If you are referred to a cardiologist, a doctor who specializes in the study or treatment of heart diseases and heart abnormalities, you can expect your first visit to be filled with a lot of information. Your cardiologist will go over, in more detail, why you have been referred to them, and how they plan to help you on your journey to maintaining a healthy heart. On your first visit to the cardiologist, they will also answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
It can be very overwhelming to visit a cardiologist for the first time. If you have been referred to a cardiologist by your primary care physician, it is because your risk factors for having a heart attack or developing heart disease are greater than normal, and simple lifestyle modifications and medications have not been able to help.
These risk factors may include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Being a heavy smoker or drinker
- High stress levels
Your primary care physician wouldn’t refer you to a cardiologist if they didn’t think your health was at serious risk, and that, in itself, can be scary.
To make you feel more at ease, there are several ways you can prepare for your first visit to the cardiologist. We share some helpful suggestions below.
5 Ways to Prepare Before Your First Cardiologist Appointment
1. Write Down A List Of Questions
A few examples include:
- Can you further explain the main reason I am visiting you today?
- What are the typical symptoms of heart disease?
- Will you be ordering further tests? If so, what are they and what will they show?
- What should my ideal blood pressure be?
- How often will I be visiting you versus my primary care physician?
- Should I continue taking medications that were previously prescribed to help treat my risk factors?
- What activities should I avoid doing?
- What changes to my diet should I make?
- Does a family history of heart disease have anything to do with my symptoms?
2. Compile A History Of Family Health and Your Personal Health
This way, your cardiologist won’t have to guess at how to move forward with treatment. They will have a clear and concise understanding of your health history and your family’s.
3. Bring A List Of All The Medications You Are Currently Taking
Again, by being totally transparent and organized, your cardiologist will be able to determine what will work for you in the future and what will not.
4. Write Down A List Of All The Symptoms You Have Been Experiencing
This is can be daunting, especially if you aren’t experiencing any severe symptoms. A helpful tip: After you set up your initial appointment with the cardiologist, keep a journal of your symptoms each day leading up to the appointment. This is easier than trying to think of every symptom you’ve been feeling on the day of the actual appointment.
5. Bring A List Of All Of Your Other Healthcare Providers
Having a copy handy of all your other doctors’ contact information will be very helpful to your cardiologist. For example, if you have diabetes (one of the risk factors for heart disease), your cardiologist may need to touch base with your endocrinologist about your blood sugar levels.
Your first visit to the cardiologist should leave you with a clear understanding of what is going on with your body and how you will be further treated. Keeping your heart healthy is a serious business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Visiting your cardiologist is the first step to living a healthier life.
For more information about heart disease, download our guide “The Heart Disease Facts That Could Change Your Life.” It includes tips on decreasing your risk of developing the disease.
Or take a look at our guide to simple tests that will predict your heart attack risk. One of the tests can tell you if you’re at risk for a heart attack in the next 10 years.