Heart problems are very common health issues around the globe, and every different type of heart problem will require a different treatment, however they all have some similar warning signs. Common symptoms of coronary artery disease are angina, or chest pain. Angina is described as a discomfort, pressure, or a painful feeling in your chest. It is often mistaken for indigestion or heartburn; however it’s often felt in other parts of the body like shoulders, or back.
It is vital to see a doctor for examination and treatment, and no matter what the problem is, or how big or small, chances are at some point in your life if you don’t take care of yourself, you will end up visiting a cardiologist.
Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in the heart, blood vessels, and the rest of the cardiovascular system. Cardiologists treat a range of conditions including hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart murmurs and heart attacks and they also practice medicine to prevent, diagnose or treat heart disease. They often also perform minor surgical procedures. Cardiologists gain extensive education relating to the heart and the body’s blood vessels; sometimes up to 6 or more years of study.
A lot of heart problems are enduring long-term conditions and part of what cardiologists do, is to concentrate on preventative medicine to reverse or neutralize heart disease progression. They carry out interviews and physical examinations to evaluate a person’s heart health and predict potential issues.
An echocardiogram (ECG) is an analytic tool used by cardiologists for interpretation of a patient’s heart health, by creating an image of the heart and recording its functionality. They often perform and interpret other forms of tests, to get results from blood and urine tests to help confirm a diagnosis or treatment plan, stress tests which measure how a heart performs under physical stress, and cardiac catheterisation tests using micro-cameras placed inside the heart.
Electrophysiology is another specialty type of treatment performed by a cardiologist for treatment of heart rhythm disorders. These specialist cardiologists insert pacemakers through a surgical procedure into their patients.
Cardiologists receive referrals from other doctors who need to confirm suspected cardiovascular conditions, or for specific treatments based on their knowledge. Cardiologists are also on call in hospitals for when they are required to treat patients with heart failure, serious arrhythmia or heart attacks.
Although normal cardiologists are not usually surgeons, minor invasive procedures are usually performed by them. More specialised procedures will be performed by surgeons known as cardiothoracic surgeons.
Cardiothoracic surgeons specialise mainly in surgical procedures of the lungs, heart, and other organs within the chest. Cardiothoracic surgeons include general thoracic surgeons, cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, or congenital heart surgeons. Coronary disease is the most common disease seen by cardiothoracic surgeons.
Cardiac or cardiovascular surgeons often treat:
- Coronary artery disease
- Blockages in the heart valves
- Leaking heart valves
- Heart failure
If you are experiencing heart problems, contact your doctor, for a cardiologist referral.