Questions To Ask Your DoctorQuestions to Ask your Doctor

Heart Health Edition

We’ve been writing a lot lately about heart health and the heart disease risks that seniors should be aware of for American Heart Month, but as useful as we want everything on this site to be, at the end of the day we’re not doctors. We will never be able to give you advice as useful and important as what you’ll learn from your personal physician.

Whether you’re feeling fine and just want to make sure you’re covering all your bases with your doctor, or you know for sure there’s a serious risk, knowing the right questions to ask can help you identify and fight heart disease. We’ve organized the questions into 3 categories based on your own personal health situation.

If Everything Seems Normal:

If you haven’t noticed any strange symptoms or discomfort, but just want to know the status of your heart health on your next visit, these questions can help you do so.

  1. Are my blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels?
  2. Are there any exercises you recommend I do for better heart health?
  3. Are there any foods or habits you recommend I avoid for better heart health?
  4. Are there any foods or vitamins you recommend I consume more of to improve my heart health?
  5. Are there symptoms I should be on the lookout for that signal heart disease?

If You Think You May Have Heart Problems:

If things haven’t been feeling quite right and you suspect heart disease may be a factor, here are some questions to help you get to the bottom of things.

  1. Do my symptoms sound like they may be caused by heart disease? If so, are there tests you can run to confirm or deny?
  2. Can you help me determine what’s causing the symptoms?
  3. What lifestyle recommendations can you make to improve my situation and decrease future risks?
  4. Are there exercises I should avoid, or any you especially recommend?
  5. Are there foods I should avoid, or any you especially recommend?
  6. What symptoms can I expect as par for the course, and which should I be worried about?
  7. When should I check back in with you again?
  8. Are there any side effects to the medication or treatments you’ve recommended that I should be aware of?
  9. Are there alternatives to the medication or treatments you’ve recommended I can consider if my insurance doesn’t cover them?

If You Know You Have a History of Heart Disease:

If you already know you have heart problems, then you’ve probably been over many of the recommendations regarding diet and exercise. These are some questions that may be more relevant for you.

  1. Can you determine if my heart health is better or worse than on my last visit?
  2. Are there any activities I should be avoiding to keep from increasing my risks?
  3. Can you recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program?
  4. If I’m having trouble kicking the bad habits that caused my heart disease, are there strategies or programs you can recommend to help me move past them?
  5. Are there any side effects to the medication or treatments you’ve recommended I should be aware of?
  6. Are there alternatives to the medication or treatments you’ve recommended I can consider if my insurance doesn’t cover them?
  7. How can I recognize if my heart health’s gotten worse? What symptoms are normal, and which should I be worried about?
  8. When should I check back in with you again?

This is not a comprehensive list, since everyone’s situation is different. If you already take a number of medications, checking on their side effects and how they mix with new medications prescribed is an important question to ask. If stress is a bigger factor in your life than other health concerns, then it may be more important to bring that up than questions about diet and exercise.

You know your own habits and physical experiences better than we do. Make a point to think carefully about how you feel and anything that might be abnormal, and be willing to bring questions about heart health up with your doctor to learn more.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for SeniorAdvisor.com.

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