Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Doctor I Have a Question" ~ How to Talk to Your Doctor ....

Waiting in your doctor's office can become a bit unsettling. Especially if you came with a specific problem or concern (as in, this is not your routine/yearly check up)

As you flip through old magazines or view the latest health news, you are probably worrying about what is wrong and what is going on with you. You are probably aggravated because it's past your appointment time and you haven't been called yet. And finally, you're called in, have your vital signs taken and placed in a room. Then, when the doctor comes in the visit seems to fly by, it seems that you have only minutes to explain your symptoms and concerns. And after you explain your symptoms, the doctor may quickly write a prescription or order a test; so you have the prescription filled and you go and get the test ~ but you still have questions and concerns that you thought about but did'nt ask.

Here are some tips for talking with your doctor:

~ Make a list of concerns and questions - take them with you to your appointment.
Review these questions while you are waiting to be seen. Use this time to review your list and organize your thoughts.

~ Describe your symptoms clearly and briefly.
Tell your doctor when the symptoms started, how they make you feel,what you may be doing when the symptoms start what makes them better etc.

~ Tell your doctor what over-the-counter medicines you are taking such as vitamins, herbal products or any other supplements.

~ Don't be embarrassed about sensitive issues. Chances are your doctor has heard it all before...
You also need to be honest with your doctor about your diet, physical activity, if you smoke, your drug or alcohol use and your sexual activity. And please mention if you are being treated by other doctors. - withholding information can be harmful.

~ When you are given medicines and other treatments make sure you understand how to take the medicine
Understand what to do if you miss a dose and if there are any foods or activities that you should avoid while on the medication. Find out how long the medication or treatment will last. Ask about the side effects; if it's covered by your insurance, are there genetic substitutes. Your pharmacist can also help answer questions regarding medications.

~ If your doctor orders tests, be sure to ask how to find out about the results as well as the dangers and/or side effects of the tests. Make sure you get all instructions as to how to prepare for the tests and any do's or dont's regarding the test(s)

If you need to, bring a family member or friend to your appointment; that person can take notes as well as provide moral support and can help you remember what was discussed.

Understand everything before you leave the doctor's office. If you do not understand something, ask to have it explained again.

Knowing how to talk to your doctor or the nurse or any other health care professional will help you get the information you need - when you need it and will help you make the most of those often 'short' doctor visits.


To Your Continued Health and Success!
Miss Julia


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