At The Memphis Medical Society, we unite physicians across Shelby County to serve residents better. Our directory helps patients in need find a doctor and community members match up with available volunteer opportunities. If you’re wondering whether you need to see a cardiovascular specialist, we can help point you in the right direction. 


What Does a Cardiovascular Specialist Do?

A cardiovascular specialist is a medical professional who performs various tests and procedures related to heart health. They may perform pacemaker insertions, angioplasty and heart catheterizations. A cardiovascular specialist is a broader term that encompasses many types of doctors, one of which is a cardiologist. Other types of cardiovascular specialists are:

  • Cardiac surgeon
  • Vascular surgeon
  • Cardio oncologist
  • Cardiac rehabilitation specialist

The role of a cardiovascular specialist is to find and treat disease related to the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease). Under the umbrella of work as a cardiovascular specialist, this individual may perform various duties, including:

  • Gathering and studying patient records 
  • Ordering various tests for patients related to the heart and arteries (electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and CTs)
  • Prepping patients/equipment for cardiac catheterization
  • Operating imaging equipment 
  • Heart surgery and other critical procedures 


What Are the Causes, Risks and Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease is a significant health problem in the United States and must be identified in its early stages for preventative action and health management steps to be taken. Learning to recognize the causes, symptoms and risks of cardiovascular disease can help you understand when to see a doctor. 

What Causes Cardiovascular Disease?

The WHO (World Health Organization) cites cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of death globally. Cardiovascular diseases refer to disorders of the blood vessels and heart. Illnesses that fall into this category include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cardiomyopathy, heart valve disease, congenital heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and rheumatic heart disease. 

Depending on the type of cardiovascular disease a person is diagnosed with, there are many potential causes. For example, in congenital heart disease, birth defects affect the development and function of the heart, meaning no lifestyle change could’ve prevented the disease. In the case of rheumatic heart disease, an infection from streptococcal bacteria is the root cause. In other cases, lifestyle choices increase a person’s risk factors of developing these diseases. 

What Increases Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

According to the CDC, the risk of heart attack and stroke from cardiovascular disease increases in individuals who are obese or overweight. An unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and obesity are significant risk factors for heart problems. Other risk factors like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol increase the chance of developing complications from cardiovascular disease. 

The CDC also notes that a family history of heart disease can increase your chance of developing heart disease or high blood pressure. 

Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease

Learn to recognize the signs of cardiovascular disease in yourself so you can contact your healthcare team for further tests if you develop these symptoms:

  • Sudden pain or discomfort in your chest 
  • Sudden pain or discomfort in your arm, left shoulder, jaw or back
  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Sudden nausea or vomiting 
  • Numbness in your face, leg or arm 
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Confusion 
  • Severe headache (without a known cause)
  • Fainting 
  • Loss of coordination/balance 
  • Abnormal heart rhythms 
  • Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes 


When Should I See a Cardiovascular Specialist?

Your heart health is essential to your quality of life, so it’s important to talk to your doctors about a family history of cardiovascular disease. Making your physicians aware of increased risk factors or symptoms that indicate heart disease help them take action quickly. You should see a cardiovascular specialist if:

  • You notice symptoms consistent with cardiovascular diseases
  • You have a family history of heart disease 
  • Your heart health or lifestyle puts you at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke 

Find a cardiovascular specialist near you through our directory. We’ll get you where you need to be in no time.