If you think you may have high cholesterol, or are worried about having high cholesterol because of a strong family history, make an appointment with your family doctor, screening centre or RediCare clinic to have your cholesterol level checked.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of ground to cover, it’s a good idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor or health coach.
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet. For a cholesterol test, you will likely have to avoid eating or drinking anything (other than water) for nine to 12 hours before the blood sample is taken.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing. High cholesterol itself has no symptoms, but high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Letting your doctor know if you have symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath can help your doctor decide how aggressively your high cholesterol needs to be treated.
- Write down key personal information, including a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure or diabetes, and any major stresses or recent life changes, as well as exposure to other cardiac risks, such as a personal history of smoking or exposure to family members who smoke (secondary exposure).
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements if any, that you’re taking.
- Be prepared to discuss your diet and exercise habits. If you don’t already exercise or eat a healthy diet, be ready to talk to your doctor about any challenges you might face in getting started. RediCare can help you with a program to implement a cholesterol reducing eating plan and monitored exercise.