The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your individual risk of having coronary artery disease (CAD). 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.
- Based on my family history, am I at greater risk for coronary artery disease?
- Based on my personal history, am I at greater risk for coronary artery disease?
- Could symptoms I am having be related to coronary artery disease?
- Do my cholesterol levels put me at risk for heart disease?
- Is my weight within a healthy range to prevent heart disease?
- Does diabetes put me at greater risk for heart disease?
- 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 lab tests or diagnostic tests that you would recommend based on my risk factors?
If You Have Been Diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease
If you have been diagnosed with heart 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 heart attack. 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 heart attack?
- What does my chest pain (angina) mean for me? What can we do to manage or eliminate my chest pain?
- What additional tests may I need?
- What are my treatment options? What combination of lifestyle, medication, and in-hospital treatments/surgery 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 happens after treatment? If treatment involves recovery, how long will that take?
- What follow-up will be necessary?
- Am I a good candidate for a cardiac rehabilitation program?
- How long is a particular treatment likely to be effective?
- Who can I turn to for support (hospital staff, support groups, etc.)?