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 911. 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.