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Talking to Your Doctor About Lipid Disorders

General Tips for Gathering InformationSpecific Questions to Ask About Lipid DisordersAbout The Risk of Developing Lipid DisordersAbout Treatment OptionsAbout Lifestyle ChangesAbout Treatment Goals

Everyone has their own health history. People should talk with their doctor about their risk factors and background with lipid disorders. Talking openly and often with the doctor can help people make the best choices for them and their family.

Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to the doctor:

  • Bring someone else to the doctor. It helps to have them hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions beforehand so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where to find more information. You have a right to know.
  • What is my total cholesterol?
  • What are my LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels?
  • What is my ratio of HDL to total cholesterol? What does this mean?
  • What range should my levels be in?
  • How will my lipid levels affect my risk for heart disease?
  • How does my health past, habits, and family background relate to my risk?
  • Can I prevent this problem?
  • Will I have to take medicine?
    • What are good and bad points of taking of these medicines?
    • Will they interact with other medicines, over the counter products, or supplements I am taking for other health problems?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
  • How long will I have to take medicine?
  • Can I take fish oil or niacin?
  • Should I exercise?
    • What type of exercise is best?
    • How much should I be exercising?
    • How do I get started with a program?
  • Should I change the foods I eat or meet with a dietitian?
  • Should I stop drinking?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • Do I need to lose weight? If so, how much? How can I do that safely?
  • Will I still need medicine if I change my habits?
  • How will I know if the medicine is working?
  • How will I know if my levels are in a healthy range?
  • How often will my levels need to be checked?
  • Can I stop taking medicine when my levels are in the right range?


Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:

Communicating with health care professionals. American Heart Association website. Available at: