In a world where heart attacks and strokes are becoming increasingly common, Tampa General Hospital stands ready to provide world-class medical care. However, preventive medicine is a top priority at TGH, and our goal is to prevent cardiac events from occurring in the first place. Toward that end, we believe it is imperative to empower our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to manage their risk and protect their heart health.
In most cases, cardiovascular disease does not develop suddenly. More often, vital blood vessels are slowly compromised over time by underlying medical issues such as high blood pressure, high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and chronic inflammation. The danger can be further compounded by unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
Significantly, many of the risk factors for heart disease can be controlled. Through TGH’s General & Preventative Cardiology Center of Excellence, our patients can benefit from a variety of specialized programs designed to help them learn how to prevent cardiovascular disease, reduce their risk of complications and enhance their overall quality of life.
Nationally Recognized, Multidisciplinary Care
TGH is widely known and respected for delivering top-tier cardiovascular care. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as “High Performing” in Cardiology & Heart Surgery, we rank among the top 10% of hospitals in the nation and are considered one of the best for heart failure and heart attack care in 2023-24. Featuring some of the most prominent healthcare professionals who practice in the field of heart disease prevention in the United States, the multidisciplinary team in our General & Preventative Cardiology Center of Excellence includes:
- Preventive cardiologists
- Internal medicine physicians
- Obstetricians and gynecologists
- Exercise physiologists
- Registered dietitians
- Bariatric specialists
- Registered nurses
While each member of our cohesive team focuses their practice on preventive cardiology, some further specialize in women’s heart health, vascular medicine, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome or lipid disorders. Working closely together, we deliver comprehensive, highly specialized and seamlessly coordinated preventive cardiology services.
Precise Risk Identification
Preventive cardiology begins with awareness. Through extensive research, scientists have identified several behaviors, traits, exposures and underlying medical issues that can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, some risk factors can be affected by the patient’s age, gender, race or ethnicity. At TGH, we believe the first important step in preventing cardiovascular disease is performing a comprehensive risk assessment, which typically includes:
- A personal and family medical history review
- A personal and family cardiovascular history review
- A physical examination focused specifically on the heart and lungs
- An evaluation of vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature and oxygen saturation, as well as height, weight and body mass index
- An open and honest discussion about lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise, tobacco use and alcohol consumption
- An advanced lipid profile (blood test) to check cholesterol and blood sugar levels and other cardiac biomarkers
- Screening for anxiety and depression
After completing a thorough risk assessment, the team at TGH will review the results and explain their meaning in patient-friendly terms. If we need more data to create a comprehensive risk profile, we may suggest follow-up testing, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), an echocardiogram, cardiac imaging, 24-hour blood pressure monitoring or genetic testing. The latest options in cardiac diagnostics are available in TGH’s General & Preventative Cardiology Center of Excellence.
Effective Risk Management
The multidisciplinary team in TGH’s General & Preventative Cardiology Center of Excellence has several decades of collective experience in evaluating the risk factors for heart disease and determining the best ways to manage them. Once we have identified a patient’s known risk factors, we will work with them to develop a customized risk management strategy to meet their specific needs and goals. Because each patient has a unique heart health profile, our preventive cardiology services are highly individualized.
Several key lifestyle practices can dramatically reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. These practices—which apply to everyone regardless of their risk profile—include not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, consuming a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. With this in mind, we work with each patient to establish realistic goals and a detailed strategy to achieve them. Some examples include smoking cessation, stress management, bariatric surgery and medication to manage high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol or another underlying medical issue. At every step, the TGH team is available to answer questions, provide support and celebrate successes.
TGH is a nationally recognized leader in preventive cardiology. Having successfully worked with thousands of patients, we have acquired extensive experience in assisting individuals at all risk levels. Notably, this includes supporting those who have medication intolerances, complex medication schedules or potentially serious health issues, such as diabetes or kidney disease. At TGH, heart disease is not only treatable—it is also often preventable.