Protect Your Health
Learn about health conditions, how to find a doctor, questions to ask your doctor and other resources and support to protect your health.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
You’ve probably thought of many questions about how to stay healthy and get the best care. If not, we have some ready for your use. It may be helpful to print out this list of suggested questions and bring them with you to your doctor’s appointment.
Is the only national patient-centered organization that focuses exclusively on building awareness, support and education on women’s heart disease. WomenHeart has developed a national network of almost 100 patient support groups across the country in more than 30 states and has trained more than 900 women heart disease survivors to support outreach and education for women.
Artery: A blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the rest of the body.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib): In AFib, the upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat rapidly and irregularly (fibrillate). This can cause blood to pool and form clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage.
Cardiologist: A physician who specializes in treating diseases and disorders impacting the heart.
Cardiovascular disease: Can refer to a number of conditions, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve problems.
Coronary artery disease (CAD): CAD happens when plaque builds up on the inner walls of your coronary arteries. This causes the arteries to harden and narrow, which decreases blood flow to your heart. In some cases, it can lead to a heart attack.
Critical limb ischemia (CLI): This is the most severe form of peripheral artery disease (PAD). It occurs when the blood vessels supplying blood to the lower leg, foot and toes becomes blocked with the same fatty material (plaque) that causes heart attacks. If left untreated, it often results in amputation.
Electrophysiologist: Physicians who have advanced training in treating issues related to the heart’s electrical system, like heart arrhythmias.
Extremities: This refers to the arms, hands, feet and legs.
Health equity: This means that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full health potential, and that no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.
Heart attack: When the blood supply to your heart muscle is blocked and a portion of the heart muscle dies.
Heart failure: A common, yet serious condition that despite its name, it doesn’t mean that your heart will suddenly stop working. Instead, heart failure develops slowly as the heart muscle gradually weaken.
Interventional cardiologist: A physician trained in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease and structural heart conditions through minimally invasive catheter-based procedures.
Interventional radiologist: A doctor who can interpret medical images and perform minimally invasive surgical procedures through small incisions in the body.
Occlusion: As it relates to medical terms, this means when something, such as a blood vessel, is blocked or closed off.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD): PAD is when the blood vessels in areas outside your heart become blocked. This serious circulation problem can affect arms but is most commonly found in the legs.
Physician: A person who has received necessary training in order to become certified to practice medicine.
Plaque: Fatty material that forms within in blood vessels and that can cause blockages.
Podiatrist: A doctor who specializes in treating disorders and injuries to the foot, ankle and parts of the leg.
Revascularization: A medical procedure that is used to restore blood flow to specific organs or tissues.
Stent: An expandable metal tube that supports the vessel wall and maintains blood flow through the opened vessel.
Stroke: A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts.
Thrombus: A clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to form a clot that can become lodged in a vessel and cause blockages.
Vascular surgeon: A physician who has been specifically trained to perform operations on blood vessels in order to re-establish blood flow to an impacted area of the body.
Vessel: In this reference, this is the general term describing arteries and veins within the vascular system, responsible for carrying blood throughout the body.