You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions (cardiologist). Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Find out if you need to follow any pre-appointment restrictions, such as changing your activity level or your diet.
- Write down your symptoms and how long you've had them.
- Take a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.
- Write down your key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatments can help?
- What risks does my heart condition create?
- How often will I need follow-up appointments?
- Do I need to restrict my activities?
- Should my children or other close relatives be screened for this condition, and should I meet with a genetic counselor?
- How will other conditions that I have or medications I take affect my heart problem?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?
- Have your symptoms changed over time? If so, how?
- Does exercise or physical exertion make your symptoms worse?
- Have you ever fainted?
- Do you have a family history of heart disease?
What you can do in the meantime
Before your appointment, ask your family members if any relatives have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or have experienced unexplained, sudden death. It will help your doctor to know as many details as possible about your family medical history.
If exercise makes your symptoms worse, avoid strenuous exercise until you have seen your doctor and received specific exercise recommendations.
Feb. 22, 2014
- Maron MS, et al. Overview of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy management including treatment of special problems http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 26, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and what is the role of genetic testing? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. Accessed Sept. 26, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 26, 2013.
- Jacoby DL, et al. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Diagnosis, risk stratification and treatment. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2013;185:127.
- Gersh BJ, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Executive summary: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2011;124:2761.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_312225.pdf. Accessed Sept. 28, 2013.
- Ommen SR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 3, 2013.