It’s important to build a strong relationship with your doctor, one that above all else should be about comfort and trust. They need to know that you are honest with them, and you have to be confident that they can genuinely help you.
One of the most common mistakes patients make is lying to their doctor. It’s something perhaps often displayed in television drama series, but it’s also a fact. Whether it’s out of mistrust or fear, people often mislead or omit information. That’s the first mistake.
Reciprocity is required.
If you are honest with your doctor, then they would return the favor and explain in detail. It’s your health and your life, so you should gather all the information possible. Not to mention the fact that heart disease is a major concern for the world’s population.
Each test or even routine checkup should be a conversation, not a monologue filled with advice we can read about on the internet by ourselves. To make the visit go smoother and come out better informed, try to come prepared.
- Get your medical records ready;
- Explain the reason for your visit (concern, symptom, second opinion, etc.);
- Know your family history;
- Have a list of recent medication;
- Prepare questions;
The last point on the list is especially important for a more productive visit to alleviate your worries and those of your family. Most of us are used to heading into an examination room and answering the questions. However, it’s just as important to ask them.
Here are five of essential questions you should have an answer to by the end of a visit to your cardiologist.
What is Normal for My Heart?
Where it concerns their health, a lot of patients are panicked and often worry about the littlest of things. First of all, you should be well aware of what is normal for your heart, depending on your age and sex. Do not be concerned by every palpitation, but you should definitely ask your cardiologist if any symptom you’re feeling is normal. It may very well be chest discomfort not even connected to your heart, or it may be nothing. However, the stress of worry might negatively impact your health.
Ask your doctor what is normal for your heart, and find out what you should be concerned about. Never be embarrassed to ask.
What Can I Do to Avoid Heart Problems?
In medicine, there is such a thing as “too late”, so it’s best to avoid a problem instead of risking the need to fix it. While the information is readily available on the web on what you should do to avoid cardiovascular disease, it’s always best to directly ask your doctor. They have your information, records, and they can genuinely examine you. There is a general rule of thumb, a mix of exercise, good nutrition, and stress-free life.
However, there might be other factors that you have not considered. Ask your doctor for advice on what you can do to protect your heart. You only have one of them, so make certain that it’s healthy, and it will be kept that way for a long time.
How Grave is My Heart Problem?
You may be on the receiving end of bad news, but it’s not the end of the world. Make sure you’re well informed on your condition and its severity. Your doctor might inform you of how your heart is doing or list out a series of symptoms that you might not fully understand. Ask them how serious the issue is because you will be the one who has to fix it. Taking drastic measures might not be the right path, so get all the information you need.
Know the statistics of your condition, the medication required, the survivability rate, options, and how it will affect your life.
What Do I Have to Do?
It’s the most important question of all. The doctor has the responsibility of providing you with all the information necessary along with making the diagnosis. They will provide you with the necessary treatments, but it’s up to you on how loyally you follow. Heart disease is a serious issue, and you should treat it as such. That is why you need to know what you have to do.
This can range from treatments, medication, changes in lifestyle, dieting, exercising, or other alterations you might have to make for the sake of your heart. Know them all, get informed on your options and inquire about the possible side effects.
What Will Happen If It Gets Worse?
It might be a frightening question and a lot of patients often shy away from it out of fear. However, it’s crucial to know exactly what is going to happen if your symptoms get worse. Perhaps it will serve as a motivation for you to follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter. However, the main purpose is to know exactly what you should be looking out for. Any bit of information could send you to the hospital and seek medical assistance faster, and every bit of time could be precious.
Knowing the risks, benefits, and options will help you get the best treatment, so it’s paramount to find the right doctor who can help. Remember that every visit to your cardiologist needs to be a conversation. Don’t be afraid of the answer and do not try to lie to your doctor, or purposefully omit information, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. Your heart’s health is at stake, so you must be prudent and thorough.
Author bio: Sameer Ather is an MD, PhD, and Cardiologist based in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also the founder & CEO of Xpert Dox, an online platform dedicated to bringing unbiased, objective, and personalized recommendations for patients.
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