Talk with your health care team beyond the traditional cardiovascular risk factors. For example, if you developed diabetes or preeclampsia during any pregnancy, if you have an autoimmune disease or poor sleep patterns. You should take stock of your risk of heart disease at every age, and especially around the time of menopause.
Here are some other questions you can ask to learn more about CAD and what you can do.
- What is my risk for heart disease? (Your provider can use a formula to assess your chance of developing heart disease.)
- What are my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers? Have they changed over time? What do they mean for my heart health?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Am I at risk for diabetes?
- What tests are best for detecting blockages in women? To what extent are my arteries blocked or narrowed?
- What treatments would you recommend for me?
- Will I need a procedure or surgery to address my coronary artery blockages?
- How often should I have an assessment of my risk of CAD or related issues?
- How will we know if my condition is getting worse or progressing?
- How much exercise should I get each week to protect my heart?
- What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me?
- What symptoms should I pay attention to and report?
- How can I tell if I'm having a heart attack or chest pain (angina)?
- What are the best medications for reducing my risk of heart disease?
- Are there any supplements I should be taking to reduce my risk of heart disease?
- Should I take an aspirin to lower my risk for heart disease or stroke?
- Was I given the recommended medications that prevent another heart attack after my first heart attack?
- Will I need to take all the medicine I was given after my heart attack for the rest of my life?
If you're a woman diagnosed with coronary artery disease, there are several key questions that you should ask your cardiologist during your next visit. These questions will ensure that you and your doctor have discussed your major risk factors so that you can become or stay as healthy as possible.
- How common is coronary artery disease in women?
- What are the risk factors for coronary artery disease in women?
- What is atypical chest pain?
- How can I distinguish cardiac chest pain from chest pain of a different source?
- When should I seek medical attention if I think I have atypical chest pain?
- How can women be screened for coronary artery disease?
- Are there support groups and resources specifically for women?
- How do I find a cardiologist who specializes in women's cardiovascular health?
- What can I do to stop or reverse coronary artery disease?