February is American Heart Month, which is an important time to check in on your cardiovascular health and overall wellness. Unfortunately, heart disease remains the leading killer of adults in the U.S. However, taking a preventive approach and talking to your doctor about your heart health well before any symptoms appear can reduce fatalities caused by heart disease and stroke. If you do have heart health red flags, such as high cholesterol or hypertension, your doctor may recommend using a heart medication. Here’s what you need to know.
Types of Heart Medications
There are many different types of heart medication out there to address a variety of different heart health concerns. Most cardiologists will prescribe medications from the “big six” heart drugs: Statins, Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Warfarin, Beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors. These may be prescribed individually or in conjunction with one another:
- Statins are intended to lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.
- Aspirin, Clopidogrel, and Warfarin are all blood clot prevention medications.
- Beta-blockers treat heart attack and heart failure and sometimes are prescribed to lower blood pressure.
- Finally, ACE inhibitors treat heart failure and also lower blood pressure.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
While all of the above medications are very common for patients with heart disease warning signs, they should still be taken carefully and according to your doctor’s instructions.
As you begin a new heart medication, you should make sure you ask your doctor the following questions:
- Am I at high risk for heart attack and stroke?
- What do my cholesterol/blood pressure numbers mean? What is the normal range for these numbers?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to support my heart health?
- What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?
- How will this medication interact with other medications I currently take (including OTC meds)?
- Will I need to take this medication permanently?
- How will I know if the medicine is working?
- What are the possible side effects of this drug?
- Is there any reason I should discontinue taking this medication?
MeMD is here to help you with answers to your questions about your current medications and get refills without a trip to your doctor. To experience the convenience of our telehealth services, schedule a visit today.