Good Morning America suggests ” Learn Your Risks, Talk to Your Doctor and Take Action”

This Good Morning America article presents a number of important questions that you should ask your doctor.  Their suggested approach is to ” Learn Your Risks, Talk to Your Doctor and Take Action.”  This is consistent with creating a personal wellness plan and taking responsibility for your personal healthcare.  Note that this list includes requesting two blood tests:  1) a cholesterol test (or lipid profile) and 2) blood sugar level (or glucose), which can be obtained as part of a basic chemistry panel.

Women’s Heart Health: Learn Your Risks, Talk to Your Doctor and Take Action

Questions to Ask Your Doctor, Tests to Take and Information About Your Risk Factors

ABC News:  Feb. 1, 2010 

When it comes to heart health, many women are confused about their risk factors. What’s the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? What are the normal ranges for my test results? What about blood sugar and diabetes? What changes can I make to my diet to improve my heart health?

Dr. Richard Besser explains how to maintain a healthy heart. If you want to learn more about heart health and your individual risk factors, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says there are important questions to ask your doctor, risk factors you should be aware of and things you can do to lower them.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Heart Health

1. What is my risk for heart disease?

2. What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?

3. What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, HDL or “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?

4. What is my “body mass index” and waist measurement? Do they indicate that I need to lose weight for my health?

5. What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I’m at risk for diabetes?

6. What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?

7. What can you do to help me quit smoking?

8. How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?

9. What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?

10. How can I tell if I’m having a heart attack?

There are important risk factors for heart disease that you should be aware of, according to the NHLBI. Those include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood cholesterol.
  • Diabetes.
  • Smoking.
  • Being overweight.
  • Being physically inactive.
  • Having a family history of early heart disease.
  • Age (55 or older for women).

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