The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your individual risk for having carotid artery disease. If you have already been diagnosed with carotid artery disease or have had a stroke, the questions below can help you discuss treatment and recovery, as well as stroke prevention. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.
If you are concerned about your risk for carotid artery disease…
- Based on my family history, am I at greater risk for carotid artery disease?
- Based on my personal history, am I at greater risk for carotid artery disease?
- Could symptoms I am having be related to carotid artery disease?
- Do my cholesterol levels put me at risk?
- Is my weight within a healthy range to prevent carotid artery disease?
- Does diabetes put me at greater risk?
- Can you help me quit smoking? (If you smoke.)
- Is my blood pressure within the normal range? Can you help me control high blood pressure?
- What dietary choices should I be making for cardiovascular health?
- What level of exercise is safe for me and will also have cardiovascular benefits?
- Are there tests that you would recommend based on my risk factors?
If you have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease…
If you have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease, it is normal to be worried and to want as much information about the disease and treatment as possible. It can be a particularly difficult time for patients who have experienced a serious cardiovascular event, such as a stroke. The following questions can lay the groundwork for a discussion between you and your physician.
- Am I in danger of having a first or recurrent stroke?
- What additional tests may I need?
- What are my treatment options? What combination of lifestyle changes, medication and treatments may be necessary to combat the disease?
- What is my prognosis? What are the likely outcomes?
- Will I be able to have my desired quality of life? What can I do to improve the odds of this?
- What will happen after treatment? If treatment involves recovery, how long will that take?
- What follow-up will be necessary?
- If I already had a stroke, what types of therapy may I need?
- Who can I turn to for support (hospital staff, support groups, etc.)?