest signs of heart disease, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. Cardiologists can help patients change their lives before full-blown heart disease develops, but many people don’t seek treatment until they suffer permanent damage.

When should patients see cardiologists? Risk factors for heart disease include poor diet, diabetes, inactivity, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and heredity. People with any of these risk factors should speak to a cardiologist, because early treatment can prevent future problems. Patients experiencing cardiovascular symptoms, like dizziness, strange pains in areas adjacent to the chest, chest pain or shortness of breath should dial 9-1-1 immediately.

Smoking, a high-risk behavior, makes patients two to four times more likely to develop heart disease. Other contributors, like physical inactivity and obesity, can be addressed through lifestyle and diet changes, while high blood pressure can be treated by your doctor.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC), a nonprofit organization that advocates for quality cardiovascular care, tells people to practice prevention every day.

To help heart patients, the ACC created an innovative Web site, www.CardioSmart.org. The site doesn’t just offer advice for Americans struggling with heart disease, but also teaches patients to evaluate their risk and preserve or improve their heart health.

Users can speak with cardiologists via an interactive forum, connect with heart disease patients and see the latest research regarding specific conditions.

The ACC has also recently published a book, Slay the Giant, that explains how to prevent heart disease in an engaging, easy-to-read manner. “CardioSmart and Slay the Giant offer explanations for just about everything needed to understand heart health and heart disease,” says Dr. Alfred A. Bove, M.D., F.A.C.C., the President-Elect for the ACC, “With a strong emphasis on prevention of coronary disease and poignant directives on how to reduce heart disease risk, these are priceless tools for everyone who wants to avoid the ravages of coronary disease.”

To learn more about heart disease prevention or the book “Slay the Giant,” go to www.CardioSmart.org.