Making Important Health Care Decisions? First, Talk with Your Doctor
You’re in charge of what you eat, how much exercise you get, and many other health-related choices you make each day. But when it comes to making important health care decisions, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Your most trusted source for this information? Your primary care physician. Your doctor’s office is a one-stop shop when you have questions or need advice regarding your health and wellness. And because your primary care doctor knows you and your medical history, he or she can offer personalized advice. Here’s what you need to know to make the most out of every visit.
Be Upfront and Honest
Your primary care physician helps you prevent health problems and manage chronic diseases. But before your doctor can offer an expert opinion, he or she needs to know as much information as possible about your health.
Here are some items you’ll need to share:
Any past operations, health conditions, and treatments
All medications you take and how often you take them (including supplements)
Symptoms you’re experiencing if you are not feeling well—even if you think they’re embarrassing
Any big life changes or stress you’re experiencing
With this information, your doctor can customize your care and tailor his or her advice especially for you.
Take an Active Role in Your Health
When you visit your doctor, make sure you’re clear on the information he or she gives you. If you’re unsure about anything—ask questions! If you don’t ask, your doctor may assume you understand. Have a health problem and unsure of the type of doctor to see? Simply ask your primary care physician. He or she also coordinates your health care team and will let you know if you should see a surgeon or other specialist. Your primary doctor will then work with the specialist to manage your health.
Remember: Your doctor can tell you steps you can take to improve your health, but it’s up to you to follow them. Together, you can make the right decisions for you.