Going to the doctor can make people nervous and it can feel overwhelming, especially if you do not know what to expect. These feelings are normal and by preparing for doctor’s visits, we can make sure we are covering all of the things we want to during our appointments. One way to do this is to, before your appointment, write down any questions you may have for your doctor. By organizing your thoughts and writing down a list of things you would like to discuss with your doctor you can make sure you have all of the information you need to be informed about your health.
How is asking your doctor questions good for your health?
Asking questions is the key to making sure you and your doctor are having a productive conversation. If you don’t ask questions, they may assume you know what they are talking about or that you don’t want more information. Be proactive. This is YOUR visit and you have the right to question anyone involved in your care. Ask questions when instructions aren’t clear (for example, does exercise mean going to the gym or does walking outside count as exercise too?) or when you don’t know the meaning of a word (like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, glucose, etc.).
Here are some examples of questions to ask your doctor, courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic:
What is this disease or condition?
What caused this disease or condition?
How is this disease or condition treated?
What is the cost of treatment?
How will I know if the medication is working?
What are the side effects of this medication?
Will my job or lifestyle be affected by this disease or condition?
Do I need a follow-up visit and if so, when?
NIH – Discussing Your Concerns with the Doctor Worksheet