According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and most racial groups in the United States. One person dies from it every 37 seconds, and one in every four Americans will die from it. The sad yet hopeful part? It is largely preventable.
It is imperative to be proactive about your cardiovascular health. The first step in doing so is to establish an open communication with your cardiologist. Here are five questions you should ask your doctor at your next visit.
What is my risk for having a heart attack?
There are several factors that can put one at risk for having an attack. Knowing what is negatively impacting your health will help you learn how to combat it. If you’re overweight, discuss a weight loss plan. If you’re stressed, inquire about ways to keep that to a minimum.
What are the symptoms of heart disease?
Clutching your chest in pain is not the only sign that something is wrong with your heart. There are other symptoms that are commonly mistaken for something else, such as shortness of breath and leg pains. Your cardiologist can go in detail about the signs.
What lifestyle changes do I need to make?
After learning about your risk factors and seeing if you have any symptoms, it is important to learn of what specific changes need to be made. If it is a matter of being more active, draw up an exercise plan with your doctor. If you need to lower your cholesterol, have them create a list of foods to avoid. Lifestyle changes can be daunting, and these changes will not happen overnight. Your doctor will know how to work you plan in gradually, so you won’t be overwhelmed.
What tests will you be performing? / Will I need further testing?
You need to understand what exactly your cardiologist is looking for and the process that goes into it. That way, if you feel they need to be looking at something else, you can address that. Knowing what they are looking for can also help any fears to subside. Your doctor can also recommend further testing depending on your condition, so make sure to ask them what future tests you need.
Do I need to make any changes to my medication?
Medicine has just as much of an impact on your heart health as your dietary habits do. It is important to get the proper dosage as well as prescription. As your life and body changes, some medicines will not be necessary anymore, and you may need different types medicine as well. Make sure to stay up to date on what you need.