Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Doctors
diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD) is your best chance
for a good outcome. If you have any reason to believe you may have heart
disease, you should see your doctor.
Primary Care Physician
Your primary care doctor, such as an internist or general
practitioner, is the first doctor to see if you are having symptoms of heart
disease. They will likely suggest preventive lifestyle changes, prescribe any
necessary medication, coordinate your general medical care, and maintain your
medical records. Your doctor may also refer you to specialists, such as a
Your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist for further evaluation
and treatment. A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of
people who have heart problems. A cardiologist will likely conduct a variety of
diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have CAD.
If you need to have open-heart surgery, it will be performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon. An interventional cardiologist or
cardiovascular radiologist will
perform balloon angioplasty, stent placement procedures, diagnostic
catheterization, and other minimally invasive procedures.
Preparing to See Your Doctor
often has no symptoms. You may discover you have CAD as the result of a routine
physical exam. If you are having symptoms, preparation will help you get the
most from your doctor’s appointment.
Information to Bring to Your Appointment
with the following information handy will be helpful.
- your symptoms and how long you have had them
- all medications and supplements you are taking
- all medical conditions you have
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Having a list of questions written in advance will help
you remember what you want to ask. If you are seeing your primary care
physician, you may want to ask some of the following questions:
- What do you
think is causing my symptoms?
- What tests do I
- Should I see a
- What should I do
in the meantime?
- What symptoms
might mean I need emergency care?
If you have been referred to a cardiologist, you may want
to ask these questions:
- What exactly do
- What medications
do I need to take?
- Are there any
- What can I
expect in the future?
- Will diet and
lifestyle changes help? Will they be enough?
- Do I or will I
- Will I get
These questions are samples. You should add your own to
Questions Your Doctor Will Ask You
You should be prepared to answer the following questions
from your doctor:
- What are your
- How long have
you had them?
- Have they gotten
worse over time?
- Does exertion
make them worse?
- Do you have
- Do you have
shortness of breath?
- Does anyone in
your family have a heart condition?
- What other
medical conditions do you have?
- What medications
are you taking?
- How much do you
- What is your
- Do you smoke? How
- Do you drink?
- Do you use drugs
such as cocaine or methamphetamines?
- Have you ever
had radiation therapy?
Coping, Support, and Resources
diagnosed with CAD can cause fear, anxiety, stress, and depression. Talk to
family and friends about how you feel. Tell your doctor about your feelings, as
well. He or she may recommend that you consult a mental health professional.
Talking with a therapist can help you deal with the feelings you are having.
You might also want to join a support group. It is helpful to interact with
other people who are having similar experiences and feelings and learn about
how they are coping.