If you are referred to a cardiologist, that may seem intimidating if you are not familiar with what a cardiologist treats. In order to feel comfortable at the appointment, it is vital that you understand who a cardiologist is, what they can treat, and when a patient should see such a physician. A cardiologist is a doctor that specifically treats ailments of the heart and circulatory system. In treating a multitude of patients, cardiologists can test for, treat, and identify circulatory and cardiac ailments, sometimes identifying them before they become a larger problem for patients. Cardiologists are essential physicians, and if you are to see one for treatment, knowing the following information may help ease your nervousness.
Who Is a Cardiologist?
A cardiologist is a physician that specializes in diagnosing and treating problems of the circulatory and cardiac systems–the heart and blood vessels that pump and supply the entire body with blood and oxygen. These doctors can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, private practices, and even within universities and lab settings conducting medical research. These specialists go through several years of schooling to become a cardiologist, beginning with four years of medical school. Once they graduate from medical school, an additional 3-4 years is spent training in internal medicine. Lastly, a cardiologist hopeful spends 3 additional years of medical training specific to cardiology. Once their schooling is complete, a final exam on cardiac diseases must be taken and passed, given by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Once licensed, cardiologists can obtain a specialty in one or more of several subspecialties recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties:
- Adult Congenital Heart Disease
- Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
What Does a Cardiologist Do/Treat?
A cardiologist can test for, diagnose, and treat cardiac and/or cardiovascular problems. To begin, a cardiologist will see a patient and sit with them to discuss the symptoms they were experiencing. Then, in order to discover the cause of the symptoms, a cardiologist can run one or more of the following tests:
A cardiologist will then analyze the results of those tests and provide a diagnosis to the patient. Depending on that diagnosis, the cardiologist may present the patient with a treatment plan that will work for them. This may or may not include prescribing certain medications as a treatment option. Specifically, a cardiologist can treat ailments such as heart attacks or failure, heart valve disease, cardiac arrhythmias or murmurs, high blood pressure, problems with blood flow and the veins, and many more. Some procedures that a cardiologist may perform as a treatment plan for a specific patient can include implanting a pacemaker or inserting a cardiac catheter to treat problems with the heart valves or blockages. Lastly, a cardiologist may discuss with and help a patient decide on specific heart surgeries that are available, such as catheterization, and angioplasty and stenting.
When Should I See a Cardiologist?
You may receive a referral from your regular doctor to see a cardiologist for various reasons. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be a good idea to schedule a visit with the best cardiologist near you:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Chest pains
- Congenital heart disease
- Coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart disease
- Fainting spells
- Fluttering sensation in the chest
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Ventricular Tachycardia
It is important to note, however, that a person may need to visit with a cardiologist even if they are not currently experiencing any symptoms. This is especially true if the patient has family history of heart disease or other cardiac disease,
Cardiologists can help a patient treat a multitude of ailments. Knowing who they are, what they do, and when to see one is especially important for your overall health, even if you are not experiencing any cardiac symptoms. If you have any additional questions about your cardiac health, contact the specialists at CT Cardio!