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What should I ask my doctor during every appointment?

Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

During every appointment you should receive an overall assessment of your general health status, review diagnostic test results and a medical/surgical plan for your condition. You can not ask too many questions. Bring a checklist of questions with you so not to forget your concerns. An open communication with your physician will definitely improve your overall experience.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

You may have several questions for your doctor, but these four should definitely be among them:

  • How is my health overall?
  • Are you concerned about any aspect of my health? Which one, and why?
  • Are there any tests I should have based on my age or for other reasons?
  • Do you have any recommendations about lifestyle modifications I should make (such as exercising, quitting smoking or changing my diet)?
YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

More About this Book

YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

Everyone needs to become a smart patient. In fact, in the worst cases, your life may even depend on it. Number one bestselling authors and doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz have written this indispensable handbook to help everyone to get the best health care possible -- by making everyone into their own medical detective.Witty, playful, at times offbeat, but always authoritative, You: The Smart Patient shows you how to become your own medical sleuth, tracing your medical family tree and wending your way through the pitfalls of any health care situation. Written in conjunction with the health care community's leading oversight group, The Joint Commission, the book shows readers in clear, easy steps how to take control of their own health care and deal with all matters that may come up when facing a medical case: from choosing the right doctor, hospital, and insurance company to navigating prescription drugs, specialists, treatment options, alternative medicine, pain management, or any problem that might arise.Accessible, humorous, and filled with information that you need, You: The Smart Patient is a book for every patient and all those dealing with a loved one's medical issues.
Barbara Ficarra, RN
Nursing Specialist

There are specific questions you should ask your doctor, however before you even visit your doctor, make sure you write your questions down in a notebook. By writing down your questions in advance you won’t leave without the answers you need.

Here are a few questions to ask your doctor:

  • What lifestyle changes should be made?
  • Should my diet change?
  • Are there certain foods that I should be eating?
  • How much exercise should I be getting and what do you recommend?
  • What’s my blood pressure? Is it normal? Should I be taking my blood pressure at home? How often?
  • Do I need to have any tests? Why? 
  • What blood work do I need and why is it important?
  • What’s the next step?
  • What are your suggestions for me to reach my optimum health?

Don’t forget to ask for a copy of your test results.

Ask your doctor what recommendations she has for improving your health, such as lifestyle changes, screening tests or changes to current treatments. Make sure you know when to schedule your next appointment to follow-up.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.