Ask questions. If there are questions you have prior to the visit, write them down so you won’t forget about them. And don't hesitate to ask your doctor about something he or she says during the visit or about any instructions you’re given. Make sure you understand whatever is discussed. Remember, no question is “dumb” or “silly.”
Take notes. Bring a notepad with you to the appointment so you can jot down notes. Of course, you can always make notes on your phone or mobile device. You may even want to ask your doctor if it would be okay for you to record the visit.
Make a list of health concerns and symptoms. To make sure you don’t miss anything, start preparing the list a few days before the visit. Be thorough and detailed. When it comes to symptoms, jot down details like when your symptoms began, what they feel or look like, how long they last, etc. Prioritize your list so you can discuss your most important concerns first.
Be honest. Telling your doctor the truth about your lifestyle and habits is vital. Avoiding or not telling your doctor about something could be harmful. So don’t hold back when discussing subjects like your diet, exercise, tobacco use, sleep pattern, and/or alcohol or drug use. Remember whatever you say will be kept confidential.
Know your meds. Bring a list of your current medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Make note of dosage and frequency. If you’re taking any vitamins or herbal supplements, your doctor should be told about those as well.
As the years have gone by, visits with our doctors seem to have gotten shorter and shorter… even as our ailments seem to be increasing with age. Today, if we’re lucky, we get about 15 minutes with our physicians. And those 15 minutes often feel rushed.
It’s easy to leave an appointment feeling confused and with some questions left unanswered. Many of us have walked out of a doctor’s office more than once only to realize we had forgotten to mention something important or without a full understanding about something the doctor said.If we want to get the most out of a doctor’s appointment, it helps to be organized and prepare in advance.
Here are a few steps you can take to help your prepare for your next doctor's visit.