• Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Heart Attack

     
     
     
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    4/04/2012

    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your individual risk for having a heart attack or about recovery and prevention if you have already had one. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.

    If you are concerned about your risk for a first heart attack…

    • Based on my family history, am I at high risk for a heart attack?
    • Based on my personal history, am I at high risk for a heart attack?
    • What can I do to help prevent a heart attack? 
    • Are the symptoms I have been having a warning sign of heart disease?
    • Do my cholesterol levels put me at risk for a heart attack? If so, what can I do to get my cholesterol to goal levels?
    • Is my weight within a healthy range?
    • Can you help me quit smoking? (If you smoke.)
    • Is my blood pressure within the normal range? Can you help me control high blood pressure?
    • What dietary choices should I be making for cardiovascular health?
    • What level of exercise is safe for me and will also have cardiovascular benefits?
    • If I have diabetes, what can I do to control it better?

    If you have had a heart attack…

    If you have been treated for a heart attack, it is normal to be worried and to want as much information about likely outcomes as possible. The months following a heart attack can be a particularly difficult time, as you recover from the heart attack and any procedures you had performed, adopt new lifestyle and medication routines, and manage any emotional responses you may have to your experience.

    The questions below can lay the groundwork for a discussion between you and your physician about what comes next after a heart attack.

    • What is my prognosis? What are the likely outcomes?
    • What will recovery look like for me after the heart attack and any procedures I was treated with, such as angioplasty and stenting or bypass surgery?
    • What follow-up will be necessary?
    • Will I be able to have my desired quality of life? What can I do to improve the odds of this?
    • Can you recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program?
    • What lifestyle changes do I need to make?
    • Are my cholesterol levels putting me at risk for a recurrent heart attack? If so, what can I do to get my cholesterol to goal levels?
    • If I have diabetes, what can I do to control it better?
    • What do I need to know about the medications that have been prescribed?
    • Who can I turn to for support (hospital staff, support groups, etc.)?  

    Please print this list of questions here. Take them with you to the doctor and share them with friends and loved ones when you are encouraging them to see their doctors.