10 things to ask your doctor

  • 10 Things you should ask your doctor to ensure you are receiving the best care

    Okay, so you have suffered a heart attack and there are a million questions racing through your thoughts. Your primary goal is to prevent the reoccurrence of another attack and you’re wondering what to do. The following ten questions are designed to help you ask the right questions to ensure that you are receiving the best care.

    1. Just how serious was the attack?
      Your doctor will be able to explain the type of heart attack you experienced, the extent of any damage, the estimated length of recovery, and overall prognosis. The amount of impairment can also indicate the chance of future complications.
    2. What type of complications could I experience?
      Once again, the severity of the heart attack can impact your chances for experiencing complications. There may be very few complications if the heart attack was relatively minor. If the attack was severe, it is possible that you could suffer a stroke, congestive heart failure, or arrhythmia. Ask your doctor about ways to recognize these potential problems and what actions you should take.
    3. How long will my recuperation take?
      Depending on the degree of damage, the period of recuperation could take several months. Your doctor will prescribe a medical plan designed to restore your health. Your age and overall wellbeing will determine what medications, diet, exercise, and aftercare procedures are right for you.
    4. What medications will I be taking, when, and what are the potential side-effects?
      The medicines that your doctor prescribes will be tailored to your specific needs. It is critical that you understand the prescribed medications and their dosage. Ask why you are taking each medication, when to take it, how often, whether or not it should be taken with water and food, the potential side-effects, and what results you can expect. (You may also want to speak with your pharmacist to better understand any potential counter-indications and side-effects.)
    5. When can I return to my normal routine?
      The condition of your heart will determine how long it may take to resume normal activities. Generally, in just a few short months you can return to many of your familiar events, such as work, exercise, sexual activity, and driving. It is important to follow your doctor’s guidelines however, as every patient recovers at a different rate and individual needs and limitations can vary.
    6. What type of diet should I follow?
      Your doctor will provide you with materials that can help make necessary dietary adjustments. There are many foods that promote heart health while there are others that you will need to avoid. Your medical provider may refer you to a special nutritionist who focuses on the needs of patients with heart conditions.
    7. What type of exercise routine should I follow?
      This is another very important question to ask your doctor. An exercise routine will play an important role in your recovery. Activity helps to strengthen your heart muscle and body. Exercise also helps control cholesterol levels and blood pressure and promotes weight loss. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a routine that begins with mild exercises and then gradually advances to include aerobic exercises.
    8. What is the risk of suffering another heart attack?
      Generally after you’ve had a heart attack the chance for suffering another has increased. Often times the symptoms are very different. Ask your doctor what the warning signs might be and when and how you should access medical attention.
    9. What resources available to me?
      There are many great resources available to heart attack victims. In addition to the guidelines, information, and materials provided by your medical providers, most communities provide a network of helpful support services.
    10. Will I live a normal life?
      How quickly and completely you recover really depends on your level of commitment to following your doctor’s advice and making necessary lifestyle changes. Remember to keep asking for answers that will help you along your path to a complete recovery and a healthier heart!