Visiting the Cardiologist -- Getting a Good Diagnosis
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Why should I see a cardiologist?Your primary care physician may feel your risk factors or symptoms should be reviewed by a cardiologist. A cardiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the heart. This is a highly specialized field requiring four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and two-to-four years of cardiology fellowship or training.
What will a cardiologist do?
A thorough medical history and physical exam will give the cardiologist information needed to determine if further tests are required. At your first visit, the nurse will take your blood pressure, you may have blood tests to check your cholesterol, and you may have an EKG (electrocardiogram). This simple test graphically records the electrical activity of the heart and can reveal evidence of heart attacks or insufficient blood supply to the heart. Other tests, such as an echocardiogram, electro-physiology, exercise stress test, vascular studies, or nuclear imaging test may also be ordered. The results of these tests will help your cardiologist determine the best treatment for your diagnosis.
Your cardiologist may tell you that further diagnostic testing, such as cardiac catheterization, is necessary. This is usually done as an outpatient procedure at the hospital.
Or, your cardiologist may tell you that lifestyle changes, modifications to diet, and exercise are needed. You may need to be put on special medications.
You can do plenty to get your heart in shape. Healthy changes will help you feel and look better.
- Improve your eating habits
- Stop smoking
- Be more active, and EXERCISE!
- Take your medications