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Talking to Your Doctor about Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with PAD. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

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 things you may have missed.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn 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 Symptomatic Disease

  • Will I develop symptoms in the future? How soon will that happen?

About Your Risk of Developing Severe Complications

  • How likely is it that I will have complications like infection or gangrene ?

About Treatment Options

  • Can you help me with foot care and advice, or do I have to see a podiatrist?
  • What medications do you recommend?
    • What effects, both positive and negative, can I expect?
    • Will they interact with anything I am already taking?
    • How long will I have to take them?
  • Are there alternative therapies that have been shown to help treat PAD?
  • Will surgery ever be necessary?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Am I doing all I can to address the causes of this condition to help keep it from getting worse?
  • Please give me the information I need to engage in a proper, safe exercise program.

About Outlook

  • What can I expect in the future?
  • Do I have any other conditions that affect my blood vessels?
  • How and why does PAD (with other conditions) affect my risk for heart attack and stroke ?
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References:

Heart-to-heart. Talking to your doctor. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 26, 2015. Accessed June 13, 2016.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated August 11, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.
Preparing for medical visits. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated February 15, 2016. Accessed June 13, 2016.
Talking to your doctor. National Institutes of Health website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 27, 2016. Accessed June 13, 2016.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2014. Accessed June 13, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 5/20/2015

 

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