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Work Closely With Your Doctor If You Have Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

It's important that you and your doctor communicate often and work closely together if you've been diagnosed with heart disease. Your role in your care is central to your own well–being, but your doctor is your closest adviser and ally in the proper management of your condition. Here are some tips for working closely with your doctor:

  • Write down questions and bring them with you to your appointments
    Take time before your visit to write down any thoughts and questions you may have so you can feel prepared and confident talking openly with your doctor. You may find it useful to keep a journal with all your doctor's answers so you can review them as needed.
  • Understand your doctor's instructions
    Make sure you are clear about all of your doctor's instructions before leaving the office. You may want to take notes about instructions so you can refer to them later.
  • Find out if there are any pre-appointment restrictions
    Be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do in advance. For example, before blood work including cholesterol tests, you may be asked to fast for a period of time.
  • Take someone with you to help you remember instructions and answers to questions
    If a family member or a friend accompanies you to your appointments, ask him or her to take notes for you.
  • Get regular checkups
    Mark down your appointments on a calendar and be sure to keep them. You'll feel more in control of your condition and situation if you are keeping your appointments.
  • Keep a medical notebook
    Write down your key medical information: when you are diagnosed, all medications and supplements you're taking, and any family history of heart disease that you may have.

Questions for your doctor

If you were recently diagnosed with CAD and you are feeling overwhelmed, it's important to sit down with your doctor and discuss all the questions, feelings, and concerns that you have. The more informed you are about your own condition, the more in control you'll feel. Questions you may want to ask your doctor include:

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • How long have I had this condition?
  • Do I need to have any more diagnostic tests?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • Do I need to see another specialist?
  • What is my risk of long-term complications?
  • How will I have to alter my life or daily routine?
  • Do I need to make changes to my diet?
  • What about exercise—should I change it, increase it, or decrease it?
  • How frequently will you need to see me for follow-up visits?
  • What medication will I need to take?
Did you       

Feelings like depression and anxiety can negatively impact CAD. Learn more about seeking emotional support.

Learn more about healthy lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of CAD.

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