• Office Visits & Physical Exams

     
     
    11/04/2014

    The first step in the process of diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease is a visit with your doctor to discuss your risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, as well as any cardiac symptoms you may be having. Your doctor will ask how these symptoms impact your daily activities, how long you have noticed them and how often they occur and under what conditions. For example, do you notice symptoms when you are lifting a bag of groceries, working out at the gym, walking or just sitting quietly?

    Your doctor will also perform a physical examination to check your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels. He or she will also ask you questions, such as:

    Lifestyle Choices

    • How often do you exercise? What do you do for exercise?
    • Do you drink alcohol? How much? How often?
    • Do you eat a heart-healthy diet?
    • Do you smoke? Have you used tobacco products in the past?
    • Do you live a high-stress lifestyle? How do you manage stress?
    • Has anyone in your family had a heart attack or stroke and at what age?
    • Has anyone been told they have coronary artery disease or heart disease?
    • Has anyone had bypass surgery or undergone a procedure such as angioplasty to have blockages in their arteries opened?

    Medical History

    • Has anyone in your family had a heart attack or stroke and at what age?
    • Has anyone been told they have coronary artery disease or heart disease?
    • Has anyone had bypass surgery or undergone a procedure such as angioplasty to have blockages in their arteries opened?

    Recommendations

    Based on the discussion with your doctor and the results from your physical exam and blood tests, your doctor may recommend medications and changes in your lifestyle to help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight and manage blood sugar levels. In addition, your doctor may refer you for tests to diagnose what may be causing your symptoms.

    If you are a new patient, your doctor may also make suggestions, such as that you begin keeping a log of your blood pressure levels, and your glucose levels if you have diabetes. This log can help you and your doctor identify areas to work on and gauge progress. A blood pressure log can also help identify if your elevated blood pressure levels are due to what is called “white coat hypertension,” which just means that sometimes a person’s blood pressure may rise in response to the “stress” of a doctor’s office visit.

    Click here for questions that can help you start a conversation with your doctor about your medical history and risk factors.