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Doing Doctor Appointments the Right Way
A healthy patient-doctor relationship is like any good relationship: communication needs to go both ways. Besides nurses, therapists, pharmacists and other healthcare providers, it’s important that you take an active role in your well being and be a part of your health care team.
The following tips can help you make the most out of your doctor visit and make sure you can cover everything you need to discuss.
Decide What’s Important
If you have a few topics to discuss with your doctor, write them down beforehand and put them in order, starting with the most important. Do you have new symptoms you’re concerned about? Are you experiencing issues with your medication? Prioritizing a list of concerns will help assure you bring up important points you might otherwise forget.
Be sure to bring up any changes you have noticed in your sleep, appetite, energy level or any stresses in your life. The details may provide helpful insights to your doctor.
You might be tempted to say what you think the doctor wants to hear. "Yes, I’ve stopped snacking on potato chips - only steamed broccoli for me!" It’s natural but, it’s not always in your best interest. Your doctor can help best when you provide complete and truthful information. Be open and honest with your doctor so that they can point your health in the right direction.
Bring a List of Medications and Supplements
Write down a list of your medications or take pictures of the bottles with your smartphone. Doing so will give your doctor important information that could prevent potential problems. Remember to include dosing information and be sure to include any supplements you are taking, since they can interact with your medications.
Ask More Questions
Don’t be shy! You should be completely comfortable with the information that your doctor has provided. If not, ask questions to clarify any confusion. What may have caused your condition? What are the common side effects of your medications? What should you expect in the future? When should you return for another visit? Beyond physical ailments, your doctor is there to provide peace of mind. Ask more questions!
Download your own checklist for your upcoming doctor appointment and start preparing today.
For more information on talking with your doctor, consult the National Institute on Aging’s Talking With Your Doctor.
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