The heart is one of the human vital body parts. This muscular organ is responsible for the continuous circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Despite its design to function optimally, typical medical concerns, such as cardiac disorders, may develop. It is at this point that cardiologists come to the rescue. They are trained medical specialists who diagnose and treat heart diseases.
Finding a cardiologist in Singapore can be challenging, particularly for international residents. Part of the difficulty arises from the treatment’s strict requirements. Another factor is the little information available about these specialists, especially for new patients. This guide aims to assist such individuals in their search for ideal cardiologists in Singapore — the Garden City.
Why Medical Appointments Matter in Singapore
According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, 17 people (men and women) die daily from cardiac disorders. The survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest is low as most people in this country are unaware of their heart condition and don’t seek professional care until they have medical emergencies, most of which are fatal.
The Singaporean Government and other relevant agencies are working effortlessly to increase the survival rate by raising awareness and implementing initiatives. Nonetheless, most people are unaware that they are on the verge of a medical crisis. Their daily lives are filled with stress, a major killer, that they hardly make time for health screening.
Cardiovascular medical appointments are beneficial as they help patients keep track of their health. Besides, some symptoms might indicate that a person has underlying cardiac problems. Cardiologists can determine causative factors via medical examinations and provide prompt treatment.
When to See a Cardiologist
Most heart conditions strike unexpectedly, even though there might have been warning signs ignored by the patient. Postponing medical examination until there’s a crisis lowers the survival rate when attacked. People at high risk of a heart attack or other related conditions should see a cardiologist if they experiencing the following symptoms.
- High blood pressure of 140/90 and above, which may result in a heart attack or stroke
- Chest pain, especially when it is persistent
- Irregular heart rate, including increased heartbeats and shortness of breath. Alongside these symptoms, a person may experience dizziness
- High cholesterol, which results in artery blockage and raises the risk of stroke or heart attack
- Diabetes, a common condition linked to heart-related diseases
- Overweight or high Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Unhealthy habits, including chronic alcohol and nicotine consumption. The toxins in these substances affect the vascular system
- Medical histories of other diseases, like heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, and kidney disease
The earlier medical treatment is sought to avoid deteriorating health conditions, the better.
Types of Heart Doctors in Singapore
Singaporean cardiologists undergo a rigorous six-year medical school program, which includes three years of internal medicine study and three years of advanced cardiac specialty training. This program makes them well-versed in cardiology. Specialists in this field are of two types:
- Invasive cardiologists
- Non-invasive cardiologists
These medical specialists perform open procedures, like stenting or angioplasty, to diagnose and treat electrical and structural cardiac problems.
Cardiologists practising non-invasive cardiology diagnose heart problems without subjecting the patient to open surgeries. Rather than using needles, scissors, scalpels, and other invasive medical instruments, these specialists use heart monitors, nuclear cardiology, CT scans, cardiac electrophysiology, echocardiography, and stress tests.
Under specific conditions, access to healthcare in Singapore differs for both citizens and international residents, especially considering the categories available: Private healthcare and public healthcare.
Private Cardiology medical appointments are available to all, Singaporeans and foreigners. The upside to seeking medical care from specialists in this category is that they provide immediate assistance, with diagnosis and treatments completed the same day. However, medical fees are expensive.
Unlike private healthcare, this medical service is cheaper. However, there are longer waiting times and shorter appointments. It is easily accessible to Singaporeans. Foreigners, on the other hand, would need permanent residency (Singapore NRIC). Likewise, a recommendation from a polyclinic GP or a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officer is required for medical treatment.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cardiologist
People with heart problems ought to see a cardiologist, but not every physician has the training and expertise to provide adequate treatment. Hence, the following information can be helpful:
Cardiology-trained physicians are typically specialists in cardiovascular diseases and have received specialized training in this area. They can perform a variety of tests to evaluate a patient’s heart and related organs, and they know how to interpret the results. Plus, they are highly familiar with the latest research and treatments in this field.
To be sure that patients receive the highest quality care, they want a cardiologist who has experience in treating their conditions. The specialist should have a track record of providing high-quality care. As a rule of thumb, be sure to ask if the doctor has previously treated a specific type of condition.
A convenient clinic location is also a consideration. Patients want to be able to visit without delay when they have cardiovascular problems.
Medical Treatment Costs
For private healthcare, the first consultation cost ranges from $120 to $400, depending on the cardiologist’s professionalism, treatment type, and clinic. The average follow-up consultation fee is around $95. Medications can cost anywhere between $100 and $200. In contrast, Singaporeans pay $57 for the initial consultation and $38 for follow-up.
Does Medisave Apply to Treatment?
Yes, patients can use Medisave, which has two categories: $500 annual withdrawal limits and $600 annual withdrawal limits. The former is available for the treatment of stroke, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, cholesterol and lipid disorders, pre-diabetes (PM), and diabetes. The latter applies to CT scans, outpatient MRI scans, and ultrasound scans.
When in search of a cardiologist in Singapore, the most essential factor to consider is the desired experience. Patients will have no difficulty locating the ideal specialist for specific cardiovascular conditions if they ask the right questions. Medical appointments can also help prevent life-threatening situations. Do not ignore any symptom, no matter how mild it may be.