Talking to Your Doctor About Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with CAD . By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your doctor

About CAD
  • Do I have CAD?
  • How much blockage do I have in my arteries?
About Your Risk of Developing CAD
  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for CAD?
  • How can I prevent CAD?
About Treatment Options
  • What are all my treatment options?
  • Do I have to take medications or will I need surgery?
  • If I have surgery, will I be cured?
About Medication
  • What kind of medication do I have to take?
  • What is the medication supposed to do?
  • Will I always have to take medication?
  • What are the possible side effects? What should be done if they occur?
  • Where can I get more information about the medication?
  • If the side effects are bad, can I take something else that works as well?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • Are there certain activities or sports that I should avoid? Is it safe to have sex?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • Can you refer me to a registered dietitian to help me with my diet?
  • What exercises are best and how much do I need?
  • Should I need to stop drinking alcohol?
  • If I change my lifestyle habits, will I still need to take medication?
About Outlook
  • What will happen over the next few weeks, months, and years?
  • Will my condition get worse?
  • What are the most important things I can do to manage this condition?

References

Heart-to-heart. Talking to your doctor. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ConsumerHealthCare/Heart-to-heart-Talking-to-Your-Doctor%5FUCM%5F323844%5FArticle.jsp. Updated June 20, 2013. Accessed January 29, 2014.

Preparing for medical visits. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacRehab/Preparing-for-Medical-Visits%5FUCM%5F307053%5FArticle.jsp. Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed January 29, 2014.

Talking to your doctor. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://nih.gov/clearcommunication/talktoyourdoctor.htm. Accessed January 29, 2014.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed January 29, 2014.

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