Heart Failure Questions to Ask Your Doctor

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People with heart failure often share many of the same concerns.

The list of questions below may help you come up with questions for your physician or healthcare team.

Although these questions are from the patient’s point of view, you can ask versions of these same questions as a caregiver.

  • What's my diagnosis? Is the heart failure mild? Moderate? Severe?
  • What should I expect within the next few weeks, months and years? How is the condition likely to progress?
  • What are some specific ways that my daily life will change? Can I still work, play golf, have sex or do the laundry? (Fill in whatever activity you’re wondering about.)
  • What are the three most important things my family and I can do to manage this condition?
  • What strategies have other patients found useful for motivating themselves to eat better, exercise, stop smoking and make other lifestyle changes?
  • What will happen if I slip back into unhealthy habits?
  • Do you recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program? If so, where will it take place? How often?
  • It’s difficult to keep the medication schedule straight. Is there any way we can simplify it?
  • A certain medication (name it) is causing side effects that are hard to deal with. Is there some way to minimize those side effects? Is there another equally good medication available?
  • What if my health insurance plan doesn’t cover the treatment or medication you’re recommending? What’s our next step?
  • If any symptoms seem to get worse or change suddenly, what’s the best way for us to contact you?

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