Preparing for a doctor appointment

Get the most from your doctor appointments.

Have you ever felt under the weather or had concerns about your health and visited a doctor to address these reasons? Many of us may feel frustrated after the appointment because there still are so many unanswered questions. The following are tips from Michigan State University Extension that will make it easier to cover your concerns with your physician.

Before going to your next doctor’s appointment take the time to do the following:

  • Make a list of your concerns and prioritize them. What is it that you need to discuss? Are your concerns related to symptoms, medication or something you have read about in a magazine or on the internet? If you have a number of items to discuss, put them in order. This will make it easier for a very busy doctor and for you. You will feel pleased once you leave the office that you know you discussed everything you went in intending to.
  • Take valuable information with you. If you are seeing a new doctor or if you have multiple doctors, make sure you always carry a current medication list, including supplements (such as vitamin pills), over the counter ointments and remedies. The doctor can review the list and make sure your drugs and supplements are not reacting against one another. Bring your insurance cards and names and phone numbers of other doctors you may be seeing. This way doctors can communicate on your behalf so you get the best treatment possible. If you are seeing a different doctor for the first time, bring previous medical records if possible.
  • Bring your hearing aids and glasses. These aids will help you see and hear the doctor more clearly. If you have a challenge seeing or hearing, make sure you bring someone that can help you understand the doctor. By the same token, if you need an interpreter, ask someone to help you. Local schools, health departments, commission on aging or county offices can direct you to an interpreter. Bringing family or a close friend may also help (so that you understand) what the doctor is saying. You may have to politely ask a doctor or nurse to “please speak louder and slower.”
  • Update your doctor. Sit down before your appointment and make a chronical list of what has been going on since your last visit. Keeping a weekly health diary will help you remember between appointments. Have you been in the emergency room? Any changes in your appetite, weight, sleep or energy level? These are all key health issues your doctors should be aware of to ensure you get the maximum help for your health.

For more tips on health and nutrition refer to:

MSU Extension chronic disease

National Institute on Aging

National Institutes of Health

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