Hearing that you have heart disease is big news. There’s a lot of information to digest, and it can feel overwhelming at first. Confusion, anxiety, and uncertainty about what to expect are common reactions to this type of diagnosis.
As you learn about your condition, however, you may start feeling more confident about your ability to cope. The best place to begin educating yourself is in your own doctor’s office.
Below are some questions you may want to ask:
What type of heart condition do I have? Find out what your condition involves and how severe it is.
How will my condition affect my daily life? Ask about any concerns you have, from work to sexual activity.
Do I need to take medication? If so, know when and how to take your medicine. Ask about possible side effects.
Do I need to change what I eat? Learn which foods to emphasize in a heart-healthy diet, and which ones to limit.
How physically active should I be? Discuss the type, amount, and intensity of physical activity that’s best for you.
Would I benefit from cardiac rehabilitation? This type of medically supervised program is designed to help you learn how to improve your well-being and change lifestyle habits.
How will following my treatment plan help me? Possible treatment benefits include relieving symptoms, increasing your energy and strength, and reducing the risk of having a future heart attack.
Where can I find emotional support? Support groups specifically for heart patients give you a chance to connect with others and share coping strategies. Counseling may help if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression.
Do I need to have any additional tests or procedures? If so, know what’s involved, why it’s needed, and whether there are any risks.
10. When should I schedule my next doctor’s appointment? Working closely with your healthcare provider is crucial for living well with heart disease.
If your healthcare provider gives you the OK, walking is a great way to keep your heart healthy. The American Heart Association has information on starting or joining a walking club.