Author: Sina Nafisi, M.D., FACC
When it comes to heart disease, the only person who can help you more than your cardiologist is… you. As I’ve told all my patients, it’s essential that you follow your cardiologist’s rules if you want to enjoy the best possible outcome. Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a few areas where patients are more prone to try and bend the rules. In many cases, patients aren’t deliberately withholding information or acting in opposition to guidelines; rather, it simply had not occurred to them that a particular kind of behavior is detrimental.
If you’re currently seeing a cardiologist – or if you’re going to have your first appointment with a cardiologist sometime soon – then review these four topics you should always bring up with your cardiologist.
#1 Other tests. Your cardiologist can’t know about all of the different tests you’re undergoing unless you tell him. Don’t assume that your primary care provider mentioned last week’s EKG or yesterday’s blood work. If you’ve had any tests done since your last cardiology appointment, then your cardiologist needs to know.
#2 Your (lack of) exercise routine. We all miss workouts. However, if you’re routinely skipping out on your exercise regiment, then your cardiologist needs to know. If your cardiologist believes you’re exercising when you’re really not, then you could be inhibiting his ability to properly diagnose and treat your heart disease.
#3 Skipping medication. This poses another problem for the same reasons described above. However, skipping medication – and not telling your cardiologist – can actually be quite dangerous. For example, your cardiologist might try switching medications if he’s not seeing results. But, if you aren’t even taking the medication originally prescribed, then the switch could be all for naught.
#4 Vitamins and herbal remedies. Chances are, you haven’t even thought twice about the vitamin supplements you take every morning. But did you know that some vitamins, supplements, and herbal medicines could be detrimental for patients with heart disease? Ginseng, garlic, grapefruit juice, and licorice could all be harmful for the cardiovascular system, depending on your health and the amount of these (and other) foods you consume.
The bottom line? Your next appointment with a cardiologist should include a totally open and transparent discussion. The more your cardiologist knows about you, the better he can help you!
For more information about heart disease, or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, contact Phoenix Heart Center.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.