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What Does a Cardiologist Do?

Who is a cardiologist?

CardiologistA cardiologist specializes in finding, preventing, and treating the diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases).

A cardiologist is a doctor with special training in diagnosing, treating, and preventing the diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiologists obtain extensive education and training. This includes four years of medical school and three years of training in general internal medicine. After the training in general internal medicine, they spend three or more years in specialized training. Following 10 or more years of education and training, a cardiologist must pass a rigorous two-day exam given by the American Board of Internal Medicine. The exam tests their knowledge, judgment, and the ability to provide superior care.

What does a cardiologist do?

A cardiologist specializes in finding, preventing and treating the diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases). The diseases are:

A cardiologist may see their patients in their office or a hospital. They may:

  • Perform a physical examination
  • Order tests like blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), exercise stress test or imaging studies of the heart
  • Understand and interpret test results to diagnose a medical condition a patient may have
  • Prescribe treatment for a patient’s health conditions
  • Advise lifestyle changes, such as modifications in diet, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and regular physical activity
  • Provide counseling to prevent heart diseases
  • Perform some procedures like cardiac catheterization or implant a pacemaker
  • Refer you to a heart surgeon or an interventional cardiologist when necessary

Some cardiologists may also teach at universities and do research that may help create new treatments and diagnostic approaches for heart problems.

When should you go to a cardiologist?

Since cardiologists are specialist doctors, you may not visit them for consultations as often as you visit a primary healthcare provider. You may visit a cardiologist in the following situations:

At what age should you start seeing a cardiologist?

There is no definitive age recommended to start seeing a cardiologist. It is advised to have an annual physical examination from a primary care physician when you get into middle age. They may refer you to a cardiologist if necessary. You may need to see a cardiologist early if you have:

The only tests related to the heart that most people, who are not experiencing symptoms, need are measurement of blood cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.


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