The easiest way to remember what questions to ask your cardiologist is to write them down. This is a critical step to take because it’s important to make the most of the time you have with your cardiologist and receive the best care possible. Coming prepared with a list of questions can help maximize your time and open clear lines of communication between you and your doctor. But how do you know which questions you should ask?
While the specific details of your discussion with your cardiologist will depend largely on your individual medical history, we’ve put together a list of five key questions to get the conversation started.
Understanding your risk factors is the first step in improving your health. Discuss what particular factors are putting you at risk and what steps you can take to reduce your risks. For instance, if your weight is a problem, talk to your doctor about how you can adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you’re a smoker, ask your doctor about how you can quit. And if you want to improve your diet, see if your doctor can point you in the right direction by recommending a dietitian you can trust.
If you have a family history of heart disease, your doctor will probably want to talk about how that history will affect your health plan moving forward. Make sure to compile a complete family health history with all of your close blood relatives going back to your grandparents. The more information your doctor has, the better he or she will be able to assess your risk level.
There are several lifestyle factors that can contribute to poor heart health, so make sure you are honest with your doctor about your current lifestyle to receive accurate advice for making improvements. These improvements could be as simple as finding ways to reduce stress or as significant as breaking a bad habit, like smoking or overeating.
If you are at risk for a heart attack, it’s important to know exactly what the warning signs are. Since this can vary based on your gender and history, you’ll want to know what signs you could experience and how to react.
Before you leave your appointment, make sure you have a clear understanding of your health plan going forward. Go ahead and get your next appointment on the calendar and discuss which, if any, diagnostic tests you may need. You should leave your appointment feeling confident that your heart health is in good hands with your cardiologist.
Doctor appointments can often be rushed and hectic. Preparing a list of questions to ask ahead of time is the best way to ensure you and your doctors are on the same page. Knowledge is power—especially when it comes to your heart health.
That's why it's also important to get regular screenings to ensure your health is optimal. Our guide “Cardiology Tests That Are Helping Hearts Stay Healthy” will explain how three minimally-invasive tests can predict your risk for heart attack.