Questions for Your Doctor About Women's Cardiovascular Health

The following questions can help you start a conversation with your doctor about your risk for heart disease. We invite you to print out or write down these questions and take them to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember what you learned after you get home.

  1. Based on my family history, am I at risk for heart disease?
  2. Based on my personal history, am I at risk for heart disease?
  3. Do my cholesterol levels put me at risk for heart disease?
  4. Is my weight within a healthy range to help prevent heart disease?
  5. Can you help me quit smoking?
  6. Is my blood pressure within the normal range? If my blood pressure is high, can you help me reduce it?
  7. What dietary choices should I make for cardiovascular health?
  8. What level of exercise is safe for me and will also have cardiovascular benefits?
  9. Could birth control pills, my pregnancy history (including any complications I had during my pregnancies), or menopause put me at greater risk for heart disease?

Questions to ask if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, it’s normal to be worried and want as much information as possible about the disease and its treatment. It may be particularly difficult for you if you’ve suffered a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke. The following questions can lay the groundwork for a conversation between you and your doctor.

  1. What additional tests may I need?
  2. What are my treatment options? What combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and treatments/surgeries may be necessary to combat the disease?
  3. What is my prognosis? What are the likely outcomes?
  4. Are my risks for complications from treatment higher? (Women* have higher bleeding and mortality rates for some cardiovascular procedures.)
  5. Will I be able to have my desired quality of life? What can I do to improve the odds of this?
  6. What will happen after treatment? How long do you expect my recovery to take? Would I benefit from cardiac rehabilitation?
  7. What follow-up will be necessary?
  8. Could I suffer another event (heart attack, stroke, etc.)? How long are the treatments you are recommending likely to be effective?
  9. Who can I turn to for support (support groups, hospital staff, other recommendations)?

Questions to ask about preeclampsia and heart health

  1. I had preeclampsia during one or more pregnancies. Should I be referred to a cardiologist?
  2. What other risk factors do I have (other pregnancy complications, cholesterol, obesity, etc.), and how can I reduce my risk?
  3. What actions should I be taking now to monitor my heart health?
  4. Are there lab tests or diagnostic tests that you would recommend based on my history of preeclampsia and other risk factors?
  5. Are there lifestyle or medication changes that would benefit my heart health?

*The term “women” in the context of “women’s cardiovascular health” applies to individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) who have a female biological reproductive system, which includes a vagina, uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, accessory glands, and external genital organs.

*The term “men” in the context of “cardiovascular health” applies to individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB) who have a male biological reproductive system, which includes a penis, scrotum, testes, epididymis, vas deferens, prostate, and seminal vesicles.