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Cardiology is a field of medicine that deals with diseases and disorders of the heart as well as the blood vessels. This branch of internal medicine covers the area of medical diagnosis and the treatment of disorders like congenital heart defects, heart failure, coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease. Who is a Cardiologist?
A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders associated with the heart. A cardiology doctor specializes in non-surgical treatment of cardiac disorders and heart related blood vessels. Cardiologists with specialized training can perform certain cardiac procedures like coronary and peripheral angiography, CT angiography, cardiac ablation, cardiac catheterization and coronary angioplasty.
Cardiologists assess the patient’s symptoms, their medical history and recommend various tests for a more certain diagnosis. After the careful assessment of the diagnosis, the cardiologist decides whether the disorder or disease can be managed with medications. If the patient is in the need of some surgical treatment, he/she then refers the patient to the cardiac surgeon. When should I consult a Cardiologist?
If your primary care doctor or general physician upon examining your symptoms feel that you have a certain heart-related disorder, he/she refer you to an experienced cardiologist for a definite diagnosis.
Alternatively, if you feel symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, frequent chest pains, palpitation or high blood pressure, then you might need special testing prescribed by the cardiologist. They carry out tests like ECG to check heart rhythm and often treat patients with serious heart rhythm disturbances or other heart disorders. What questions should I ask my Cardiologist?
Your heart and your health are important to you, so never hesitate in asking basic questions along with whatever questions related to your particular disorder. It is necessary to understand your illness, so remember to ask following basic question to your cardiologist during your next appointment:
- How often should I need to consult?
- Which risk factors escalated my condition and how will they be controlled?
- How soon can I engage myself in routine activities?
- Should I go to cardiac rehab programme?
- What changes I need to include in my routine lifestyle like dietary changes, exercise programs, sexual activities, travelling etc?
- Experiencing which symptoms, I should call for emergency care?
- If there is a need to place stent in my artery, do I need to take anti-platelet medication and for how long?
- How long will I need to take medications?
- What medicines I should take for simple cold or pain?
- What should I do if I again started feeling chest pain or dizziness?
- What sign and symptoms I should look for my cardiac arrest/ failure/block/valve disorder?
- What is the ideal blood pressure for me? What to expect from my consultation with a Cardiologist?
If you are visiting a cardiologist for the first time, it may be quite intimidating. By preparing beforehand, you will be able to make the most out of your visit.
Your first appointment may usually last upto 10 to 15 minutes and you will be greeted by a cardiologist’s assistant who will measure your height and weight to calculate your BMI. He/she will query more about your general health, symptoms you are facing, current medication and some specific questions related to your visit. For appropriate assessment, you should bring all your related medication prescription and reports in a well-organized folder. This includes:
- Prescription of your current medication
- Family medical history
- Your own medical history
Remember after the appointment, a few tests like Echocardiogram (ECG) and Echocardiograph (ECHO) may follow to make a definite diagnosis and make a decision on the treatment options.
Upon examining your condition, the cardiologist might prescribe certain medications or refer to other specialist or cardiac surgeon if your condition needs surgical treatment.
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