CONVERSATION: Dr. Angela Turner, Bayfront Health Cardiologist

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Dr. Angela Turner, DO
Cardiologist at Bayfront Health, St. Petersburg

A passion to help people live longer, healthier lives is at the heart of each day for Dr. Angela Turner. Part of the three-person cardiology team at Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg and an assistant professor at the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine, Turner realized the importance of heart health at a young age. When she had palpitations at the age of 13, she saw her first  cardiologist.

Luckily,  she was fine, and the experience “peaked my attention at a young age to get into the medical field,” she admitted during a recent interview.  Turner went on to become board certified in cardiology and even visited Africa three times on faith-based medical missions.  Now living in St. Petersburg with her husband, William, and 8-year-old step-daughter, Amelia, Turner counsels patients on taking charge of their lifestyle choices to maintain a healthy heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, causing one in four deaths, according to the American Heart Association.  Nearly 40% of adults and 19% of youth are obese,  according to 2016 research by the National Center for Health Statistics. Heart disease risk factors include diabetes,  high blood pressure, high cholesterol,  smoking and obesity.

  “Unfortunately, due to our processed American diets and sedentary lifestyles, we are seeing weights go up and up along with these other conditions,” said  Turner.  “They go hand in hand, which is why it’s very important to address at a young  age. We are so busy these days, we are heavily reliant on fast foods. We need to get back to basics and cook meals at home with fresh fruits and vegetables, and stay away from processed foods and sugar.”

 Stress, a common component in many people’s lives, may also be a contributing factor leading  to heart problems. Heart palpitations can be an indicator of too much stress, which is why regular checkups are so important, said Turner. “Often, routine testing can detect small problems before they become big problems,” she said. 

Taking steps to alleviate stress is important. “This can be  anything from getting more sleep to meditation, yoga, and exercise,” said Turner.

While it is  important to know your family medical history  (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol can be hereditary),  you don’t have to go down the same path  if you can find out early enough.

“We can find these things much earlier now with simple blood work and testing,”  said Turner. “Go to your primary care physician and get a routine checkup.  That’s a good place to start .”

By Marcia Biggs