Specificity helps when describing heart symptoms

A recent scientific statement from American Heart Association (AHA) focuses on heart health symptoms, detailing how knowledge, open-mindedness, and more comprehensive conversations can create better patient outcomes.

Megan Streur, a nurse practitioner at the UW Medicine Heart Institute, says patients can help themselves by describing their symptoms with as much detail as possible. She suggests being mindful of factors such as timing, frequency, triggers, and other symptoms that occur at the same time.

“When it comes to your symptoms and helping us to decipher and figure out what's going on, it's just really helpful to have specific information," said Streur. "What time of day does it usually occur? Is there an event or a thing that you do that can trigger it?”

“Any other details that people have that goes along with what they're feeling symptomatically can really help us as clinicians then narrow down quicker to get at what's the root cause of that symptom.”

Streur, one of the statement’s co-authors, says it is also geared to help healthcare providers and researchers think critically about cardiovascular symptoms.

The AHA is hosting the 2022 Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk, with events Oct. 8 in Seattle and Oct. 15 in Tacoma.

Download broadcast-ready soundbites that convey how to best describe symptoms when speaking with your healthcare provider.

UW Medicine