Heart attacks can turn your world upside-down and affect your body in many ways. As you recover, you’ll need to make certain changes to your lifestyle in order to prevent another heart attack from occurring. But your primary care doctor may not have all the information you need to successfully prevent another heart attack. That’s where specialists come in: a heart specialist, called a cardiologist, has the right skills and insight to help you keep your heart healthy. Here’s why: 1. A cardiologist completes extensive training in heart disease and is an expert in caring for your heart. A cardiologist is a physician who specializes in treating heart diseases. Cardiologists must train extensively to master this area of study. A cardiologist will have expertise in helping you prevent heart attacks and other heart conditions. All doctors complete a training program called a residency after they finish medical school. But cardiologists receive considerable training beyond that. Cardiologists spend several additional years in a fellowship, during which they train under experienced cardiologists and focus on patients with heart disease. At the end of this period, specialists can take an exam to become board-certified cardiologists. Look for a doctor who is board certified in cardiology and you’ll know you’re seeing a heart expert. 2. A cardiologist never stops learning about the heart. To maintain their board certifications, cardiologists must keep up with new developments in their field. They must complete continuing education and renew their licenses every few years, depending on the state in which they practice and other factors. By following these requirements, board-certified cardiologists stay on top of new treatments and discoveries about the mechanisms involved in heart attacks and heart disease so they can then provide their patients with insightful, informed, and up-to-date treatment plans. 3. A cardiologist has extensive experience in helping patients prevent heart attacks. Cardiologists see a higher volume and concentration of patients recovering from heart attacks and thus are more experienced in treating them successfully. Because they see lots of patients at high risk of heart attack, they can add real-world knowledge to their academic and clinical training. They’re able to assess how well patients respond to certain treatments, share insight about effectively implementing lifestyle changes, and recognize symptoms that a general practitioner may miss, among other skills. 4. A cardiologist is a team player. Cardiologists work with teams of other health care providers who treat patients with heart disease and can connect patients with nurse practitioners, dietitians, exercise physiologists, therapists, and other experts in heart disease management. Working with a team can help patients address all aspects of the disease and ensure success. 5. It’s easy to find the right cardiologist for you. There are thousands of cardiologists in the United States, so how do you know which is the right doctor for you? By searching on Healthgrades.com, you can identify the best cardiologist to help you keep your heart healthy.