Cardiologists are medical doctors who specialise in the diagnosis of diseases and conditions of the heart and blood vessels, or the cardiovascular system, including irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, blood clots, angina, heart failure, and cardiac arrests. Cardiologists can tell you about risk factors for heart disease and advise you as to what measures you can take for better heart health. In America, cardiologists can be certified through the Board of Internal Medicine, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialities.
There are many reasons that you may need to see a cardiologist, and they vary in seriousness. First and foremost, if your physician or GP has recommended that you make an appointment with a cardiologist, it is advisable to see one immediately. Another key reason for visiting a cardiologist is if you are experiencing heart or chest pain. While your symptoms may be harmless, it is always best to get checked out. If your family history shows that any of your ancestors has or had heart problems or you have a high total cholesterol, you have a greater risk of developing heart disease or heart problems than an average person, and should consider talking to a cardiologist. Other reasons to see a cardiologist are diabetes (which can contribute to heart disease), a difficult pregnancy, starting a new exercise programme, gum disease (which could be a sign of heart disease), or if you are or were a smoker, because smoking lowers the flow of oxygen to the heart and increases blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clotting.
A cardiologist can administer tests that are able to show how well a person’s heart is working, such as a treadmill test. A cardiologist can also help you help yourself by analysing your lifestyle choice and advising you as to what can be changed to improve the overall health of your heart. This could include advice about your diet, exercise regime, and bad habits such as smoking or drinking. Furthermore, cardiologists can diagnose and, if possible, treat your heart condition.
When you visit a cardiologist you can expect that they may carry out some tests or physical examinations, such as those aforementioned, to diagnose what may be a heart or blood vessel problem. Following this, you can expect that a cardiologist may suggest improvements to your lifestyle, as well as possible seek to treat you. You may be prescribed preventative medicine for more long-term conditions. These can reverse or neutralise any progression of heart disease. Alternatively, you may be prescribed medication or even be required to have surgery to correct problems with your heart, such as blood thinning medications to treat blood clots or a heart valve replacement.