Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Heart Disease and Depression

It's critical to treat both for a positive outcome

The following is a list of questions for discussion with your doctor about heart disease and depression from Second Opinion. But it is not a comprehensive list.

  • How do I know if I'm depressed or just have a case of the blues?

  • Are their other medical conditions that can produce similar symptoms?

  • Should I have tests to rule out other conditions?

  • What are the differences between mild, moderate and severe depression?

  • What can I do to limit my risk for heart disease because of my depression?

  • How does depression contribute to heart disease?

  • Are there other physical illnesses I may be more susceptible to because of my depression?

  • What are my treatment options?  If applicable: Are my options limited because of my existing heart disease?

  • What are the implications of not having treatment?

  • Is it safe to have heart surgery when I'm still feeling depressed?

  • If medication is prescribed:

    ◦    How will I know if new symptoms are a side effect of my medication or more symptoms of the depression itself?
    ◦    What medication side effects would make you take me off this medication and try another?
    ◦    Is trial and error the only way to find the right medication for depression? 

  • If psychotherapy is prescribed:

    ◦    What type of psychotherapy do you suggest? Why?
    ◦    How does psychotherapy help? 

  • Can my depression be cured or just managed?

  • What should I do if I'm feeling suicidal? 

  • Are there sources in the community to help me?

  • What does my family need to know?

This article reprinted with permission from Second Opinion, a public television health program hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo and produced by WXXI (Rochester, N.Y.),  West 175 and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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