Cardiology is a field of medicine that specializes in the health of the heart, as well as the rest of the cardiovascular system.
Most patients who go to cardiologists are having a problem with their heart. For instance, they may have an illness, disorder, injury or defect that prevents their heart from functioning properly. One of the most common ailments that a cardiologist treats is heart attacks. Some other heart problems include cardiac arrhythmias, genetic heart abnormalities, injuries to the heart, congestive heart failure and aortic stenosis (narrowing of the vessel).
A cardiologist also treats disorders and illnesses that affect the rest of the cardiovascular system, including the extensive network of blood vessels, veins and arteries that permeate the body. Cardiologists help patients keep their cardiovascular systems as healthy as possible and work to help prevent cardiac problems.
Doctors specializing in nuclear cardiology may inject dyes to measure and evaluate how well blood is flowing within the arteries. During the procedure, doctors can locate plaque deposits, collect blood samples and assess the functioning ability of the heart's chambers and valves to see if there are blockages or narrowing of the arteries.
Cardiac electrophysiology focuses on studying and treating the heart's electrical activity, and echocardiography takes a moving sonogram of your heart's activity.
Becoming a cardiologist requires years of education and extensive specialized training. A cardiologist must complete general medical school, in addition to training in internal medicine and cardiology, which often adds up to ten or more years of education.
A cardiologist also must complete an internal medicine residency and a cardiovascular fellowship training residency. The last step toward becoming certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine as a cardiologist is passing the cardiovascular disease certification examination.