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Communicating your Needs to your Doctor

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Communicating your Needs to your Doctor

Today doctors are under more time constrains and pressure than ever before, particularly with increasing case loads and paperwork requirements. Unfortunately for patients this can result in a loss of understanding and in some cases could even impact your health. Leaving your doctor’s office with unmet concerns and objectives can cause a multitude of problems. There are some steps you can take to combat this problem; however.

One of the most important steps you can take to prevent this type of problem is to make sure you find a doctor that not only listens to you but also responds to your concerns and needs. It is extremely important to take the time to find a doctor that you feel comfortable confiding in. Two-way communication is critical to a good relationship with your physician. If you find that you do not feel comfortable talking about health concerns with your doctor, it may be time to either find a new physician or else bringing in someone with you to your next appointment to provide moral support while you discuss the situation with your doctor. It could well be after all that your doctor has no idea you do not feel comfortable talking with him or her.

If you do plan to switch to a new doctor make sure you get copies of your medical records to take with you. Far too often many patients forget to do this or simply do not do it because they feel awkward about asking for the copies. Keep in mind; however, that this is extremely important to your health. Don’t hesitate to get those copies.

You should always take the time to write down any concerns or questions you have before any doctor appointment. This includes any symptoms you are having regardless of how trivial they may seem. Even if your appointment is a week or more away write down any problems you are experiencing, when they began, any possible causes and any actions you have taken to relieve these problems or symptoms.

Keep in mind that while most of us provide a family medical history when we see a new doctor, we often forget to update that family history. Our family’s medical history is not stagnant, it does need to change from time to time. If a relative has been diagnosed with a disease or health issue, be sure you mention it to your doctor at your next visit.

Make sure you have ample time when you schedule your appointment. Many of us tend to get stressed out waiting for our appointment; however, doctor appointments rarely run on schedule. While this can be annoying, it is a fact of life. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have scheduled ample time for the appointment, including wait time.

Don’t forget to mention all medications you are taking to your doctor, particularly if the medication(s) have been prescribed by another doctor. This can be extremely important because medications can interact with one another and cause adverse reactions. This includes even over the counter or herbal products that you may be taking as well. Providing your doctor with this information will help to ensure your doctor can treat you as effectively as possible with all the information in hand.

Finally, don’t forget to ask questions about details of your care and treatment. Don’t just accept a new prescription. Ask why the doctor is prescribing it, what it is supposed to do, whether there are side effects and how you will know if the medication is working. The same holds true for all other treatments.