A cardiologist is a trained physician specialising in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases relating to the cardiovascular system. This is made up of the heart and blood vessels. A cardiologist is not the same as a cardiac surgeon. A cardiac surgeon will open the chest and perform surgery. Cardiologists may, however, insert pacemakers and conduct other procedures such as angioplasty and heart catheterisation. They will also carry out tests for diagnosis.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may resemble those of a heart condition, your GP or primary care doctor may refer you to a cardiologist. Some of the symptoms include: changes in the beat or rhythm of the heart, pain in the chest, high blood pressure, dizziness, shortness of breath. As well as helping you with treatment and diagnosis, your cardiologist can also offer advice about preventing heart disease.
You may also need to consult a cardiologist even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. If you: have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, are or were a smoker, have diabetes, or starting a new exercise program.