A primary care physician such as your family physician, an internist, or an obstetrician/gynecologist may be the first to determine that you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease and to initiate treatments. This physician might recommend dietary changes, exercise and medications. Or your primary care doctor may refer you to a heart specialist, or cardiologist, for further diagnosis and treatment.
If you are referred to a specialist, your primary care doctor will remain a part of your care team. Keeping your heart and arteries healthy is truly a team effort. Your care team will involve a team of medical professionals working with you on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, if necessary. All of these professionals must communicate to be sure you are receiving the most appropriate care. Throughout this process, your primary care physician will continue to have an important role, coordinating your care with specialists and various support teams.
While your primary care physician remains constant, other care team members will vary depending on the severity of your risk factors and the types of treatments that are recommended.