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Talking to Your Doctor About Stroke

Talk to your doctor about your health goals. Ask questions to learn about your health and care plan. Talking to your care team can lead to better results.

Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips to help you to talk to your doctor:

  • Don't go alone. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you hear. Ask the doctor to explain anything you don’t understand.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Also, ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Stroke

  • What has my stroke changed?
    • My thought process
    • How I speak or understand words
    • How I understand things around me
    • How I move
  • Will I get back any of these skills?
  • How long will it take to get back to where I was?

About Your Risk

  • How high is my risk of stroke?
  • Do I need to take medicine to lower my risk?
  • Are there tests I should take to better know what my risk is?
  • What habits can I make to lower my risk?
  • Can I stop taking medicine if I eat heart healthy foods and stay active?

About Treatment Choices

  • What treatments are available to me?
  • What type of rehab programs am I going to need?
  • How long does rehab last?
  • What could happen without treatment?
  • What medicines are available to me?
    • What are the benefits and side effects?
    • Will these medicines get in the way of other medicine, or over the counter drugs? What dietary or herbal supplements should I take or avoid?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What is my long-term outlook for:
    • Work
    • Daily tasks
    • Physical activity and exercise
    • Mental function
  • How will this affect my family?
  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • Should I make any changes to the foods that I eat? How do I do this?
  • Should I start working out?
    • What kind of program is best?
    • How often should I exercise?
    • How do I get started?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help quitting smoking?

About Your Outlook

  • Are there any support groups for myself and my family?
  • What are the chances I will have another stroke after treatment?
  • How will I know if my treatment has helped?
  • What will recovery be like?
  • How often will I need check-ups?
REFERENCES:

Preparing for medical visits. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacRehab/Preparing-for-Medical-Visits_UCM_307053_Article.jsp#.Vnr5xE2FPIU. Updated January 31, 2018. Accessed January 18, 2019.

Talking to your doctor. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nih.gov/institutes-nih/nih-office-director/office-communications-public-liaison/clear-communication/talking-your-doctor. Updated December 10, 2018. Accessed January 18, 2019.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed January 18, 2019.

Winstein CJ, Stein J, Arena R, et al, American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research.. Guidelines for Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2016 Jun;47(6):e98-e169 full-text, corrections can be found in Stroke 2017 Feb;48(2):e78 and Stroke 2017 Dec;48(12):e369.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardRimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 1/18/2019