Dr. Goldberg explains the best way a woman can advocate for her heart health at her doctor's office.
Well when you come to the visit, you should ask the doctor the leading question that’s on your mind. You know, this is not a guessing game. What really women need to know is the information they give their doctor is actually going to direct their medical care. See, you know that whole thing about "garbage-in garbage-out?” So when I interview a patient, the first thing I ask her is, "Well, why did you come in today?"
So if it’s a regular routine follow-up visit, like I gave you a blood pressure medicine and then I checked your blood pressure, that’s one thing, but a lot of the new patients I see come in, and some of them come in really because they’ve seen other doctors, and they say it’s a second opinion, but really what it is, is that they didn’t understand what the doctor was telling them.
So, the simplest thing to do is that a doctor-patient relationship is just that: it’s a relationship. So if you don’t understand what your doctor is saying to you, you need to just tell them that. You may not need to change doctors. You may just need to tell the doctor you didn’t understand something he or she said.
The other thing is you should bring a list of the few things that you need taken care of, that are relevant to the doctor you’re seeing. Like if you're going to the heart doctor, you need to say why you thought you needed to see the heart doctor because that tells us, I have my patients ask all their questions at the beginning of the visit because that really tells me what’s on their minds and what needs to be fixed.
In medical school we learned that the patient really tells you what’s wrong with them. The tests that you get are really to confirm or refute the working diagnosis that you have from the patient’s medical history.
About Dr. Nieca Goldberg, M.D.:
Dr. Nieca Goldberg is a cardiologist and a nationally recognized pioneer in women’s heart health. Her New York City practice Total Heart Care focuses primarily on caring for women. Dr. Goldberg is Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of NYU Women’s Heart Program, the Co-Medical Director of the 92nd Street Y’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red” campaign – an association for which she has volunteered for over 15 years and been a board member in NYC. She was formerly the Chief of Women’s Cardiac Care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.