Visiting a cardiologist for the first time might seem intimidating, but detecting a problem and taking early steps to treat it dramatically increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life. By preparing beforehand, you can take full advantage of your visit.
What to Expect
Your first cardiologist appointment will usually last up to an hour. You will be asked both general health questions and some more specific questions related to the reason for your visit. A physical examination follows, and if necessary, the doctor might arrange for further testing. The cardiologist might prescribe medication or provide your primary care provider with recommendations. In other situations, your doctor may recommend admission to a hospital or refer you to a cardiovascular surgeon or another specialist.
What to Bring
Essential information to have on hand includes:
- A list of your medicines. Your pharmacy or primary health care provider can put together this information if you don’t have it. Make sure to include any medications you were prescribed within the past year, even if you no longer take them.
- Family medical history. Your family history has essential clues to your health condition, so be thorough, especially including what you might know about instances of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure among your close relatives.
- Your medical history. List your surgeries and medical procedures, including diagnostic work-ups such as radiology and lab reports.
- A list of all your health care providers. The list should include any that you are currently seeing or have visited in the last two years.
- Your own questions. If you have some idea why you’re seeing a cardiologist, write down questions about anything unclear to you.
Your cardiologist is an essential member of your care team — a team that centers around you and your health. Take full advantage of the time, develop a good personal connection, and remember that no matter how small the detail, there’s nothing too minor to bring up at your appointment.