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Coronary Artery Disease: Roles of Different Doctors

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Nurse educator

While primary care physicians serve as central coordinators of care for many people with CAD, nurse educators are valuable resources as well.

In addition to serving as a care coordinator, your nurse educator will serve other important functions. For example, a professional educator may be the first one to help you understand CAD, begin your treatment plan, teach you about the effects of various medicines on your condition, and help you with lifestyle changes.

One of the nurse educator's most important roles is to provide you with the information you need about your disease as you are ready to handle it. You will have CAD for the rest of your life, and your nurse educator can be there with the information that you need to adapt to changes in your condition.

Cardiac rehabilitation team

A cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program teaches you how to be more active and make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health. A cardiac rehab team often includes a doctor, a nurse specialist, a dietitian, an exercise therapist, and a physical therapist. The team designs a program just for you, based on your health and goals. Then they give you support to help you succeed.

Dietitian

Because what you eat has a big effect on your coronary artery disease, you may seek the aid of a dietitian or nutritionist to help you develop a heart-healthy diet. If you also have high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes, it may be important to limit salt and sugar intake as well.

Dietitians are trained in nutrition and are experienced in helping individuals make lifestyle changes. They understand that adjustments to your eating habits can be the hardest changes to make. And they can help you take small steps toward the larger goal of a balanced diet.

Mental health professional

Many people with serious conditions such as CAD experience depression, either independently or as a result of their physical condition. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers can help you deal with the mental challenges associated with any CAD-related complications that you may have. Also, they can help you learn to manage the stress in your life, which can have a direct bearing on the success of your treatment plan.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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