During your medical journey with cardiomyopathy, medical appointments with your cardiologist or another member of the healthcare team are important steps in taking care of your health. You can get the most out of it with a little preparation.
Before the visit
Think about what goals you might have for the visit and what information to discuss with the doctor. Make a list of symptoms and all of your current medications (yes, even any supplements you take) and note if there have been any changes in your condition since the last visit. Also, review your family history of heart disease as far back as your great-grandparents.
You may consider discussing this with a close family member or friend who supports you on your medical journey. It’s easy to forget questions you may have planned to ask during the visit, so it can be helpful to write them down in advance.
During the visit
Arrive early if possible, so you can check in and complete all necessary paperwork. Not only will you have less anxiety (which can improve your blood pressure), but it will maximize your time with the clinician. Take a deep breath and try to relax.
Be honest with the clinician, even if you think something might not be comfortable to discuss or it’s not what you think the doctor might want to hear. Omitting details, minimizing your symptoms, or avoiding talking about bad health habits undermines the purpose of your medical visit – to get care that will help you.
Make sure you understand what the doctor is saying, asking questions to clarify. Taking notes can help. Learn about treatment options and how recommended tests or diagnostics will contribute to your care plan.
Your doctor can provide you with information about what to expect with your condition and practical steps you can take, such as daily weight and blood pressure checks or a diet and exercise plan. Find out what changes in your condition should trigger a call to the office or more urgent attention.
After the visit
Review all the steps that need to be taken. Get prescriptions, make appointments for follow-up care, and schedule tests or imaging scans.
Contact your healthcare team for any changes in your condition or seek emergency medical attention in an emergency.
Read previous episodes of this series:
Part 1: Understanding Your Cardiomyopathy Diagnosis
Part 2: What to expect when your doctor suspects cardiomyopathy
“Medical Journeys” is a collection of physician-reviewed clinical resources for physicians and other healthcare professionals and the patients they serve. Each episode of this 12-part journey through a medical condition contains both a doctor’s guide and a downloadable/printable patient resource. “Medical pathways” chart a path at every stage for physicians and patients and provide ongoing resources and support as the healthcare team navigates the course of an illness.
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