Adding heart to cardiology

Expertise and compassion are paramount with McLaren Oakland cardiologists.

Trust is a trait and responsibility he takes very seriously.

McLaren Oakland cardiologist Dr. Quen Dickey understands the importance his role has in his patients’ lives, and the impact that it can have.

“I think it would be impossible to overstate just how comforting it is to have a reliable and healthy heart,” Dr. Dickey said. “Some people may be blessed with good genetics and great health, but there are countless others who are forced to live with varying degrees of heart disease as their reality.

“They can still live productive, fulfilling lives. It just can’t be ignored and left untreated.”

With colleague Dr. Amy O’Neil, the pair of McLaren Oakland cardiologists are experienced, with access to advanced diagnostic technology and procedures.

And they make the care of their patients’ hearts personal.

Your heart in the heat

Says Dr. Dickey: “Step outside on a hot summer day, you sweat. You, me and everybody — that’s our body’s natural response to cool itself. But what many people might not realize is that sweating places a level of strain on the heart.

“More blood is pumped to the skin to help it cool, causing the heart to pump harder and faster, and sweat pulls potassium, sodium and other minerals from the body. These minerals are important for muscles’ ability to properly function, muscles like the heart.

“It’s very important to be aware of this occurrence. If someone is living with heart disease, or if their heart is in any way weakened, they would be best served to take precautions or make accommodations around the heat for the sake of their heart.”

Women and heart disease

Says Dr. O’Neil: “Many women still don’t realize that the symptoms of heart disease and even heart attacks often present differently in them, and this is a fact that I still strive to impart to all of my patients.

“It’s incredibly important that women realize this because it would be very simple for them to see many of these symptoms as a passing discomfort and not seek any help. They may not experience the traditional crushing chest pain, but they might say they feel an ache or heaviness in their chest, or something just might not feel right. Really. what they’re feeling are the effects of heart disease.

“It’s best to pay attention to heart disease risk factors and talk to your doctor about any changes in how you’re feeling. There’s nothing to lose in getting it checked out.”

When you should get a cardiologist

Says Dr. Dickey: “You don’t have to — and shouldn’t — wait until you begin to feel concerned with your heart to get a cardiologist. You shouldn’t even wait until you experience any sensations in your chest.

“Talk to your family doctor about when he or she recommends you start seeing a cardiologist. They’ll look at your risk factors — if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, if you smoke, have diabetes, a family history of heart disease or heart attack.

“Your family doctor has your future health in his or her best interest.”