The treatment of heart disease is a cooperative venture. Ideally, you should think of your cardiologist as your partner in maintaining and improving your heart health, and your overall health. Yes, your doctors have training you do not, and they have access to diagnostic and treatment tools that can be invaluable in the fight against heart disease, but in many ways how effective these doctors can be in keeping you healthy depends upon you.
Things to do when you first meet with your cardiologist
When you work with a Boynton Beach or Delray Beach cardiologist to improve your health, here are some things you should do, starting from your first visit:
• Explain why you’re there:
o If you were referred by another physician, explain who and why.
o If you have had symptoms that concern you or this doctor, what are they?
o What seem to make these symptoms better, or worse?
• Talk about your and your family’s medical history:
o Have you ever been previously diagnosed with a heart problem?
o Did your parents, grandparents, brothers, or sisters have heart disease? If so, at what age did they begin to develop problems?
o Do you or does anyone in your family have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels?
o Are you currently taking any medications? If so, what kind, and how often?
o Are you currently seeing other doctors? If so, who, and for what?
• Honestly discuss your diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits:
o Don’t hold anything back out of embarrassment or other concerns – your doctor needs to know the truth.
o What are your normal dietary habits? That is, do you eat more balanced, heart-healthy meals, or more processed and fast foods?
o If you are currently trying to lose weight, discuss any diets you have tried, and whether they have worked for you or not.
o How much do you exercise every week? Be really honest about this.
o Do you smoke? Again, be honest, because smoking cigarettes is one of the most important risk factors for heart disease.
o How stressful is your everyday life, and how well do you feel that you deal with the stress? Do you often become irritable or angry?
How to work effectively with your Boynton Beach cardiologist
Naturally, your first goal should be to determine your current heart health risks, and learn how to lower those risks. If you are serious about reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, understand that this can be a long process, and may require some work from your side. For example, if after a full examination and a number of tests your Boynton Beach heart doctor says that you have high risk factors for heart disease and that you should lower them, you must be willing to do what is necessary to accomplish this.
As trained and as talented as your cardiologists may be, they cannot reduce these risk factors without your help. You’ll need to work from your side to eat a more heart-healthy diet, to get more aerobic exercise, to lower your intake of sodium to reduce your blood pressure and lower your intake of high-cholesterol foods to lower your own cholesterol counts. Yes, your doctors will help with advice and medications to help you wherever possible, but to gain the most from their expertise, you must to be willing to follow their advice.
Heart disease treatment in Boynton Beach or Delray Beach is a partnership, between you and your doctors. Give us a call today at 561-515-0080 so we can start to get acquainted.