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In This Article

You’ve made your first appointment with a specialist to talk about atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). But before your physical exam, your doctor will need to get some basic information about your symptoms, health history, lifestyle, and more. This is the key to your treatment, so a smooth and productive visit depends on having this information ready. 

Put a Folder Together

Any visit to the doctor means that there will be paperwork. This simple tool can make it easier to access it all. You may find that a binder with pockets is helpful, too, since it allows you to separate everything by category. It also gives you a place to keep any information your doctor gives you. 

Health Insurance and Payment Information

When you make your appointment, make sure that your doctor’s office accepts your insurance and find out which insurance cards and forms they’ll need. You should also verify copays. To help you complete your forms, you’ll need: 

  • A photo ID 
  • Your health insurance card 
  • Your prescription plan card 
  • Any needed referral or treatment authorization forms 

A List of ASCVD Symptoms 

You may not have symptoms of ASCVD, especially when it’s in the early stages. This is something your doctor needs to know. If you do have symptoms, take some time before your visit to make notes about them. Be as clear and detailed as you can be. You’ll want to tell your doctor: 

  • What symptoms you have
  • When they started 
  • If they’ve been getting better or worse 
  • If there is a pattern to when they happen
  • How long they last 
  • What seems to trigger them 

Your Medical History

Your doctor will want to know about your own medical history in detail. Be ready to tell them about any illnesses you’ve had and any conditions that you’re currently treating. They’ll want to see a list of: 

  • Results of any diagnostic work, such as MRIs, X-rays, and lab reports
  • Any surgeries you’ve had 
  • Medical procedures of any kind

Family Health History

Your doctor will ask you about your family’s health history as well as yours. So before your visit, ask a family member or two who know the details about the health of your close relatives, including parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. This can include such things as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. If your relatives have been treated for these things, you’ll need to know: 

  • What conditions they have or had 
  • Their ages when these conditions were diagnosed 
  • Treatments they received 
  • Any reactions they had to their treatments

Be sure to write down as many details as you can so you can give your doctor as complete a picture as possible. 

List of Health Care Providers

Your specialist will want to see a list of everyone who’s treated you, including your dentist and chiropractor, for the last 2 years. They may need to get copies of your medical records. This list may also prompt them to ask you questions. 

For example, if they see that you’re seeing a natural-healing practitioner, they may ask about treatments, medications, or supplements that they wouldn’t ask about without knowing you’re also seeing a natural practitioner. You could be taking an herbal supplement for blood pressure that may not interact well with something your specialist plans on prescribing. Or it may not be working and they may recommend a different course of treatments altogether.

This information takes time to pull together and complete. Ask your doctor when you make your appointment if they can send you the medical history form in advance so you can do this at home. 

Prescriptions and Supplements List

Bring a list of any medications you are currently taking. Don’t forget to include vitamins and supplements. You can also ask your pharmacist or primary care provider for a list of what you were prescribed in the last year, even if you are no longer taking them. To be extra thorough, gather medications, vitamins, and supplements in a plastic bag and bring them with you.

A List of Questions

It’s likely that you’ll have at least a few questions for your doctor. You can find suggestions for questions online at websites for ASCVD or health care providers. But if you’re concerned about something, ask about it. Your list will be unique to you. Write it down so you’ll be sure to ask them all. If you don’t understand all the answers, ask the doctor to make them clear to you. 

Bring a Friend or Family Member

It’s a good idea to bring a family member or close friend to your appointment with you if you can. You don’t want them to take control of the time or question your treatment. But they can take notes for you so that you can remember everything that you and your doctor talk about. They can also help you remember all the questions that you want to ask. Be sure to fill this person in on the reason for your appointment before you go and let them know how they can best help you.

Show Sources

Photo Credit: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images


Dignity Health: “Cardiologist Appointment: What You Need and What to Expect.”

American Heart Association: “Doctor Appointments: Working With Your Doctor.”

National Institute on Aging: “How to Prepare for a Doctor's Appointment.” “3 tips to prepare for your first doctor’s visit.”

Grady Health: “Make An Appointment.”