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How should I prepare for an appointment to diagnose atrial fibrillation?

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

While diagnosing atrial fibrillation, your doctor will do a physical examination, order lab work, and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. Questions your doctor may ask include: 

  1. Can you describe the symptoms you are feeling? (Answers might include palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, or chest or jaw pain.) 
  2. What is your personal medical history? (Answers might include a history of heart disease, lung disease, hypertension, or thyroid disease.) 
  3. What is your family's medical history? (Answers might include a family history of atrial fibrillation, hypertension, thyroid problems, or heart disease.)
  4. What are your lifestyle and health habits? (These may relate to diet, exercise, cigarette smoking, or caffeine or alcohol usage.)

Before you go to your atrial fibrillation appointment, prepare by knowing your symptoms (when they started, frequency, duration, severity, anything that helps), medical history, and medications. Ask when you make the appointment whether or not you have to prepare in any special way, such as by not eating certain things that could skew test results. When you think of questions, write them down so that you don,t forget during the appointment. Bringing a friend or family member may help you remember important details, and the emotional support could help, too. Though a diagnostic appointment might be intimidating, the seriousness of atrial fibrillation makes it a necessary step to preserve your health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.