There is currently a shortage of cardiologists in the United States.
Industry experts suspect the shortage will only worsen to criticial
levels as the baby boomer generation gets older, and demand for these
specialty doctors increases.
The heart is a complex system of muscle, valves, and blood vessels and
arteries. Some heart diseases come from birth defects, while others are
the result of a poor lifestyle, or aging. Proper diagnosis requires a
careful investigation into the patient’s medical and family history and
lifestyle, because the symptoms for one condition can easily mimic
A heart arrhythmia, abnormal electrical activity in the organ, is one
such symptom that could be the result of another cardiac issue that
would require a specialist to thoroughly examine the patient to find the
direct cause, and the correct treatment. Chest pains, fatigue, and
shortness of breath are all symptoms of heart disease.
Coronary heart disease, the most common form of heart disease, develops
when blood vessels become narrow, decreasing circulation of blood and
oxygen to the heart. Without proper circulation, cardiac arrest is
likely. Usually, noninvasive test such as chest x-rays, an MRI, or CT
Scan can successfully diagnose the condition. These tests are performed
by a cardiologist and provide imaging to see if there are blockages that
are keeping the heart from pumping efficiently.
Other tests, like Echocardiograms, allow the specialist to listen to
cardiac rhythms to find irregularities. Invasive testing, ones that
require tissue samples, are also performed by the cardiologist. Once
diagnosis is successful, the specialist might first treat the condition
with lifestyle changes including weight control, exercise, and a healthy
diet. Along with these lifestyle changes, the doctor will sometimes
prescribe medications that can help treat this blockage, and restore the
organ to normal efficiency. If it is determined that the blockage will
require surgical intervention, the doctor will refer the patient to a
cardiac surgeon, who will perform a by-pass surgery, install a stent, or
a heart transplant.
Cardiomyopathy is a form of heart muscle disease, it is a chronic
condition caused by an abnormal enlargement, thickening, or stiffening
of the heart. There are several different diseases that fall under this
umbrella of cardiac disease. There are a number of causes, with the most
common being a direct result of the lack of blood flow to the heart, or
coronary heart disease. Other causes include infection, drug use,
genetics, and diabetes. Treatment options for this issue vary. When the
cause and type of cardiomyopathy is identified, treatment is
concentrated on healing the cause, whether it be diet, alcoholism, or
too much stress. The doctor may prescribe medication to specifically
treat the type of cardiomyopathy.
Behind the brain, the heart is the second-most vital organ in the human
body, yet heart disease accounts for a quarter of all deaths in the
United States. All cardiac diseases can lead to sudden cardiac arrest,
and death. As the population ages, the demand for cardiologists will
only increase. These doctors recommend prevention to avoid disease. This
includes regular exercise and a healthy diet.
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