Getting a Second Opinion
Getting a second opinion is something that people do when they are diagnosed with heart disease, heart failure, or even other diseases. People ask for a second opinion for several reasons.
A few reasons why you may ask for a second opinion is if you are confused about your diagnosis and you have unanswered questions, for confirmation of your disease, or if you are not confident in what the doctors are telling you.
Or maybe you were diagnosed in a small hospital and you want to know about what a specialist in a bigger hospital thinks. There may be other reasons as to why people may ask for a second opinion.
When should you ask for a second opinion? How should you ask for a second opinion? And how do you find a doctor for a second opinion?
The reason I got a second opinion
For me, the first time that we sought a second opinion was when I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. I was diagnosed at a hospital in Pittsburgh- mind you, my primary care doctor was in Maryland. The reason I was in Pittsburgh was for a natural bodybuilding competition that I was competing in. I ended up having a stroke and then later being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.
The reason why we sought a second opinion was because we needed to confirm what the doctors were saying. Also, we did not know much about dilated cardiomyopathy so we needed answers to all our questions.
A time I wished I had gotten one
When I would complain to my cardiologist about how I was feeling, he would brush it off and tell me that I was fine. When my primary care doctor did the B-type natriuretic Peptide (BNP) blood test and it was 736, and my cardiologist said that they usually see people with higher BNP levels like in the 1000 range and that my levels were not a cause for concern. Of course, it was easy for him to say, he was not the one experiencing what my body was doing.
This was a case that I definitely should have sought a second opinion but I did not. When I look back it is something that I wish I had done.
When should you seek a second opinion?
Well, the answer to that question is different for everyone. For me, it was as soon as I was diagnosed, because I was 25 years old and all of my annual physicals were normal every year.
It was the first time that I was told that something was wrong with my heart and we just needed to be educated on what cardiomyopathy was and how it would affect me.
How should you ask your doctor for a second opinion?
Just sit down with them and explain your concerns or your questions about your condition, and available treatment options. After saying all of this, you can then ask them for a referral to see a different doctor.
Now this is a nice way to do it, but if this seems like a lot you can ask the doctor for a second opinion.
How do I find a doctor for a second opinion about my heart failure?
A lot of the time we do not know the exact doctor that will be right for us. Your doctor may be able to recommend someone who specializes in your condition.
After getting your second opinion you can either discuss it further with your doctor or sometimes people want a third opinion before they choose.
It just depends on how comfortable you are with your condition. This is a good time to start advocating for yourself and your health.
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