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1. What does a Heart specialist do?
A heart specialist carries out tests to identify abnormal heart rhythms, blood vessel blockages and heart murmurs. He or she helps provide treatment to people with heart problems, or who have had heart failure or heart attack. Heart specialists also help people decide about placing stents, heart surgeries, and procedures like heart catheterization and angioplasty.
2. When do you need to see a cardiologist?
You need to visit a cardiologist if you:
• Experience chest pain
• Experience dizziness, palpitations or shortness of breath
• Have a high blood pressure
• Have chronic kidney disease
• Have a history of smoking
• Have peripheral artery disease
• Have diabetes
• Have a family history of high cholesterol or heart diseases
• You have a sedentary lifestyle
3. What to expect at your first visit to heart specialist?
The cardiologist will go through your medical history in detail at your first visit. He/she will do an assessment of risk factors for coronary artery disease. Your heart rate and blood pressure measurements as well as an electrocardiogram might be taken. The cardiologist will perform a complete vascular and cardiac physical exam.
4. How do heart-specialist check for blocked arteries?
Heart-specialists might order one or more of these tests to detect blockages in your arteries:
• A positron emission tomography (PET) scan
• Cholesterol screening blood tests like lipid profile
• A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
• Chest X-ray
• A computerized tomography (CT) scan
• Echocardiogram along or with a cardiac stress test
5. Can you see a heart-specilist directly?
You might need a referral from your family doctor if your insurance plan requires you to take it. Otherwise, you can visit a cardiologist without a reference, if you suspect heart disease.