Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of conditions related to the heart and blood vessels.
A patient may be referred to a cardiologist if he experiences symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, or high blood pressure. The physician will then evaluate your symptoms, take your health and family history and your weight. The cardiologist may order additional diagnostic tests, such as an echocardiogram, X-ray or blood tests. If necessary, the cardiologist may also call for a cardiac catheterization – a procedure in which a small tube is inserted into or near the heart that can take pictures of the heart’s activity, or relieve blockage.
Once determining whether there is a heart condition, a cardiologist will treat a patient through cholesterol management, cardiac rehabilitation, and fitness. If surgical intervention is required, like open-heart surgery, a cardiologist will make that determination, but a cardiothoracic surgeon will perform the procedure.
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A Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a medical degree, the meaning of which varies between different jurisdictions. In some countries, the MD denotes a first professional graduate degree awarded upon initial graduation from medical school. In other countries, the MD denotes an academic research doctorate, higher doctorate, honorary doctorate or advanced clinical coursework degree restricted to medical graduates; in those countries, the equivalent first professional degree is titled differently (for example, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in countries following the tradition of the United Kingdom)
In 1703, the University of Glasgow's first medical graduate, Samuel Benion, was issued with the academic degree of Doctor of Medicine.
University medical education in England culminated with the MB qualification, and in Scotland the MD, until in the mid-19th century the public bodies who regulated medical practice at the time required practitioners in Scotland as well as England to hold the dual Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees (MB BS/MBChB/MB BChir/BM BCh etc.). North American medical schools switched to the tradition of the ancient universities of Scotland and began granting the MoD title rather than the MB beginning in the late 18th century. The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York (which at the time was referred to as King's College of Medicine) was the first American university to grant the MD degree instead of the MB.
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Early medical schools in North America that granted the Doctor of Medicine degrees were Columbia, Penn, Harvard, Maryland, and McGill. These first few North American medical schools that were established were (for the most part) founded by physicians and surgeons who had been trained in England and Scotland.
A feminine form, "Doctress of Medicine" or Medicinae Doctrix, has also been used by the New England Female Medical College in Boston in the 1860s. In most countries having a Doctor of Medicine degree does not mean that the individual will be allowed to practice medicine. Typically a doctor must go through a residency (medicine) for at least four years and take some form of licensing examination in their jurisdiction.