Talking to Your Doctor About Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with
. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your doctor
- What is my or my family member's diagnosis?
- What degree or percent of the arteries are blocked?
About Your Risk of Developing CAD
- Is anyone in my family at risk for developing CAD?
- What can I do to lessen the possibility of CAD?
About Treatment Options
- What type of treatment do you recommend for my case?
- Will I need to have surgery?
- How long does it take to recovery from surgery?
- What other treatment options are available?
- What is the name of the medicine? Is this the brand or generic name? Does it matter which one is used?
- What is the medicine supposed to do?
- How and when should it be taken—and for how long?
- What foods, drinks, and other medicines should be avoided while taking this medicine?
- What are the possible side effects? What should be done if they occur?
- Is any written information available about the medicine?
- A certain medication is causing side effects that are difficult to deal with. Is there some way to minimize those side effects? Is there another equally good medication available?
About Lifestyle Changes
- What are some specific ways that daily life will change? Can I still work, play golf, have sex, do the laundry? (Fill in whatever activity you're wondering about.)
- What strategies have other patients found useful for motivating themselves to eat better, exercise, and stop smoking?
- Can you refer me to a registered dietitian to help me with my diet?
- Is it safe for me to begin an exercise program? What types of exercise do you recommend for me?
- What should I expect within the next few weeks, months, and years?
- What is the likely progression of the condition?
- What are the most important things I can do to manage this condition?
American Heart Association website. Available at: