Jul 17, 2023

Six things your doctor wishes you would ask

As a doctor of family medicine, I’ve seen a little of everything. Bumps and bruises, colds and flus. I’ve had the joy of being able to tell a worried patient that their symptoms are totally normal and the sadness of letting someone know they have legitimate reason for concern.

Through it all, I’ve found that information is one of the best weapons to safeguard health.

However, I’ve also found that many patients are afraid to ask questions that will help them better understand their bodies and their options.

If I could ensure any patient would ask their doctor six simple questions, here’s what they would be:

  • “…but what do you think?” The internet is an amazing tool that helps many patients learn more about what could be causing their symptoms, however Google doesn’t know the whole story. When you come to a doctor, it’s great to come prepared with research and information- but also be prepared to hear what your doctor thinks.
  • “What goals should we set before my next visit?” This question opens up opportunities to discuss areas of your health that could use a little care between visits. Preventative care is one of the best ways to maintain your health. Being open and receptive to improving your health between visits is a great way to learn more about your overall health and wellbeing- not just the issue that brought you in for your appointment.
  • “Are there any steps I can take to keep this from happening again?” While some illness and injury may be unavoidable, your doctor can help you think through ways of reducing the likelihood that your issue will pop up again. Additionally, they can help you with strategies to help reduce the risk of a condition getting worse. Talk with your doctor to find the preventative measures that are best for you and your lifestyle.
  • “Can you explain that again?” Medical jargon is a part of any doctor’s life. It can be easy for us to forget that a word, symptom or medication might be completely unfamiliar to a patient. If something doesn’t make sense, please ask your doctor to explain in more detail. Patients deserve to be well informed about their health and wellness.
  • “Are there any side effects or interactions I should know about?” If your doctor chooses to prescribe you medicine, or even just suggests a lifestyle change, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms that something is going wrong. Additionally, it’s important your doctor helps you identify any other medicines, foods, or supplements that could have a reaction with what you’ve been prescribed.
  • “Is there anything else you want me to know?” This is a great opportunity for your doctor to address any additional issues that your doctor may see with your health or wellness plan. The more open and receptive you are to discussing your health, the more information you can be equipped with to remain healthy between visits.

Remember, your doctor wants to make you the healthiest version of yourself- but your doctor is not a mind reader. Be open, be curious and ASK QUESTIONS. You, and your doctor, will be glad you did.

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