When you visit your doctor, it is an opportunity to speak with a medical expert with a vast amount of knowledge and resources to address any and all health problems you may be facing. Most people have to take time off work, school, or other responsibilities in order to see their doctor. Add in the time it takes you to get to and from the doctor’s office, as well as the time spent in the waiting room, and you will likely be spending at least 2 hours in total to complete this task. That’s why it is important to make your visit worthwhile.
Here are five tips to maximize the benefits of your doctor’s visit.
Tip #1 Make a written list of questions and symptoms before you go to your appointment.
In order to maximize the time spent with your doctor, you should have everything you need to be addressed during the appointment. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget details about your symptoms or questions you want to ask your doctor when you have to remember everything by memory alone.
For instance, you may wish to ask about vaccines or prescription refills. Is it time for your next colonoscopy? Could that antibiotic you took for a UTI have upset your stomach? These types of questions are easy to forget. This is why writing and bringing a list of your symptoms and questions is a great idea.
Tip #2 Be specific about your symptoms.
If you have a new or continuing complaint, be detailed when relaying your symptoms to your doctor. When did the symptoms start? What worsens or improves it? What kind of pain are you experiencing (sharp, dull, aching, etc.) and what activities make it worse? What is the exact location of your discomfort? The more precisely you communicate how you feel, the better your doctor’s assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan will be.
Tip #3 Bring a written list of your medications and all vitamins and supplements, including dosages and when you take them.
The benefit of sharing this information is that a lot of patient symptoms come from the drugs and supplements they take. For instance, a medication you’re taking for pain may be causing constipation. It could even be a drug interaction that is unbeknownst to you. Your doctor can review your medications and supplements, check for interactions, and even recommend alternatives – all in a single appointment.
Tip #4 Be honest.
A lot of patients come into their doctor’s office and feel that they can’t share 100% of everything they’re experiencing due to embarrassment or fear of what they’ll hear. For instance, a diabetic may be embarrassed to tell their doctor that they aren’t controlling their blood sugar level properly or that they aren’t taking their medication as prescribed. Alternatively, a patient with an alarming symptom may not want to share it out of fear of what they may be diagnosed with.
Your doctor is your ally in health, and it is important that you be as honest and transparent with them as possible. They are your gateway to better health, and they want to support you in every way possible. It is a judgment-free zone, and you should feel comfortable being as honest during your doctor’s visit as you are with yourself.
Tip #5 Take notes, or ask for a printed visit summary.
Your doctor’s appointment will be effective when you incorporate what’s discussed and decided in the appointment once you get home. In order to follow your doctor’s instructions better, it is best to write everything down. Bring a pen and paper with you, and write down the changes to your diet, medications, or lifestyle that your doctor recommends. You can also ask for a printed copy of your visit summary if your doctor’s office provides such a thing.
Quality Primary and Urgent Care in Stokes County, NC
If you live in the Stokes County, NC, area, visit Cardinal Urgent Care for all your health care needs. We are happy to serve patients seven days a week. Just walk in for fast, compassionate service, or let us know you’re coming by calling (336) 983-9111.
Board-certified emergency medicine physician, Dr. Samir Patel, and his team provide quick and accurate treatments for a wide range of injuries and conditions. Plus, we offer on-site testing, such as blood work, X-rays, and EKGs, as well as physical exams for work, school, or more.
We look forward to seeing you soon!