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How to Talk to Your Doctor

By HERWriter
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Doctor's appointments have been known to provoke some anxiety on occasion. Sometimes people are a little intimidated by encounters with their physicians. But remember, you are a key player in your own recovery.

Your doctor can be vitally important to the healing process. Still, you are the one who can give them the information they need to make a proper diagnosis and offer the appropriate treatment.

So take heart when you're faced with the prospect of spending some quality time with your doctor. You are an essential part of the healing process. It is an all too common experience to walk in and sit down in an examination room and forget every question you had planned to ask.

Before you doctor’s appointment, here’s a few things you’ll want to do:

• Start taking notes about the symptoms you’re having and when you have them. If necessary, develop a rating system on the symptoms – was your pain mild, medium or severe? Did your newly prescribed drug lead to a dry mouth? If so, how dry?

Keep a calendar or journal handy at all times and be sure to share the information with your doctor.

• Take a list of the prescriptions you’re taking to your doctor’s appointment. Include details on how long you’ve been taking each, the dosage amounts and any side effects you’ve experienced. Ask your doctor about possible interactions.

• Take copies of all of your recent medical test results. You’ll need to contact your doctors for this information.

Be sure to let your doctor know if you're under special care for chronic conditions. For example, do you self-administer insulin shots or are you a kidney dialysis patient? Your doctor needs to know.

• Do all of your paperwork in advance. Many doctors’ Web sites now provide forms and questionnaires. Take advantage of the technology and show that you’re a patient in charge.

• Research your doctor: The American Medical Association’s Web site is a great place to start. Also, be sure to check with your state’s medical board Web site to learn about any potential complaints against your doctor and possible action taken on those complaints.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.