Vol. 9, Issue 5October 2017


Planning for a Doctor Visit

You and your doctor are partners in helping you get healthy and stay healthy. To make the most of that partnership, there are some things you should do before and during your appointment. The Cleveland Clinic suggests that you:

Arrive early. Getting to an appointment 15 to 20 minutes early gives you time to fill out any paperwork and to have your height, weight, blood pressure, etc. taken. This can keep you from feeling rushed and, because you will be ready when the doctor is ready to see you, it also can maximize your time with the doctor.

Know what you want to ask. Take a few minutes before you head to your appointment to think about any questions you have for your doctor. Then, write those questions down so that you don’t forget them in the exam room. Also write down any medications you are taking, including the dosage. Include information on any herbal medicines or supplements you take. During your appointment, ask any questions you have about what the doctor tells you, and write down the answers.

Update your family medical history. At some point, you probably filled out a family medical history with your doctor. Let the doctor know about any changes that have occurred since you last met. For example, knowing that someone in your family was recently diagnosed with a medical problem can be an important piece of information for the physician treating you.

Relax. It is not uncommon to feel nervous in the doctor’s office. Some people even experience a rise in blood pressure – a phenomenon called “white coat hypertension" – just from being nervous. Do whatever helps you relax, such as deep breathing, meditation, etc. And remember that your doctor is on your side in managing your health care.

Be honest. Your doctor cannot treat what he or she doesn’t know about, so don’t try to hide things. Doctors have seen almost everything, and it is unlikely that you will shock yours. Remember that the more information your doctor has, the more effective your visit – and your health care -- will be.

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