The Greek root word kardia in ‘Cardiologist’ means ‘heart’, hence a cardiologist is ‘someone who studies the heart’. However, aside from the heart, a cardiologist is also an expert on the entire circulatory system, including arteries and veins.
Who is a Cardiologist?
A Cardiologist is a doctor of Internal Medicine who not only specializes in the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular (the heart and blood vessels) diseases and conditions, but also focuses on preventing their occurrence through regular checkups, tests, and recommends lifestyle changes, since many heart problems are both chronic and long-term.
What Conditions Do Cardiologists Treat?
Along with helping patients who have previously had a heart attack or heart failure, cardiologists also provide advice on heart surgery, heart catheterization, angioplasty and stinting. Other conditions that cardiologists treat include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Congenital, Coronary and Congestive heart disease
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Ventricular tachycardia
What Kinds of Tests Do Cardiologists Perform?
Some diagnostic tests performed by cardiologists include, but are not limited to:
To measure the rate of blood pumped, detect cardiac inflammation (pericarditis) and identify abnormalities or defects of the valves.
- Ambulatory ECG:
To record heart rhythms during exercise.
- Cardiac Catheterisation:
To check heart function and electrical system and relieve coronary or artery blockage.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG):
To Record the electrical Activity of the heart.
- Stress Test:
To measure the heart’s performance and limitations during exercise and at rest.
- Nuclear Cardiology:
To study cardiovascular disorders and diseases-without requiring insertion or incisions-through nuclear imaging techniques.
Can Cardiologists Perform Surgery?
Unlike a Cardiovascular Surgeon who is ‘surgery specialist’, a Cardiologist is a ‘medical specialist’ whose job is to detect heart problems and coronary artery conditions, abnormal heart rhythms and congenital heart defects through various tests-such as biopsies and echo-cardiograms-and treat with medication, diet adjustments and non-surgical procedures to unblock arteries and regulate heartbeat.
Cardiologists cannot perform surgery aside from minor procedures such as Cardiac Catheterizations and pacemaker insertion, while some Interventional Cardiologists can also perform Angioplasties, Stinting and Valvuloplasties. However, most Cardiologists refer patients to Cardiovascular surgeons for complex surgery, such as a bypass, heart transplant or heart defect correction.
What Can a Cardiologist Specialize in?
All cardiologists are Clinical Cardiologists who may specialize in the following fields:
- Pediatric Cardiology:
Focuses on heart problems in children
- Adult Cardiology:
Exclusively for treatment of adult heart problems such as ‘Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD).’
Focuses on the treatment and correction of heart rhythm disorders.
When Should You Visit a Cardiologist?
It is necessary to see a cardiologist if you:
- Have a family history of heart disease,
- High cholesterol and blood pressure,
- Are or were a smoker,
- Are Diabetic,
- Have swollen gums or gum disease,
- Have preeclampsia during pregnancy, or
- Are over 40 and starting a new exercise program.
If you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pains, or changes in heart rate or rhythm, refer to a specialist immediately as they may be symptoms of a serious heart condition.
Cardiologists should also be visited in order to avoid heart problems altogether and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can Book an Appointments with a top Cardiologist in Islamabad, Multan and Karachi through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your cardiac needs.
About the Writer:
Yashfa Marrium is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected]