WHAT QUESTIONS

TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR

What Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Make The Most Of Your Time With Your Doctor

People usually go to the doctor because they have a medical problem they want to get treated.   Even when the visit is for an annual exam, the doctor or healthcare provider is usually the one that asks the questions - not you, the patient.  Still, the best doctor visits are those where the patient carefully explains their concerns about changes in their health with the physician - not the other way around.


Get more from your doctor visits by preparing yourself for your appointment. Make notes for yourself about what is happening; jot down questions, be able to elaborate and give examples about your issues.  You will feel more satisfied with the results of your visit and more confident in the treatment you get from your doctor.

Make the most of your visit to the doctor or healthcare provider.  Know why you are there; establish goals for  your doctor’s appointment; share your specific concerns, listen to his or her advice or instructions, and ask questions to make sure you understand what you are supposed to do after you leave the appointment.

8 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Doctor’s Appointment


1.  Know yourself and your body. Each person’s body is unique, and no one knows your body - and symptoms and reactions - better than you do.  Be aware of changes in the way your body is working and let your doctor know if you are concerned or think there may be a problem. They can’t help if you don’t tell them what’s wrong.  They rely on you to share information about how you’re feeling with them.

   

2.  Plan ahead. Many patients arrive without consciously identifying their goals for the visit. Prepare yourself for a medical consultation:  know why you are going; be ready to discuss and explain the reason for your visit; make a short list of specific concerns you would like to discuss and questions you need answers for.


3.  Dress with the purpose of your visit in mind.. Your practitioner needs to see and often feel the parts of the body in question. Make undressing as fast and easy as possible.  It is more comfortable for you, and it will enable you to spend more time consulting with the doctor.  (example: If you have a cough and ask if you might have pneumonia expect to have to take off your shirt (and bra, if appropriate) to have them listen to all parts of your lungs and heart. Wear a shirt that buttons all the way down and is easy to get in and out of.)


4.  Expect your doctor or health practitioner to ask certain basic questions - and be ready with the answers.  Doctors spend an average of 10-15 minutes per patient, from start to finish, including asking you all their questions, performing a physical examination, determining a diagnosis, and prescribing whatever treatments are necessary, then to write it all down in your permanent medical record.


5. Your job is to tell the doctor what is wrong or concerns you. The quicker you get these details out in the open, the quicker your health provider can help you get to a diagnosis and to a treatment solution. Your doctor’s job is to figure why, so he or she will ask you questions like these:


            “Where does it hurt?

            “What does it feel like?”

            “Does it move anywhere?”

            “How bad is it? How much does it affect you?”

            “When did it start?”

            “How long does it last?”

            “Does it come and go? Is it gradual or sudden in onset?”

            “What makes it better or worse?” and

            “Are there any other symptoms?”


Be ready for these questions with clear answers whenever possible.

The quicker you get these details or your concerns out in the open, the quicker your practitioner can help you get to a diagnosis and to a treatment solution. 


6.  Give a chronological account, but don’t ramble.  A good place to start is “this seems to have started (so many days ago) with…”. 


Sometimes it helps to track what concerns you by keeping informal notes. For example, if you have headaches (or stomachaches, or dizziness, or any other symptoms), keep track of each time you had it, what you were doing when it started, how long it lasted, what you did to make it go away (including medicines).


7.  Listen to the doctor’s response and instructions, ask questions, take short notes and educate yourself! Today's health care environment is increasingly complex and most practitioners appreciate a well educated patient to work with them as a team rather than a passive recipient of care.


8.  Follow up with your doctor or health care provider. If you have seen your doctor and gotten treatment, but your condition worsens, you have an adverse reaction to medication or the prescribed treatments doesn’t appear to be working, follow up with them immediately. 
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Seniors: What To Ask Your Doctor

The content on AsYouAge.com is provided as a courtesy for our site visitors. The information, resources, links, advertisements and other material on AsYouAge does not constitute a professional opinion or advice; nor does it constitute an endorsement of any organization or the information, products and/or services they may offer.

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