Cardiology

Cardiology is the study and treatment of disorders of the heart and the blood vessels. A person with heart disease or cardiovascular disease may be referred to a cardiologist. A cardiologist specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the cardiovascular system. The cardiologist will carry out tests, and they may perform some procedures, such as heart catheterizations, angioplasty, or inserting a pacemaker.

Heart disease relates specifically to the heart, while cardiovascular disease affects the heart, the blood vessels, or both.

When would I need a cardiologist?

If a person has symptoms of a heart condition, their physician may refer them to a cardiologist. Symptoms that can indicate a heart problem include:

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • chest pains
  • changes in heart rate or rhythm
  • high blood pressure

They often treat patients who have had a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problems. They help make decisions about heart surgery, heart catheterization, and angioplasty and stenting.

Heart diseases that a cardiologist can help with include:

  • atherosclerosis
  • atrial fibrillation
  • arrhythmias
  • congenital heart disease
  • coronary heart disease
  • congestive heart disease
  • high blood cholesterol and triglycerides
  • hypertension
  • pericarditis
  • ventricular tachycardia
  • high blood pressure, or hypertension

A person may need to see a cardiologist even without symptoms, if they have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, if they are or have been a smoker, if they have diabetes, or if they are starting a new exercise program