A startling health statistic shows that one out of every four deaths is related to some form of heart disease. That means that roughly 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States, every year.
In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in America. That is why cardiology, a branch of internal medicine that concentrates on the diseases and disorders of the circulatory system (heart and blood vessels) is so critical.
Cardiologists can expect to treat a wide range of conditions and disorders including congenital defects, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
This explains why doctors who choose cardiology as a specialty can expect to complete at least another three years of internal medicine training; cardiologists have to complete an additional three or more years of intensive training, after they finish medical school.
The field is so complex, that many cardiologists specialize in different areas such as pediatric cardiology (diagnosing and treating heart problems in children), adult cardiology, and other subspecialties in cardiology such as focusing on interventional cardiac procedures (balloon angioplasty and stent placement), echocardiography, or electrophysiology.
Who needs to see a Cardiologist?
Any patient who has a disorder, injury, or condition that affects the heart or blood vessels can be seen by a cardiologist. Certain conditions, like diabetes, frequently need to be seen by a cardiologist. Other symptoms that might prompt your primary care doctor to send you to a cardiologist might include high blood pressure, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pains, low blood pressure, and changes in heart rate or rhythm.
Other diseases and conditions treated by cardiologists include:
- Angina (chest pain caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart)
- Aneurisms (a bulge or weakening of an artery wall)
- Bradycardia (slow pulse)
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiomyopathy (a disorder where heart function is impaired)
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Heart murmur (sounds that indicate turbulent blood flow in or near the heart)
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
A patient may also need to see a cardiologist even though they have not exhibited classic symptoms. If, for instance, a patient has a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, perhaps they are or have been a smoker, if they have diabetes or have a family history of diabetes, then a visit to a cardiologist is recommended.
You might also visit a cardiologist so you can learn about your risk factors for heart disease and find out what measures you can take for better heart health. A cardiologist can give advice on how to prevent heart diseases such as high cholesterol, hypertension, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure or hypertension, and may very well catch an underlying problem before it becomes a bigger issue.
If you, or a loved one is looking for effective, comprehensive cardiac care, look to the dedicated internal medicine doctors of Intercoastal Medical Group. Call (941) 362-8662 for an appointment today with one of our highly qualified, caring cardiologists. You can also request an appointment online now.