Be an active partner in your health care. This will give you a greater sense of control over your condition, allow you to stay on top of your health and make informed decisions about your treatment and care.
Here are some helpful hints:
Stay on top of routine and follow up appointments. Regular check-ups help your doctor monitor your heart health and detect signs of disease progression.
Prepare for your doctor visits in advance. Write down your questions and concerns, any symptoms you are having and any changes in medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal and vitamin supplements.
Work to reduce your risk factors. This will help prevent or delay future heart problems.
Know your numbers. Keep track of your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels through routine screenings or as recommended by your health team.
Pay attention to your symptoms. If they become more frequent or severe, contact your doctor right away. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1. Never drive yourself to the hospital; your symptoms could worsen while you are behind the wheel.
Stick with your treatment plan. Follow your heart team’s recommendations and take medications as directed. If you experience side effects, tell your doctor. You may require a dose change or a medication change. Ask specifically for something to help relieve the side effects.Write down questions or concerns you have for your health care provider.
Prioritize your questions and concerns. Be sure to take the list to the office or the clinic. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something your doctor tells you.
Bring a family member or friend with you. The stress of a medical visit sometimes makes it easy to miss important information. It is a good idea to bring a family member or trusted friend with you to your appointments. They can listen, help ask questions, take notes, and provide emotional support.