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It can be overwhelming to suddenly think that you might have a heart problem. Many of us tend to take things for granted when they are running smoothly.


It's not because we don't care or because we are unappreciative. Rather, it is because our lives are so busy and burdened with many tasks and responsibilities that we simply don't have time to consider how good things are when running smoothly.


As a result, when something in your body changes to a significant degree, your reaction  can be strong. Quite often, memories of friends or relatives with similar complaints will surface and may affect the way that you feel and how you respond to the situation.

Complete an intake form 

Your  family doctor and your cardiologist are both well trained to deal with your symptoms. In attempting to understand  whether or not your new symptoms may be benign or potentially life-threatening there is certain information that your doctor will require:

  • the history of your  complaint will help your doctor to distinguish the nature of your illness

  • identifying your "risk factors" will be useful in determining the probabilities of whether or not you should be expected to have a particular illness 

  • A physical examination will help your doctor to identify certain signs which might point to a particular disease.

  • Specialty testing may need to be done in order to confirm evidence of a particular disease

It is also extremely useful for you to prepare for your visit with the doctor. There are a number of things which can be done to help:

  • Please bring your bottles of medications to each visit 

    • a list of your pills is only good if it contains all details and is up to date.

    • If you wish to bring a list, then we require details like

      • names,

      • doses and

      • number of pills per day

    • Some of your medications may interact poorly with certain heart pills, so, please bring everything (including viagra type pills)

  • If you have a home blood pressure machine, then please remember to bring it

    • your doctor may compare it with his. This way the doctor can see if your machine works properly.

    • Please also bring a written diary of your blood pressure numbers. Useful times to check your blood pressure may include morning, evening, and the occasional value taken immediately after exercise.

  • If you are  frail and/or have memory difficulties, then it may be useful for you to bring a family member or a friend along with you since they can help you to remember things and offer you emotional support at a time when you may be scared.

Please review in your mind exactly what you think has changed for you. By spending some time to review how things have changed for you, it will be easier for you to accurately describe your complaint to the doctor. Some patients may benefit from creating a written outline of their history. Often there may be a lot of information to review. So, if you take the time to write it out, then you are less likely to forget to tell the doctor something which may be important. Your list doesn't need to to be very detailed and  can serve as a starting point for your discussion with the doctor.


Patients who may benefit from preparing a written list in advance include those patients who have:

  • multiple medical problems,

  • multiple symptoms,

  • prior angiogram or  angioplasty or  bypass or other important events

  • prior hospitalizations for issues relating to the heart

  • been tried on several specific medications which either didn't work or caused side effects 

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