Expect a conversation – the exam traditionally begins with you providing a medical history. Your doctor should have reviewed some of the medical information from your forms and any medical records available. Here’s just some examples of the information that the doctor is trying to obtain as well as some sample questions you might be asked.
Searching for a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol
1. Who in your family has high cholesterol?
2.Who in your family has had complications from high cholesterol i.e. heart attack, stroke, limb artery disease, unexplained sudden death?
3. Who in your family is overweight or obese?
Screening for other medical conditions causing/worsening your abnormal cholesterol levels i.e. low thyroid, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, smoking, certain medications.
Screening for complications from high cholesterol such as heart disease, peripheral artery disease, or stroke.
1. Have you ever had a heart attack, stroke, or any artery related problem?
2. Do you have chest discomfort with exertion?
3. Do you feel winded or easily fatigued with exertion?
4. Do your legs predictably cramp or ache after walking a certain distance?
5. Have you ever experienced any permanent or transient loss of vision, coordination, speech, or strength?
Screening for other medical problems that put you at higher risk for complications from high cholesterol such as diabetes and high blood pressure
1. Have you ever had your blood sugar or blood pressure checked before?
2. Do you ever feel that you are always thirsty yet have to urinate frequently?
3. Does your vision occasionally become blurry for unknown reasons?
4. Do you often experience pulsing headaches especially in the morning?
Evaluation of lifestyle habits
1. Do you smoke?
2. Do you drink alcohol? If so, what type, how much, and how often?
3. What is a typical meal plan for you in a normal day?
4. Do you exercise? If so, what type, how often, and for how long?
5. Are you gaining or losing weight?
What to expect during the physical exam? A look, listen, and feel from head to toe.
a. Eyes – looking at the blood vessels and retina for signs of complications related to diabetes and high blood pressure.
b. Neck – feeling for the thyroid.
c. Heart – feeling and listening to the heart sounds.
d. Lungs – listening for normal air movement.
e. Abdomen – evaluating the liver and feeling and listening to blood vessels in the belly.
f. Pulses – neck, wrist, belly, groin, and feet. Feeling and listening for abnormal blood flow.
g. Skin – looking for cholesterol deposits around the eyes, on tendons, and on pressure points on the skin such as the elbows.
h. Nerve – checking strength, sensation, coordination, and walking.
i. Arms and legs – looking for signs of decreased blood flow such as cool or purplish skin and hair loss.
Published On: January 29, 2007