What recommendations might my doctor make at a heart-health office visit?

If you are concerned about your risk level for cardiovascular disease or symptoms you have been having, your first step will be an office visit with your physician. (Note: If you are having symptoms of a heart attack, do not wait for an office visit; dial 911.) During this visit, your physician will do a physical exam, ask you about your lifestyle (diet, exercise, whether you smoke, etc.) and medical history, and may refer you for blood tests.

Based on the discussion with your doctor and the results from your physical exam and blood tests, your doctor will make recommendations such as the following:

  • Medical, or drug, therapy and changes in your lifestyle to help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight and manage blood sugar levels; or
  • Tests to diagnose what may be causing your symptoms.
If you are a new patient, your doctor may also make suggestions such as that you begin keeping a log of your blood pressure levels and of your glucose levels if you are diabetic. This log can help you and your doctor identify areas to work on and gauge progress. A blood pressure log can also help identify if your elevated blood pressure levels are due to what is called “white-coat hypertension,” which just means that sometimes a person’s blood pressure may rise in response to the “stress” of a doctor’s office 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.