Talking to a healthcare professional is an important step in determining if your symptoms could be atrial fibrillation (AFib). There are many methods a doctor can use to determine if your symptoms are AFib, but there are also some things you can do to prepare for your appointment that may assist a healthcare professional in the examination.
Symptoms of AFib can come and go, so tracking them can help give a doctor important information. Download and fill out the Symptom Guide to help document your symptoms.
Talk with a loved one
Consider talking with a loved one about your symptoms and asking them to accompany you to a doctor’s appointment, because their support can be important for your journey.
Write down questions
It’s important to understand your symptoms and condition, so before your appointment write down any questions you may have for a doctor.
KEEP TRACK OF medications
Make a list of any medications that you’re currently taking—including over-the-counter/ non-prescription pills, medications, and
sure to discuss these
with a doctor.
Gather insurance information
Be sure to bring any insurance information you may need, such as your insurance card.
Bring your filled-out Symptom Guide and list of questions to your appointment. Detailed information about your symptoms and how often they appear can be helpful information for you and the doctor during your examination.
Only a healthcare professional can diagnose AFib. In order to detect AFib, a healthcare professional may conduct various tests:
Pulse checks are simple tests where a healthcare professional will place their fingers near an artery and measure the pulse, or the number of heartbeats per minute.
Auscultation of the heart is the method of listening to the heart with a stethoscope during a physical examination to determine if it sounds normal or abnormal.
Electrocardiogram, also called EKG or ECG, is a test that uses small patches called electrodes, placed on the skin, to monitor heart rhythm and detect abnormal rhythms. EKGs can be used to confirm the diagnosis of AFib.
Because the symptoms of AFib may come and go, a healthcare professional may need to monitor your heart to detect episodes of AFib. It is important that you continue to stay in contact with a healthcare professional throughout the diagnosis process.
ADVOCATING FOR YOURSELF
Remember, you are your biggest advocate, and taking a few steps to prepare for your appointment can help as you partner with a healthcare professional.
Familiarize yourself with AFib symptoms and risk factors.
It is also important to understand that you can experience
symptoms or have risk factors but not have AFib. You
could also have AFib and not experience any symptoms.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, contact a
doctor or healthcare professional.