Doctor _consults _with _patient _(7)

Seeing your doctor regularly is an important part of staying healthy that can often get pushed to the backburner. Everyone has different health needs, meaning the types of doctors you see and how often you visit them will vary, but having some schedule in place is important. If you feel you have found the best doctor(s) for you, next step is utilizing these appointments to maintain and improve your health.

Here are few tips for making the most of your doctor’s appointments.

  • Prioritize concerns and questions. Before you head to the doctor, take some time to write down your top concerns and questions. Then, prioritize them in case you aren’t able to spend as much time with the doctor or nurses as you envisioned. We recommend putting the timely and most pressing concerns at the top of your list.

  • Take information with you. Some doctors ask you to bring all of your prescriptions and medications with you to your appointment, which is a good habit to form. This allows doctors to get a full understanding of what you are taking and walk through any issues you may have with certain medications. Plus, this takes pressure off you to remember all those long medication names.

  • Consider bringing a family member or friend. You may want to bring someone you trust along to your appointment for support or assistance. With doctors seeing multiple patients a day, sometimes you can wait for quite awhile before your appointment, and bringing along a family member or friend is a way to have some company and ease your nerves before your appointment. Additionally, if you have to get shots or give blood, you will want someone else to drive you home, and having a companion along to ask questions and remember information can make things easier to process at complex appointments.

  • Know how to voice your symptoms and concerns. If your doctor asks about your health concerns, it’s important to know how to clearly communicate them. Taking notes before the appointment about issues you’ve been having or telling them stories of specific instances can be helpful.

  • Be honest. A doctor’s appointment will be most effective if you are honest with your healthcare provider. Although some concerns may be uncomfortable or seem too small to talk about, you won’t get the full health benefits if you don’t. Doctors are there to help, but they can only do so when you give them all the relevant information.

  • Ask questions. During a doctor’s appointment, you’ll likely get a lot of information and recommendations, which can often be overwhelming and confusing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t fully understand, whether that be a diagnosis, different treatment options or prevention tips.

  • Get written directions or notes. You should consider writing down all information and suggestions you receive during your doctor’s visit or asking your doctor to do so for you. This is especially important if you struggle with memory or are in an especially emotional health situation.

Regular doctor’s appointments are important to staying healthy, but they are most effective when you are prepared. Follow these tips and you’ll walk away from appointments feeling more informed, knowledgeable and ultimately, healthier.