photo of patient talking with doctor

One of the many aspects of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) you can control is what you know about it, and how to move forward in healthy ways. 

At your appointment, your doctor will discuss your condition and ask you questions. If you don’t understand something about your condition or treatment, or if your doctor didn’t mention something you want to know – ask questions. It’s your body, your condition, and your job to manage it: Be proactive and make sure you have all the information you need. 

Before your appointment, make a list of all the questions you have. If your doctor covers them, you can cross them off the list. If you don’t understand what a certain medical term means or how a process works, don’t be afraid to ask. 

Don’t assume you’ll remember everything later. Jot down notes or bring a friend or family member who’ll do that so you can listen and focus. 

Understanding Your Condition

  • Do I have high cholesterol? 
  • What are my numbers, and what do they mean? 
  • What’s the difference between high cholesterol and ASCVD?
  • What factors put me at risk for ASCVD? 
  • What percentage of my arteries are blocked with plaque? 
  • How can you tell?
  • How does ASCVD cause a heart attack or stroke? 

Tests, Treatment and Medicine

  • Do I need any tests? 
  • Do I need treatment? If so, what are my options? 
  • Do I need medicine? If so, are there any side effects?
  • Should they be taken with food, or at a certain time of day? 
  • If you recommend a statin, do the benefits outweigh the risks? 


  • Can I prevent or avoid ASCVD? If so, how? 
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make? 
  • Are there any foods I should eat more of or avoid? 
  • Should I lose weight? If so, how much? 
  • What kind and how much exercise do you recommend? 

Moving Forward 

  • What’s my cholesterol goal? 
  • How long will it take me to reach it? 
  • Am I at risk for a heart attack, stroke, or other conditions?
  • How will I know if my condition gets worse?
  • How often should I have my cholesterol checked? 
  • What are the next steps? 
  • If I have more questions in the future, what’s the best way to communicate with you? 

Show Sources

Photo Credit: FatCamera / Getty Images


National Institute on Aging: “What Should I Ask My Doctor During A Checkup?” “Atherosclerosis.”

American Heart Association: “Questions for Your Doctor.”

CardioSmart: “Questions to Ask.”

Mayo Clinic: “Statins: Are These Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Right for You?”

Christus Health: “What to Expect at Your First Cardiologist Visit.”