There are a number of tests you may encounter and that your doctors may discuss with you. Such tests may include blood pressure, cholesterol, a chest X-ray, an ECG and perhaps even an exercise stress ECG. If your doctor thinks you have problems with your heart valves or muscle, they may also order an ultrasound of the heart (an echocardiogram).
The tests you have are an important aid to your medical team to understand how best to help you, but they’re also an opportunity for you to understand your condition and the options available to you. If you don’t feel you have an understanding of how a test might affect your treatment or risk then take the time to talk to your doctor or doctors so you do understand. You have more stake than anyone else in making sure that the treatment is right for you.
Although many people prefer to leave the treatment decisions to the doctors, nurses and other clinicians, you have an important role to play in determining what’s right for you, what risk you’re prepared to accept and what risks (or even what treatments) you’d prefer to avoid.
Last published: 31 October 2011
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