Preparing For Your Doctor Appointment

By: Sandy Henage, Intake Specialist

Do your homework to prepare for your doctor visit.  If this is an annual checkup, ask about any immunizations that you may need.  What bloodwork should I have?  What screening tests should I receive? Will my cholesterol be checked?  What is my blood pressure?  What do I need to do to ensure I stay as healthy as I can?  When do I need a follow up appointment?  Make a list of your medications and take the list with you so you can share with the doctor.  Depending on your age and health a person’s frequency of doctor visits can vary. Know your family health history in case you are asked questions.  Be honest with your answers to any questions from the doctor or nurse.  They cannot help you with only partial information.  

If you are having issues write them down, try and determine a time frame when the symptoms started and the specific symptoms you are experiencing.  Have these issues been getting worse?  What testing could be done to help diagnose what I am experiencing? What is the purpose for those specific tests? How long will it take to get the results of the tests?

If one of these screening tests indicates a problem, what further testing needs to be done and what treatment should I expect?  Will the doctor prescribe any medications?  If so what are they?  Are there any side effects to this medication?  How long will I have to take the medicine?  If I do not feel better what is the next step?

Make sure you follow up with the doctor’s office about the results of any tests you have received.  You must be your own advocate.  You can also take someone with you to your doctor appointments to help ask questions and help remember what the doctor tells you.