Cardiology involves itself with the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders to the cardiovascular system. The diseases of the heart and blood vessels include coronary artery disease (CAD), high blood pressure, vascular disease, hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) and irregular heartbeat or rhythm.
As a cardiologist, you treat patients who suffer or stand in danger of the serious consequences of cardiovascular diseases. With the services of a cardiology staffing agency, you can find positions that help your patients avoid strokes, heart attacks and other problems associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system.
In 2020, the United States had 33,055 cardiologists. The services of cardiologists come in high demand. The need for your talents, skill and education as a cardiologist arises from underlying health conditions and habits of Americans that lead to cardiovascular problems. As you will read below, Americans have heart disease and conditions that lead to cardiovascular problems in significant numbers. The aging of the American population at large and even the cardiology field also contribute to the demand for cardiologists.
The Prevalence Heart Disease and Its Risk Factors
An ample supply of patients with heart disease and related conditions sustains the strong need for cardiologists. Consider some of these numbers:
- As of 2018, over 30 million Americans had some form of heart disease. Over 18 million are diagnosed with coronary artery disease. This condition involves blockage of the heart.
- Nearly 665,000 people in the United States die annually from heart disease, or one nearly every half-minute.
- Heart disease accounts for a quarter of the causes of death.
- Nearly 805,000 Americans experience a heart attack annually. Roughly three-fourths, or 605,000, do so for the first time.
Patients who end up needing cardiologists have underlying conditions. In 2018, diabetics numbered an estimated 34.1 million. Roughly 26.8 million had received a diagnosis, leaving 7.3 million diabetics not having been so diagnosed. Diabetes leads to heart conditions because of the damage to blood vessels and nerves that control blood flow. Poor circulation prevents oxygen from flowing to the heart, lungs and other organs.
High blood pressure is also a well-known culprit of cardiovascular or other heart diseases. Changing standards on what constitutes high-blood pressure could add more to the rolls of patients with heart disease. Prior to 2017, a reading of 140/90 was the minimum threshold for a high-blood pressure diagnosis. That year, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association began defining high-blood pressure as a reading of 130/80.
Cardiologists likely will have as many heart patients those classified as obese. An estimated 42.4 percent of Americans were deemed as obese in 2017-2018. The obesity rate of 42.4 percent rose just under 12 percent from 1990-2000 levels. Nearly 9.5 percent of Americans fell in the category of severe obesity. Those in this group have a body-mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, meaning 40 kilograms in weight for every one square of height in meters.
Obesity often flows from the lack of exercise and physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control says that:
- Only 25 percent of Americans age 18 or older exercise at the recommended daily levels. For teens, the ratio is one in five.
- For nearly 31 million Americans age 50 or higher, physical activity does not go beyond the daily activities of life into exercise.
Lack of exercise also contributes to diabetes and obesity, which are prominent risk factors for heart disease.
Ageing of Patients
A cardiology staffing agency also understands the impact of an increasingly elder population on the supply of patients. Surveys reveal that 17 percent of those at least age 65 have coronary heart disease. Roughly one out of five Americans age 65 or older had either a stroke, coronary heart disease or both.
In 2019, nearly 17 percent of the American population fell in the age group of 65 or above. By 2050, between one-fifth and one-fourth of Americans could be at least age 65. Some reports put the number of Americans in this age demographic at 78 million by 2030. The number of those under age 18 is expected to stand at 76.7 million by 2030.
Ageing of Cardiologists
The cardiologists are getting older as well as their patients. A Merritt Hawkins white paper reports that nearly 54 percent of non-invasive cardiologists were age 55 or older. According to a report by MedAxiom, nearly two out of every five cardiologists were at least age 56 years old. One quarter were age 61 or older. This will result in new spots for rising cardiologists.
The Availability of Insurance
With an increasingly aging population comes a large pool of insured patients. Specifically, those age 65 and over are covered by Medicare.
Thanks, at least in part to the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, more Americans have obtained access to health insurance. In 2013, one out of five Americans under age 65 were uninsured. By 2016, the percentage of uninsured not classified as elderly dropped to 12 percent. The 2019 estimated rate of the uninsured stood at nine percent.
As of 2019, an estimated 293 million Americans had health insurance. Just over 55 percent obtained their insurance from a group policy. This reflects the provision of health benefits by employers, trade organizations, professional groups and other organizations providing benefits for their members. Another 42 million Americans, or 13 percent, obtained private insurance on their own.
Cardiology addresses illnesses that affect some of the most important organs and systems in the human body. Heart diseases can significantly interfere with the quality of and can end life. An increasingly elderly population and an over decline in the health of Americans have resulted in a growth of potential patients who need cardiologists.
When you contact a cardiology staffing agency, you will find places and people that need your services. Hospitals, clinics and private practices may stand ready to find qualified cardiologists. Contact us today to find employment opportunities and assess your qualifications to practice cardiology.