Talking to Your Doctor About Heart Disease

One of the most important things you can do to take care of your health is to learn to speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns.  Many people go to the doctor and become intimidated by the person who’s examining them.

 Instead of asking the right questions, some patients simply hope that the doctor explains what they need to know. In today’s world of HMOs, doctors have more patients than ever and less time to spend with them.

 It’s up to you as the patient to make sure you press to get your questions answered.  But what if you don’t even know what to ask?  There are several things you should discuss with your doctor when it comes to your heart health.

This is especially true if you’re a woman, because doctors are less likely to bring up heart disease with women, even though they account for half the heart disease deaths. You need to ask your doctor what your blood pressure is and what it ought to be.

You should also find out about your blood cholesterol and glucose levels to find out if they’re normal.  Ask your doctor what kinds of screening tests you should have at your current age and in the near future.

If you’re prescribed medication, you should ask about drug interactions, why the drug was prescribed, what kind of side effects it has, and how long you’ll need to take it.  You should also find out if you need to have subsequent tests to make sure that the medication isn’t harming your body, such as liver function tests.

If you find that you forget to ask questions that are on your mind, it helps to write down a list of your questions that you can refer to when talking to the doctor.  You should also bring a list of any medications you’re currently taking with you.

This is especially true if you have more than one doctor.  You should also make a list of any treatments or surgeries you’ve had in the past in addition to any serious illnesses you’ve dealt with in your life.  This information needs to be part of your medical chart.

Finally, if you’re concerned that you might not be able to remember what your doctor says, you may want to take notes or even tape record your appointment.  This will help you to refer back for your doctor’s advice.  And don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if your doctor is prescribing a treatment or surgery or if you feel like your doctor didn’t address your concerns.

 

 

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