The most intelligent thing that you can do for yourself and your family in today’s time is to ask your doctor questions. You see, doctors can diagnose your problem and suggest a solution and even without you asking questions, this will happen. However, the doctor too is human and can misdiagnose, confuse, and upset the patient by not knowing the complete picture of what the patient is going through. Asking a set of specific questions ensures that not only have you understood everything there is to know about the sickness and the treatment, but the doctor too has deciphered your problem inside out. Asking these questions will also allow you to sense if the doctor is right for you, or if the doc’s response has triggered you to change your doctor.
Like they say, a curious patient is a happy patient!
1. Why do you think I have this issue?
The doctor understands how to get rid of the issue but what if the issue relapses? Rather than having to cure yourself again, prevent it from occurring in the first place or control the disease if it is lifelong. You can only do that if you know the root cause of it. If it’s a sore throat, could it be because you kept having ice-cream before bed for consecutive days? If it’s diabetes, could it be because of your lifestyle changes? If it’s PCOS, could it be because of your diet intake? The possibilities are endless. It’s best to understand why you’re sick and doing so will also help the doctor give you tips on how to eliminate the problematic things from your life which can worsen your health.
2. How can I prevent this problem in the future?
Following the above question, the sickness can also be caused by things you cannot control, such as a mental disorder, a bodily change, etc. However, you can understand what triggers it, and prevent it from happening. The specialist can advise you in the best manner.
3. Which tests will I have to get done and what does each represent?
Don’t just blankly go and get all the tests done. Of course, you will eventually get them done but before doing so, ask your doctor why you have to get tested, why there are multiple tests and what does each test show. This way, you’ll be prepared for them. Moreover, ask if there are any things to keep in mind before going for the test. Some tests require you to drink a lot of water whilst others require you to fast.
4. What treatment options do I have?
Your illness might have multiple treatment options. The doctor can make the choice but you should be a part of the decision making process. You need to weigh the choices based on many options such as cost, time, effectiveness, side-effects, etc.
5. Are there any side-effects of the medication/treatment that I should know about?
After you’ve opted for a treatment, you need to question your doctor about the possible problems that might occur whilst the treatment is going on. There’s always a probability that the treatment may not suit you. Openly talk about all your existing health concerns, and ask your doctor if there is any aftermath of the treatment that you should look out for or not be alarmed about. Last month, my dermatologist recommended a cream that I had to apply on my face for my acne, and she told me that it might result in temporary discoloration which is very normal.
6. How long will it take me to recover?
Sometimes, the medication and treatment can be prolonged according to your condition and stage of the illness whilst other times, it can be cured faster. The treatment also depends on your health, genetics, and history of diseases; how you react to certain medications, etc. It is vital to ask your doctor this question to mentally prepare yourself.
7. Will the treatment interfere with my current medications?
You should always tell your doctor your medication history and the current dosage that you’re on. Sometimes in order to start the new medication, you have to stop the old one. Other times the doctor can prescribe alternative medications if the primary ones are not suitable.
8. Do I have to get myself treated at once or can it wait?
You might have the option to wait for a few days, weeks months and even years. For example, for cataract surgery, waiting won’t harm your eye and sometimes the doctor even recommends waiting. There are even times when with the cataract, the person can live without having the surgery done. However, if the doctor recommends the treatment to be started as soon as possible, do not delay it as it may cause complications. If you’re unsure, you can go in for a second opinion.
9. What happens if this medication or treatment does not work out for me?
There is always a possibility that the treatment might not work in your favor no matter how high the stats of its success are. Everyone has a unique body and the outcome can’t be determined for sure. Understand the likelihood of the treatment not working out, second options, and future risks.
10. What lifestyle changes can better my condition?
The doctor can treat you with medications, therapy, and machines. However, there are ways you can treat yourself as well. Healthy lifestyle changes can improve your overall health and can also help with the condition you’re suffering from. Be sure to take your doctor’s advice on lifestyle changes that can impact your well-being.
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