Preparing for Your Cardiomyopathy Visit

Cardiomyopathy Visit

When getting ready for a doctors visit, it's important to be prepared so you can make the most of the time you have. Here is a list of items to help you and your doctor stay on the same page:

  • A notebook - 3 ring style binder with lined paper. This is a great place to keep the questions you’ve prepared prior to the visit and a way to keep everything organized. If you have more than one family member with the diagnosis, page dividers are a great way to keep each persons records separate.
  • Your insurance card - The name and address of your general practitioner.
  • Family history - This is a great front page for your binder. Since we’re dealing with a genetic condition, knowing who in your family may also have had it or was actually diagnosed can be extremely useful for your cardiologist.
  • Scans and test results - If you've recently had tests done at a different office, it’s good to keep your own copies. Make secondary copies to bring to your doctors visit in case they haven’t yet received them from the other office.
  • A list of questions you want to ask your physician - Writing down questions in advance will help you make the most of your time with your doctor and will ensure that you don't forget anything that you want to know more about. 
  • List of medications you take, when you take them, and their dosage. It’s important not to leave anything out of this piece. Your doctor needs to know not only what prescriptions you’re taking, but any over-the-counter meds too.
  • A list of any alternative treatments you’ve tried or are currently using. This would could treatments such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture as well as any herbal medications you are taking.
  • List of all current symptoms. Make sure to mention any new symptoms even if you don’t think they are related. It’s your doctor who will make that determination and sometimes something that seems completely separate from your heart condition can actually be relevant.
  • A friend or family member. If this is one of your first appointments after diagnosis, you may be hit with terms you don’t understand and a feeling of being on your own. A friend or family member can help you write things down, remember what questions you wanted to ask, and just be support when you need it.
  • Something to do while you’re waiting. Often times when you are going to a cardiology appointment it won’t just be to see one doctor. You may have EKG’s, Echo’s or exercise stress tests, etc. Keep yourself entertained:  bring a book, your tablet or even download a new game on your smartphone.

Before You Leave Your Appointment

  • Find out if and when you should return for another visit and clarify any next steps.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment if necessary.
  • Ask if you need to watch for certain warning signs for your condition, ask when you should be concerned and at what point you need to call in.
  • If you received a new prescription, make sure you understand why you’re taking it and what if any side effects you need to know about.
  • Ask how to reach the doctor if you have questions or concerns – by email? By phone? What hours are best? How soon can you expect a response?
  • Don't leave until you feel you have a comfortable understanding of your condition, know the next steps, and have the answers to your questions.