How should I talk to my doctor about my heart failure symptoms?

Linda Rohyans
Cardiac Rehabilitation

Your doctor and health care team are experts at what they do. This does not mean you should feel intimidated or embarrassed to ask questions, but rather, feel more confident in asking your questions in knowing you will receive a thoughtful and pertinent response. If I want to remember something important, I write it down; this is a good practice to get into when you know you have a visit coming up.

Your doctor and health care team will also want to see a log of your daily weights and blood pressures; this is so very helpful! Be sure and take a list of your medications or even bring them in a bag; be sure to write down if there is a change in your medication dosing or if you're asked to stop taking one medication and start taking a different kind!

Lastly, with your approval, you can have another person accompany you on your visit. Sometimes, especially when we're nervous or we're hearing new information, we only truly "hear" half of what is told to us. Another person can serve as a second pair of ears; this person could also be of great support to you down the road, as valuable information has been shared that can be reinforced after the visit.

Discuss your concern of heart failure with your doctor, especially if you have one or more risk factors, such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Before your appointment, ask if you should restrict your diet for any diagnostic tests. Be prepared to discuss your family and medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to heart failure. Discuss your physical activity level and diet and ways to improve these conditions. Bring a list of all of your medications, including vitamins and supplements, to discuss with your doctor. Write down all of your questions to help you remember during your visit.

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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.