Talking to your doctor

It's hard to make a real commitment to your treatment unless you fully understand how it will help and what the risks may be. People may stop taking a medication that is helping them or stop eating a healthier diet because they don't understand all the risks and benefits of treatment. Your doctor can provide you with this information – here are a few questions to ask:

  1. What is the benefit of using this treatment?
  2. How much will this treatment reduce my risk of heart attack and stroke? (ask for specific numbers)
  3. What are the main risks of this treatment?
  4. How likely are these treatment risks? (ask for specific numbers)

Your doctor can give you a realistic idea of the benefits and risks of your treatment, so you can make an informed decision. Your doctor can also help you take control of your treatment by helping you learn more about what to expect from your treatment and what you should do if side effects occur.

Taking control of your treatment:

  1. When can I expect results from my treatment?
  2. How will I know that my treatment is working?
  3. What side effects should I be looking for (this doesn't only apply to medication users), and what should I do if they happen? (Ask your doctor to be specific about exactly what you should do, such as "stop taking the medication", "get immediate medical attention," or "make an appointment with your doctor next week")
  4. When should I come back to have my cholesterol checked?
  5. What target levels of cholesterol should I be aiming for? What are my levels now?
  6. What changes should I be making in my lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise) to help get my cholesterol to healthy levels?

Talking to your doctor can help you make an informed decision about cholesterol treatment, and take control of the treatment plan that you and your doctor choose. If you're not sure of the answers to any of the questions above, make an appointment to see your doctor about your cholesterol treatment!

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