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You have your own health past. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with heart disease. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Bring the list of current medicine with you.
  • Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Developing Heart Disease and Heart Attack

  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for a heart attack?
  • How do I best prevent heart disease and heart attack?
  • How do I know if my blood pressure or cholesterol is high?

About Treatment Options

  • What are the risks and benefits of the various methods to reopen the artery?
  • What medicine is available to help me?
    • What are the benefits and side effects of these medicines?
    • Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • How soon after my heart attack can I begin exercising?
    • What type of exercise is best?
    • How much should I be exercising?
    • How do I get started with an exercise program?
  • Do I have to change my diet? If so, how do I go about it?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • Do I need to lose weight? If so, how much?
  • How soon after my heart attack is it safe to have sex?

About Your Outlook

  • How do I know if my cholesterol and blood pressure are staying within healthy limits?
  • How often will you monitor my blood pressure and cholesterol levels?
  • How likely am I to have another heart attack?
  • How extensive is the damage to my heart? How will that affect my quality of life?
REFERENCES:

Acute coronary syndromes. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116779/Acute-coronary-syndromes. Updated March 15, 2019. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Heart-to-heart. Talking to your doctor. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/doctor-appointments-questions-to-ask-your-doctor/heart-to-heart-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Preparing for medical visits. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiac-rehab/communicating-with-professionals/preparing-for-medical-visits. March 26, 2019.

ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115392/ST-elevation-myocardial-infarction-STEMI. Updated July 10, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC  Last Updated: 3/26/2019