Few people look forward to a doctor’s appointment, but whether you are there for an annual check-up or because of nagging problem, it is important to make the most of your time there. Many doctors can only afford 10-15 minutes with a patient, so it is a good idea to know what you wish to communicate and do so as clearly as possible.
Here are some tips on how you can most effectively prepare for your next doctor’s appointment:
List Your Symptoms
Whenever you begin to feel unwell, start to make a detailed list of your symptoms. Also make note of anything else that seems relevant: loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, night sweats, insomnia, when you first started to feel pain and its degree of intensity, etc. Try to include dates and times where appropriate. Having this information can help your doctor not only determine the problem, but also at what stage it is at. That can be crucial for deciding on the right course of action.
Complete Any Pre-Appointment Tests
Doctors will sometimes ask patients to have certain tests done before they come in, as this often aids in the diagnosis. Make sure you have those tests done far enough in advance that the doctor has received the results in time for your appointment.
Do Some Advance Research
It can be helpful to do some online research about your symptoms. This will give you an idea of what the problem might be. However, in the end, your doctor is the professional and he or she will be the one to determine the treatment plan. When researching online, remember also that the people posting are rarely ones who received immediate relief of their symptoms. Your problem is likely not anywhere near as dire as negative online postings might lead you to believe.