In Tips for Talking to your Doctor
, we talked about the importance of asking your doctor the questions you have about your care. But what if you aren't sure what you should be asking them? Are you new to a diagnosis? Scared of what might be coming? Are you concerned about a symptom that could become more than just that? The National Institute on Aging has put together a great list of questions to ask your doctor when discussing your medical care. Use these as a starting point:Medical Tests
What will the tests tell us?
What does it involve?
How should I get ready?
Is it covered by my insurance? If not, how much will it cost me?
Are there any dangers or side effects?
When will I have the results? Will I be able to have a copy?Your Diagnosis
What may have caused this condition?
How long will it last?
Is it permanent?
How is this condition treated or managed?
How will it affect me? What are the long term effects?
How can I learn more about this diagnosis?Treatment Options
What are my options?
What are the risks and benefits?
(Ask YOURSELF) Which treatment is best for me given my values and my circumstances?Medications
When will it start working?
What arethe common side effects?
Whill I need a refill? How can I get refills?
Should I take it with food? What time of day should I take it?
Should I avoid anything while I take it?
What happens if I miss a dose? What do I do?Prevention
What can I do to prevent a health problem from developing or getting worse?
How will changing my habits help?
Are there any risks to making this change?
Are there support groups or community services that might help me?
While any diagnosis is daunting to talk to a medical professional about, its important to ask these questions and make sure you understand the answers. Getting the treatment you need before the issue gets worse will prevent needing more life altering treatment options later on.
For more information on talking to your doctor - Visit the National Institute on Aging
where you can also find handy print outs to make notes and take to your doctor appointments.