Knowing your personal risk for heart disease is the first step towards heart health. There are obvious risks such as smoking and being overweight, we all know if those are risk factors for us. There are other risk factors that are not so obvious. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are not obvious and usually require a medical professional to diagnose.
Making an appointment with your doctor for a thorough check up is the first step in understanding your risks.
Talking with your Doctor
Remember your doctor is on YOUR team, they are a partner in helping you achieve a heart healthy lifestyle. You should not wait for your doctor to mention risk factors for heart disease. Understanding your risks are important at any age.
Establish good clear communication with your healthcare team so that you are comfortable asking questions. Below are questions to ask your provider about heart disease. If you forget to bring concerns up, make notes to bring to your appointment.
Ask Your Doctor
- What is my risk for heart disease?
- What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me and what do I need to do about it?
- What are my cholesterol numbers? What do they mean to me and what do I need to do about them?
- What is my body max index (BMI) and waist measurement? What do they mean to me and what do I need to do about them?
- What is my blood sugar level? Does it mean I am at risk for diabetes?
- What other screening tests for heart disease do you recommend? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
- For smokers: What can you do to help me quit smoking? Are there local programs that are low cost or free to help me quit? Are nicotine replacement products a safe option for me?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart? What kinds of activities are helpful?
- What is a heart healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian for qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?
- How can I tell if I am having a heart attack?
You may have noticed that many of the questions have the follow up questions about what it means to you and what you need to do. Knowing your numbers or other risk factors is a great start, but you need to know what it means and how to manage the risk.
Be Honest and Open
For your doctor to assess your heart disease risk they will need accurate information from you. When your provider asks you questions, answer honestly. Some topics may seem personal but being open with your doctor will help them determine your chances of developing heart disease.
Both you and your doctor having all the facts with help to work more effectively together to reduce your risk.
Keep it Simple
If you do not understand something your doctor says, ask them to explain it more simply. If you are prescribed medication, make sure you understand how to take it and why you are taking it.
Bring a Relative or Friend
If you have a hard time hearing or worry you may not understand or remember what your doctor is telling you, bring a family member or friend to your appointment. Another person in the room focused on the doctor’s instructions and writing them down for you will keep you on track for a heart healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Bobish and her team’s goal is to help you reduce your risk of heart disease. Helping you to understand your risk factors and making healthy lifestyle changes.
Remember regardless of age or current state of health it is never too late to start protecting your heart. It is also never too soon and the sooner you act the better. Follow us on Facebook to see our latest post helping to keep you heart healthy. You can also explore all our articles that offer diet and exercise tips, recipes and information on procedures and heart disease.
Dr. Bobish and her team focus on preventative care and are here to support you. Alpine Cardiology provides patients with education as well as compassionate care and treatment. We are committed to keeping you healthy and heart smart! Request an appointment at 989-448-7002
Guide to a Healthy Heart
We are committed to keeping Northern Michigan healthy and heart-smart!
Over the next several months we will be publishing a series of articles that will become A Guide to a Healthy Heart. By breaking these guidelines into chapters we are able to offer more in depth information on the topics. Watch our Facebook page or website for the latest article.
Alpine Cardiology’s goal is to give you a better understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle and to take care of your heart. To take the mystery out of what the tests are and what they mean. To encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and how to reduce your risk. The more you know and understand the more likely you are to be successful in reducing risk and having a healthier lifestyle.
Links to published chapters are below if you would like to explore the guide more.