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When to see your Doctor

You can never be too cautious in managing your condition, so be aware of changing symptoms and reach out to a doctor as soon as possible. Things to look out for include:

  • Feeling like your heart is beating too quickly or slowly
  • Feeling like your heart has skipping a beat
  • Feeling you’re having heart palpitations or a fluttering feeling in the chest
  • Feeling faint

 

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience any of these physical feelings. This is even more important if the symptoms persist, or if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure or a family history of heart problems.

  When should you call 000?

Call an ambulance or get someone to take you to the closest hospital emergency department if you have an irregular heart rhythm along with any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Chest pain

 

You should also call an ambulance if you are having signs of stroke. The FAST test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke, and involves checking the following:

  • Face: Check the person’s face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms: Can they lift both their arms?
  • Speech: Is their speech slurred? Can they understand you?

Time is critical, and in cases of stroke it is important to get to a hospital right away. If you see any of these signs call 000 immediately.

 

Doctor consultation guide – preparing for an appointment

Your appointment is a good chance to discuss your ongoing condition with your doctor and discuss better ways of managing it. Here’s how to make the most of every consult.

 

Monitor your symptoms

It’s important for your doctor to know about any changing symptoms. This will allow your doctor to better treat and manage your condition. Symptoms include:

Feeling of fluttering in the chest                                              Racing heartbeat (tachycardia) or slow heartbeat (bradycardia)

Feeling faint                                                                                    Feeling pauses between heartbeats, or like your heart missed a beat

 

Symptom Tracker

You can check and track your symptoms using a symptom tracker available at [insert link to symptom tracker page]. It can also help to talk about your symptoms with family and friends, as they may notice changes you have missed.

Keep a list of current medicines and tests

Keeping a list is important so all the doctors you see know which medicines you’re taking and which medical tests you’ve had. Don’t forget to include dosage of the medication and any other supplements you take, like vitamins.

Write down your questions and concerns

It can be hard to remember all the questions you want to ask your doctor. So, in the days leading up to the appointment, be prepared and make a list. These questions could be about side effects of medicines, ways to improve your condition, or practical questions about your care. Write everything down. It can also be helpful to bring a friend or family member to be part of the discussion. Don’t forget to write down the doctor’s advice. This is where a support person can help after the appointment in case you miss something.

It’s also helpful to make some practical steps with your doctor to work on for the next appointment. Setting small goals can make a big difference, building confidence and giving you something to aim for.

 

Examples of things to talk to your doctor about include:

 

Telling your doctor how you’re feeling. Try to be as specific as you can about changes in your symptoms. Give examples of how heart arrhythmia affects you in your daily life, such as:

I can’t do activities I used to enjoy, like mowing the lawn or walking the dog, because I get tired easily

When I walk up a flight of stairs, I get short of breath quickly

I find that I get dizzy and lightheaded more often than I used to.

 

Some examples of questions you might want to ask your doctor include:

  • How do you think my heart arrhythmia will affect my daily activities, like walking to the shops, mowing the lawn, or baking?
  • What can I expect with my heart arrhythmia over the next few months and years?
  • What changes can I make in my life to help improve my condition?
  • What are the possible side effects of my medicines?
  • If my other health conditions affect my arrhythmia, what can I do?

Make a plan

It’s worthwhile to work with your doctor to plan one to three things to work on before your next appointment. It could be a medical or a lifestyle improvement, but setting small goals can make a big difference, build confidence and give you something to aim for.

After your appointment

When you get home, look at your notes and update your family or friends about your appointment. The more they know about your health, the better they can support you.

Download our Symptom Tracker Guide now