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Talking to Your Doctor about Nutritional Anemia

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with anemia. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Developing Anemia
  • What is my risk of developing anemia?
  • What can I do to decrease that risk?
  • Am I getting adequate nutrition in my diet?
  • Is my diet appropriate for my weight and lifestyle?
  • Should I be checked for anemia?
About Treatment Options
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the relative risks of the various options?
  • Is a transfusion necessary, or is there a safer alternative?
  • If I need medication, how long should I take this medication?
  • Will the medication interact with anything else I am taking?
  • What are the side effects?
  • How often should I check back with you?
  • Can I treat my anemia through dietary changes?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • Do I need to alter my diet or other lifestyle habits?
  • Are there any activities I should avoid?
About Your Outlook
  • Will anemia affect my quality of life? Temporarily or permanently?
  • How long will I have to live with any restrictions?

References

US Preventive Services Task Force . US Department of Health and Human Services. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm . Accessed February 2007.

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