Maintaining heart and blood vessel health is an ongoing process that requires regular checkups with your doctor so that he can monitor your treatment. This is especially important if you have conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. You'll get the most from your doctor visits by becoming an active participant in your own care by:
- keeping a record of your diagnosis and symptoms; jot down important medical information and symptoms
- knowing your medications, and being aware of any side effects
- talking to your doctor about diet and exercise
- participating and asking questions during your appointments
- being honest, and telling your doctor if you're having difficulty following the prescribed treatment plan; he or she will work with you to create a program you can stick with
- calling your doctor if you develop troubling symptoms or experience medication side effects
Prepare a list of questions regarding your condition and treatment. You're less likely to forget important points when you put them in writing. Be sure to include topics such as your symptoms, medications, side effects, diet, exercise, treatment monitoring and follow-up care. If you need support, arrange for a friend or family member to go with you to the appointment. Feel free to speak frankly with your doctor, and bring up any concerns you have about your care. Take notes, and ask the doctor to slow down or repeat anything that you don't understand.