Because information related to your medical history will often be hard to recall - when was your last immunization, or how old were you when you contracted mumps? - ask that a questionnaire be mailed to you in advance. That way, you can answer all the questions more accurately and at a leisurely pace.
The more complete and correct the picture you provide, the better your health care will be. Most histories include questions about the health of your close relatives. Think about the general health and specific diseases that have occurred in your family, especially your mother, father, grandparents, sisters, and brothers. You will also be asked to provide a general inventory of your past and present health problems, such as back pain, appendicitis, headaches, and depression. Do not deny or hide any illnesses, such as psychiatric disorders or AIDS.
Dig out a record of your immunizations. You may even need to call past health care providers for dates and names of procedures. Here are a few health-related questions you might be asked:
• What medications are you currently taking?
• Do you smoke? Have you ever smoked? If so, how much, and for how long?
• Do you have any allergies?
• Have you ever been pregnant? What was the outcome?
• When were your last chest X-ray, eye exam, and dental exam?
• Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist?
• Have you recently lost or gained weight? What was your maximum weight? What did you weigh at the diagnosis of diabetes?
• Have you ever been rejected for health insurance or employment for a medical reason?
• Do you use alcohol or any street drugs?
Some of these questions may be difficult to answer. You may not remember or you may not want to be reminded. Make an attempt to overcome your fears of being judged harshly by what you put on the form. A concerned health care professional will use this information to provide you with the best possible care - not to criticize you. What is important is achieving good health. After taking a medical history, your diabetes care provider will give you a complete physical exam.