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Talking to Your Doctor About Your Health
- Write a list of concerns and questions. Include any new symptoms you may be having (ie, a change in appetite, sleeping, energy level, or other daily habits).
- Bring a list of all prescription medicines, vitamins, herbal remedies, dietary supplements, over-the-counter medicines, and any other nonprescription medicines you are taking.
- Consider bringing a friend or relative with you.
- Be honest. Do not just say what you think the doctor wants to hear.
About Your Condition
About Your Treatment
- What are my treatment choices?
- How successful has this form of treatment typically been?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What are the benefits of this form of treatment?
- Are there any side effects I should watch for?
- What are the risks involved with this treatment?
- For medicines, what should I do if I miss a dose?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies I should consider?
- Should I avoid any foods, drugs, activities, or alcohol?
- Will my medicine interact with any other prescribed medicines, over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements that I am currently taking?
- How will I know if my treatment has been successful?
About Your Tests
- What kind of tests will I have?
- What will these tests tell you?
- When will I have the results?
- Will you call me with the results?
- What do I need to do to prepare for the tests?
- Are there any risks associated with the tests?
- Will I need more tests later?
If You Do Not Understand Your Doctor's Answers
- Ask more questions. Ask the doctor to explain any words or concepts that you do not understand.
- Bring a pad of paper and take notes. Or ask your doctor to write things down for you.
- Ask your doctor for any written materials, pamphlets, or videos that may relate to your condition.
- Ask where you can get more information.
- Try talking with other healthcare providers (such as nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, and pharmacists) who may take more time to explain things to you.
National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov/
Women's Health.gov http://www.womenshealth.gov/
Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfp.ca/
Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca/
National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov . Accessed July 15, 2008.
The National Women's Health Information Center website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/ . Accessed July 15, 2008.