What is Cardiology?
A Cardiologist is a doctor that has specialized training in the cardiovascular system: the heart and blood vessels.
Cardiologists undergo 10 or more years of extensive education and must pass a rigorous examination process to ensure their ability to provide superior care.
Sometimes your general doctor may feel you should see a cardiologist to check out symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains, or dizzy spells which often require special testing. Cardiologist can help evaluate heart murmurs or ECG changes as well as help to treat heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure and serious heart rhythm disturbances. These skills are necessary and required whenever decisions are made about procedures such as cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, or heart surgery.
Here’s a great video showing how detailed the studies of a cardiologist actually are:
Why see a Cardiologist?
Heart disease, such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart disease, is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Prevention includes quitting smoking, lowering cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising. Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans (47%) have at least one of the key risk factors for heart disease.
What to expect from a visit
To learn more about your condition, a cardiologist may need you to take one of the following diagnostic tests:
- Blood Tests
- Stress Test
- Nuclear Stress Test or Echo Stress Test
- Computed Tomography Scan (CT Scan)
- PET Scan or MRA Scan
- Coronary Angiogram
Before a visit to your Cardiologist, here are some tips to help you prepare in advance:
- Compile a personal health history and a health history of your family.
- Gather together any recent test results and a list of medications you are taking.
- Jot down notes about symptoms you have been experiencing.
- Make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor.