Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you've had chest pains or other symptoms of heart disease in the past, your primary care doctor will likely refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the heart and circulatory system (cardiologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet for some time before the appointment.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you take, as well as information about the dose you normally take.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For small vessel disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • Is small vessel disease temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available to treat small vessel disease, and which do you recommend?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Do I need to limit my activity in any way?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting for more information about my condition?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms? Has the severity of your symptoms worsened?
  • Do your symptoms get worse when you're active?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol? Do you have any other medical conditions?
  • Do you have a family history of heart disease?
Apr. 09, 2013

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