How Do I Find Out if I Am at Risk for Heart Disease?
The first step toward heart health is becoming aware of your own personal risk for heart disease. Some risks, such as smoking cigarettes, are obvious: every woman knows whether or not she smokes. But other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, generally don’t have obvious signs or symptoms. So you’ll need to gather some information to create your personal “heart profile.”
You and Your Provider: A Heart Healthy Partnership
A crucial step in determining your risk is to see your provider for a thorough checkup. Your provider can be an important partner in helping you set and reach goals for heart health. Here are some tips for establishing good, clear communication between you and your provider:
Speak up. Tell your provider you want to keep your heart healthy and would like help in achieving that goal. Ask questions about your chances of developing heart disease and how you can lower your risk.
Keep tabs on treatment. If you already are being treated for heart disease or heart disease risk factors, ask your provider to review your treatment plan with you. If your provider recommends a medical procedure, ask about its benefits and risks.
Be open. When your provider asks you questions, answer as honestly and fully as you can including any symptoms you are having.
Keep it simple. If you don’t understand something your provider says, ask for an explanation in simple language. Be especially sure you understand how to take any medication you are given. If you are worried about understanding what the provider says, or if you have trouble hearing, bring a friend or relative with you to your appointment.