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Communicate with Your Doctor
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You will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor after your heart event and to evaluate your recovery. Your doctor should also review your medications with you, so be sure to discuss any side effects or problems you might be having. Depending on your progress, your doctor will schedule periodic check-ups with you that are vitally important to your recovery - do not miss them! You may also need to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked every few months.

Before your doctor visits, make a list of any unusual symptoms, side effects to medicines, or questions you have. Make a copy and leave the list with your doctor so s/he can read it at leisure. During your visit, be frank with your doctor about any unhealthy behaviors - such as failing to take your medicines, regularly eating fast foods, smoking, or drinking too much alcohol - so, together, you can figure out ways to curb your behavior. Also, report any new information you learn about your family's history of heart disease, stroke, obesity, depression, and diabetes.

Depression is common among women with heart disease - and even more so among women who have had heart attacks. In many cases, the depression will lift several weeks after a heart attack but if it persists, tell your doctor. Symptoms of depression to watch for are: always feeling sad, often teary, having no energy, feeling restless and irritable, inability to sleep or eat, lost interest in activities you once enjoyed, or recurrent thoughts of death. Your doctor can treat depression with medicines or refer you to a therapist for counseling.

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the nearly 48 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a founding partner of The Heart Truth Red Dress campaign. The Heart Truth and Red Dress are trademarks of HHS.