Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the heart (cardiologist).

What you can do

  • Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements.
  • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.
  • Find out if your family has a history of heart disease.
  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? Is there any special preparation for them?
  • What kinds of treatments do I need?
  • Should I make any lifestyle changes?
  • Should I restrict any of my activities?
  • I have other health problems. How can I best manage these conditions together?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other 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 leave time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:

  • What are your symptoms, and when did they begin?
  • Have your symptoms gotten worse over time?
  • Do you have chest pain or rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats?
  • Do you have dizziness? Have you ever fainted?
  • Have you had difficulty breathing?
  • Does exercise or lying down make your symptoms worse?
  • Have you ever coughed up blood?
  • Do you have a history of high blood pressure or rheumatic fever?
  • Do you have a family history of heart problems?
  • Do you or did you smoke? Do you use alcohol or caffeine?
June 06, 2015