The Author: Latvijas Avīze / Veselības centrs 4
Cardiologist diagnoses hear diseases (including coronary artery, myocardial and valve diseases, as well as arrhythmias). The specialist treats the diseases by using medicational and non-medicational (transcathetral) methods.
Cardiologist usually auscultates the heart and lungs with a phonendoscope (stethoscope), measures blood pressure, checks lower legs for oedema, as well as palpates the abdomen (to check for enlarged liver).
If a suspicion of any heart disease occurs, an echocardiogram is performed, which is the ''corner stone'' of cardiological diagnostics. It is an indispensable instrument of a modern cardiologist.
Based on echocardiology data, the diagnosis can be determined, therapy tactics can be chosen and, if required, other additional examinations can be performed, for instance, an electrocardiogram (if it has not been performed earlier), a stress test (most commonly – veloergometry). Additional blood tests are often required (including tests of thyroid hormones, blood iron level tests, etc.), as well as computed tomography examination or magnetic resonance imaging examination of the heart.
If coronary artery disease (constricted or obstructed coronary arteries of the heart) is suspected, coronary angiography must be performed. If arrhythmias are suspected – Holter monitoring – a 24-48 hour recording of electrocardiogram in outpatient (home) setting.
Five alarm signals that point to the need of visiting a cardiologist
- If seizure-like (usually last for a few minutes) pressing or choking pain occur before sternum during physical exercise or at rest.
- If dyspnoea (shortness of breath), fatigue during physical exercise occur and oedema of legs also occur sometimes.
- If seizure like or constant palpitations (sensations of fast or irregular heart rate).
- If an increased blood pressure occurs at least in two measurements – >140/90 mmHg.
- If you smoke, are overweight, if you have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, sedentary lifestyle, if you use salty food, use alcohol in excess, but are sure that you ARE ALL RIGHT. CAUTION! You are living on a powder barrel!
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