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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Heart Disease

What's your risk?

BHM Edit Staff | 2/12/2014, 6 a.m.
Have a frank conversation with your doctor about heart disease. depositphotos

Heart disease describes several problems related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries. This plaque buildup, also called atherosclerosis, makes it difficult for blood to flow, creating ideal conditions for heart attack or stroke. Heart disease also includes irregular heartbeat, heart failure and heart valve problems. It is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. African Americans are at an even greater risk of developing heart disease than other races.

Knowing your risk is key. Go to your next doctor visit armed with these 10 questions:

  1. What is my risk for heart disease?
  2. What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
  3. What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, HDL or "good" cholesterol and triglycerides.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?
  4. What is my waist measurement? Does it indicate that I need to lose weight for my health?
  5. What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I'm at risk for diabetes?
  6. What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
  7. What can you do to help me quit smoking?
  8. How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
  9. What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?
  10. How can I tell if I'm having a heart attack?