“The Healthy Geezer” answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column.
Question: I’m going to the doctor and I don’t want to forget to ask him important questions. Any suggestions on how to prepare for this visit?
Answer: Whether you’re talking to a family physician, a specialist or pharmacist, you need to know the right questions. My research turned up hundreds of possible questions. I narrowed the list down to the ones I considered to be the most significant. You can pick out the ones that apply to you. Here goes:
- What is the outlook for my condition?
- Could relatives get this?
- What changes will I need to make?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the benefits and risks associated with my treatment options?
- What are the expected results?
- Are there any side effects and what can be done about them?
- What organizations and resources do you recommend for support and information?
- Which hospital has the best care for my condition?
- What are the benefits and risks of having this test?
- How is the test done?
- Is this test the only way to find out that information?
- What do I need to do to prepare for the test?
- When will I get the results?
- What’s the next step after the test?
- Do I need surgery?
- What are the benefits and risks of having this surgery?
- Is there some other way to treat my condition?
- What will happen if I don’t have this surgery?
- Have you done this surgery before?
- How successful is this surgery?
- Which hospital is best for this surgery?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- How long is the recovery?
- Where can I get a second opinion?
- What are the side effects of this medicine?
- When should I report a side effect to my doctor?
- Can I take a generic version?
- What is the primary use for this medicine?
- When should I take my medicine?
- How long do I need to take the medicine?
- When will the medicine start working?
- Can I stop taking my medicine if I feel better?
- Do I need to avoid any food, drinks, or activities?
- Does this medicine conflict with other drugs I’m taking?
- Which over-the-counter supplements can I take with this prescription?
- Are there any tests I need to take while I’m on this medicine?
In addition to being armed with questions, you should be ready with answers for a visit to any healthcare professional. Here’s a checklist of items you should take with you to your visit.
- A description of any symptoms you are experiencing.
- A list of all the medications and supplements you take. These include both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Some doctors ask you to bring all your medicines with you to your first visit.
- Medical records
- Insurance cards, names and phone numbers of your other doctors, and the phone number of the pharmacy you use.
- A list assistive devices you use such as canes, walkers, scooters, glasses, hearing aids, reachers, grab bars, and stair lifts.
- Lifestyle habits. Your diet. How do you sleep? Do you smoke or drink alcohol. Activities such as dancing and sports.
- Events in your life that may be affecting your health. These include moving, changing jobs, a divorce, a death in the family.
If you would like to read more columns, you can order “How To Be A Healthy Geezer” at http://www.healthygeezer.com.
All rights reserved © 2012 by Fred Cicetti
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