Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Preparing for your doctor appointment

Calendar Day w Doctor's Appointment

You know the date and time for the appointment. You’ve got transportation arranged. You have your photo ID and insurance card handy. Here is some additional information to help you prepare ahead for your next doctor visit.

  • Are there any physical preparations you should make before your appointment? Should you be fasting because you will need blood tests? Should you wear loose-fitting clothing if you will be undergoing an imaging exam?

  • List all your medications, including prescriptions, over-the counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements. (You should keep this list in your wallet at all times, being sure that it is updated.)

  • Bring along your symptom diary. (You are keeping one, aren’t you?) Things which may seem unrelated to the reason for this doctor visit may be important for your physician to know about.

  • Take a trusted family member or friend with you. This is a safety measure. It’s really difficult to remember everything the doctor talks about. The appointments are short, but packed with information. Someone else in the exam room with you might remember something that you missed, forgot, or misunderstood. They might even take notes for you to review after you return home.

  • Be prepared with answers to the doctor’s likely questions. These may include:

  • What are your symptoms, such as numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness?

  • Where, specifically, do you feel these symptoms?

  • How long have you had these symptoms?

  • Do the symptoms come and go, or are they continuous?

  • Is there an activity you are doing or a position your body is in that seems to set off your symptoms?

  • Is there an activity you can do or a position you can move into that lessens your symptoms?

  • Write down the questions you want to ask during the appointment. This will help both you and the physician to concentrate on what is most important to cover during the appointment time frame. Here are some questions you may want to include:

  • What is the most likely cause of these symptoms?

  • Is my condition temporary or chronic (i.e. long-lasting)?

  • What kinds of tests might I need?

  • What treatment are you recommending?

  • Will I need to restrict any of my activities?

  • What are some alternatives to your recommended treatment?

  • Do you have any handouts or brochures where I can learn more? Are there any recommended websites?

  • I also have these other health conditions. What’s the best way for me to deal with them all together?

Preparation before your next doctor visit will make the trip much more productive.

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