How Does A Patient’s Medical History Help To Diagnose CHF?

Your doctor will ask you many questions about your symptoms and medical history. A frank discussion of your history and symptoms is very important in helping the doctor make an accurate diagnosis. Don’t be afraid to “look bad” by admitting to a poor diet and absent exercise habits. In addition, don’t downplay symptoms of chest pain, fatigue, and increasing shortness of breath.

A patient history gathers information about possible causes of heart failure including:

History of heart murmurs
Family history of cardiomyopathy
Alcohol and illegal drug use (cocaine, heroin, anabolic steroids)
Diet. For example, high-fat diets can lead to coronary artery disease or thiamine deficiency can lead to reversible cardiomyopathy.
Medication history
History of high blood pressure, including treatment
History of childhood rheumatic fever
History of endocarditis or intravenous drug use
History of cancer treatment, especially some chemo-therapy and radiation treatments to the chest area
Prior chest pains or heart attack
Recent viral illness
Recent pregnancy
History of Diabetes or amyloidosis

Victoria’s comment:

During my first visit to the cardiologist, I filled out many questionnaires about my Health and my family’s health. The cardiologist seemed to ask me questions for hours about what my symptoms were like, what I ate, how I cooked, what medications I was taking, and on and on. I see now that he was trying to find out what risk factors there were for my heart failure, but at the time it was a real pain in the neck.

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