Talking to Your Doctor About Lipid Disorders

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with lipid disorders. 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 them hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions beforehand so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. 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. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Lipid Disorders

  • What is my total cholesterol?
  • What are my LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels?
  • What is my ratio of HDL to total cholesterol? What does this mean?
  • What range should my levels be in?
  • How will my lipid levels affect my risk for heart disease?

About Your Risk of Developing Lipid Disorders

  • How does my health past, habits, and family background relate to my risk?
  • Can I prevent this problem?

About Treatment Options

  • Will I have to take medicine?
    • What are good and bad points of taking of these medicines?
    • Will they interact with other medicines, over-the-counter products, supplements I am taking for other health problems?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
  • How long will I have to take medicine?
  • Can I take fish oil or niacin?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Should I exercise?
    • What type of is best?
    • How much should I be exercising?
    • How do I get started with a program?
  • How do I get started with a program?
  • Should I change the foods I eat or meet with a dietitian?
  • Should I stop drinking?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • Do I need to lose weight? If so, how much? How do I go about doing it safely?
  • Will I still need medicine if I change my habits?

About Treatment Goals

  • How will I know if the medicine is working?
  • How will I know if my levels are in a healthy range?
  • How often will my levels need to be checked?
  • Can I stop taking medicine when my levels are in the right range?

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed May 24, 2019.

Communicating with professionals. American Heart Association website. Available at: Accessed May 24, 2019.

Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD  Last Updated: 5/24/2019