Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If myocardial ischemia is causing chest pain, you will likely be evaluated in an emergency setting, rather than at a doctor's appointment. If you don't have chest pain but are experiencing other symptoms or are concerned about your risk of myocardial ischemia, make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor may refer you to a heart specialist (cardiologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet. Some blood tests, for example, require that you fast beforehand.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to myocardial ischemia.
- Write down key personal information, including a family history of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure or diabetes, and any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Be prepared to discuss your diet and exercise habits. If you don't already follow a diet or exercise routine, be ready to talk to your doctor about challenges you might face in getting started.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What's the best treatment option?
- What foods should I eat or avoid?
- What's an appropriate level of physical activity?
- How often should I be screened for heart disease? For example, how often do I need a cholesterol test?
- What are the alternatives to the approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- Do you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Deedwanla PC. Silent myocardial ischemia: Prognosis and therapy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Deedwanla PC. Silent myocardial ischemia: Epidemiology and pathogenesis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Goldberger AL. Electrocardiogram in the diagnosis of myocardial ischemia and infarction. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Deedwanla PC. Silent myocardial ischemia: Diagnosis and screening. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Cardiac biomarkers. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cardiac_biomarkers/glance.html. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0398-6..C2009-0-59734-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0398-6&about=true&uniqId=236798031-10. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Lanza GA, et al. Mechanisms of coronary artery spasm. Circulation. 2011;124:1774.