The medical specialty of cardiology encompasses the treatment of heart disease. Generally, three types of cardiology specialists provide medical care: the cardiologist, the pediatric cardiologist, and the cardiothoracic surgeon.
While the cardiologist specializes in treating adults, the pediatric cardiologist specializes in treating infants, children, and teenagers. The cardiologist and pediatric cardiologists provide nonsurgical treatments to detect, prevent, and treat heart and vascular diseases, while the cardiothoracic surgeon performs surgeries to treat cardiovascular disorders. Some of these critical, lifesaving surgeries include coronary artery bypass, valve replacement or repairs, heart transplants, and repairs of complex heart problems present from birth (congenital heart disease).
An interventional cardiologist performs other invasive procedures, such as angioplasty, pacemaker insertion, and implantable cardioverter defibrillator insertion. The physician who further specializes in surgical treatment of blood vessels and vascular disorders is a vascular surgeon.
Immunology is the medical specialty that encompasses the study of the various elements of the immune system and their functions. The immune system is the body’s defense against cancer and foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. The ability to fight off disease and protect the body depends on an adequate functioning immune response. An immunologist is the medical specialist who studies and treats the body’s defense mechanism against invasion of foreign substances that cause diseases.
The immunologist is consulted when the immune system breaks down and the body loses its ability to recognize antigens or its ability to mount an attack against them. Our immune system also has the ability to react in a manner disadvantageous to our own body by way of allergic and autoimmune diseases. Thus, immunologists treat patients with immunodeficiency diseases, such as AIDS; immune complex diseases, such as malaria and viral hepatitis; autoimmune diseases, such as lupus; transplanted cells and organs; allergies; and various cancer types related to the immune system.
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