Heart Health

Cardiology specialists: When you need extra expertise

Primary care providers can help people manage their blood pressure and cholesterol. But those with additional risks for heart disease should consider consulting a cardiologist.


Seeing a cardiologist is standard practice after you've experienced a heart attack or other serious heart problem. But in certain situations, you may want to consult a physician who specializes in managing heart disease even if you haven't had a heart-related scare.

"We encourage people with a family history of premature heart disease or who have many risk factors for heart disease to consider an evaluation by a cardiologist," explains cardiologist Dr. Michelle O'Donoghue, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. A premature heart attack is one that occurs before age 55 in a man or before age 65 in a woman. If you have a parent or sibling who falls into that category, make sure your primary care provider knows, as your odds of heart disease are higher than average.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.