Expert Care for Your Heart
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A cardiologist is a doctor with special training and skill in finding, treating and preventing disease of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiologists receive extensive education and training, and become certified in cardiology after completing a minimum of 10 years of educational and clinical preparation.
Your primary care doctor may refer you to a cardiologist if he or she feels you might have a significant heart-related condition. Certain symptoms may indicate a heart condition, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Dizzy spells
These symptoms may require special testing, such as:
Your cardiologist will guide your care and plan tests and treatment. He or she will help you return to a full and useful life, and will counsel you about the risks and prevention of heart disease.
Whether the cardiologist sees you in the office or in the hospital, he or she will review your medical history and perform a physical examination which may include checking your blood pressure, weight, heart, lungs and blood vessels. Some problems may be diagnosed by your symptoms and the doctor’s findings when you are examined. Other problems will require more specialized testing. Your cardiologist may recommend lifestyle changes or medicine.
Other members of your cardiology care team may include:
- Physician assistant - a healthcare professional who is authorized by the state to practice medicine as part of a team with a physician or group of physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services, including conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order tests and assist in procedures and prescribe medications.
- Nurse practitioner – a registered nurse who has advanced education and clinical training. NPs provide a wide range of preventive and acute healthcare services including physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic problems, interpret laboratory results and X-rays, prescribe and manage medications and refer patients to other healthcare personnel.
- Registered nurse – a nurse who has had the training and experience to provide and coordinate patient care, and educate patients about various health conditions. RNs perform physical exams, administer medications, interpret patient information and direct and supervise care delivered by other healthcare professionals.