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Talking to Your Doctor about Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With PAD | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with PAD. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of things you may have missed.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Developing Symptomatic Disease

  • Will I develop symptoms in the future? How soon will that happen??

About Your Risk of Developing Severe Complications

  • How likely is it that I will have complications like infection or gangrene ?

About Treatment Options

  • Can you help me with foot care and advice, or do I have to see a podiatrist?
  • What medications do you recommend?
    • What effects, both positive and negative, can I expect?
    • Will they interact with anything I am already taking?
    • How long will I have to take them?
  • Are there alternative therapies that have been shown to help treat PAD?
  • Will surgery ever be necessary?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Am I doing all I can to address the causes of this condition to help keep it from getting worse?
  • Please give me the information I need to engage in a proper, safe exercise program.

About Outlook

  • What can I expect in the future?
  • Do I have any other conditions that affect my blood vessels?
  • How and why does PAD (with other conditions) affect my risk for heart attack and stroke ?

References:

Heart-to-heart. Talking to your doctor. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ConsumerHealthCare/Heart-to-heart-Talking-to-Your-Doctor_UCM_323844_Article.jsp. Updated June 20, 2013. Accessed June 23, 2014.

Preparing for medical visits. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacRehab/Preparing-for-Medical-Visits_UCM_307053_Article.jsp. Updated April 22, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.

Talking to your doctor. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://nih.gov/clearcommunication/talktoyourdoctor.htm. Accessed June 23, 2014.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated May 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.



Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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