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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Doctor’s appointments often throw a lot of information at you very quickly, and it can be hard to follow for a lay person. Oftentimes, older adults will get out of a doctor’s visit with a list of new medications, necessary tests, or a diagnosis that they don’t quite fully understand. Communication between a patient and a doctor is of critical importance for good health outcomes, so knowing what to ask of your doctor so you fully understand any new information and fully appreciate the importance of it, is extremely important.

If your doctor schedules you for a test, it is important to understand why. Ask your doctor to explain the test, and any steps you might need to do to prepare, whether you need to fast or be able to provide some kind of sample. Make sure to ask what the test is looking for, and what will be known afterwards, depending on the results.

For any new prescription medication, make sure you know the name of the drug and what its intended purpose is. Ask about any potential side effects, and common issues people taking it have, and any potential interactions or things to look out for, and anything you can’t have while taking it. Make sure to ask how often and how long you’ll need to take it for.

A diagnosis is an identification of a disease or a physical problem. When your doctor gives you one, it’s important to understand as much as you can about your new condition, to better make decisions about treatment. Ask your doctor what the diagnosis means moving forward, how it will impact your life, and if it will be permanent.