What to ask your doctor1

Don’t wait to be asked about a symptom or concern. Tell your doctor what’s on your mind. That way important information won’t get overlooked.

Never be embarrassed about bringing something up or asking questions! Here are a few to get you started:

  • How severe is my condition?
  • How will my condition change over time?
  • Are there activities I should avoid?
  • Are there things I should do each day?
  • What medicines do you recommend?
  • What are the most common side effects of my medicines?
  • Are there any local support groups I could join?
  • Are there any alternative treatments that may be able to help me?
  • When should I seek immediate medical attention?
  • What signs and symptoms are considered an emergency?

It is also important to notify your doctor about other treatments you may be taking in addition to your heart failure medication.

Additional tips

You may have a lot of questions. But sometimes starting the conversation isn’t so easy! That’s where a little preparation can help. Keep records of your heart failure treatment and progress. Bring your records when you see your doctor.

  • Keep a journal. Log your weight and any side effects from your medicine, as well as any other symptoms or concerns you experience. It can help your doctor or nurse better understand your everyday life. Ask for advice on how to make things more comfortable at home
  • Bring a medication list. If you see more than one doctor, it’s important to make sure they all know what treatments you take
  • List your goals. Write down what you want from your meeting. It will help you remember concerns about your heart failure since your last visit. It also helps you feel accomplished


1: Self-Care: Following Your Treatment Plan and Dealing with Your Symptoms. Available at: http://www.hfsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Module-4-Update.pdf. Accessed November 7’ 2016.