Skip to content

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Making the Most of Your Doctor's Appointment

While a visit to the doctor's office can be intimidating for anyone, you can lessen your stress and worry by taking steps to be sure that you're provided with all the information you need at the appointment. There are also ways you can improve the quality of your care by helping your doctor develop the best understanding possible of your symptoms and condition.

Before the appointment, write down a list of things you need to tell the doctor. Note any concerns or questions you may have. Also write down the names and dosages of any prescription, over-the-counter medications, or supplements you are taking. It is very important to take this list with you to the appointment -- don't count on remembering every single item. Before you leave the office, go over the list to be sure you've covered everything. This simple step benefits both you and your doctor by keeping the discussion focused and ensuring that all your concerns are addressed.

Recommended Related to Hypertension

Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Prevention

You can prevent high blood pressure and lower your odds of getting heart disease by making a few changes in your lifestyle. Follow these four tips: 1. Watch what you eat. Stay away from salt and saturated fats. Focus instead on foods that are high in fiber, calcium, and magnesium. A healthy diet consists of lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. 2. Get plenty of exercise. Regular aerobic workouts condition the heart and keep blood vessels working properly. It's also wise to be...

Read the Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Prevention article > >

Don't hesitate to use the words "I don't understand." Doctors are only human and may not always know when they haven't explained something well or in terms you can understand. Never feel embarrassed or shy about asking for clarification about something your doctor says. When in doubt, repeat back what your doctor has told you and ask if you've got it right. You can also ask if he or she recommends any specific reading materials about your condition.

If your doctor asks questions that sound embarrassing or overly personal, remember that the information you provide enables him or her to better establish a diagnosis, or to determine which treatment is most appropriate for you. Never fib in response to questions about alcohol or drug use, sexual history, or other lifestyle matters. Be honest about the extent to which you are taking your prescriptions or following a treatment plan. Withholding the truth can affect the quality of your care and can even lead to a wrong diagnosis.

Finally, the office medical assistants and nurses can be an additional resource of information. Do not hesitate to ask them questions about your concerns, as well.

Advance preparation for your doctor's visit is a vital step toward becoming a partner in your own health care and an advocate for your health and well-being. A good doctor will always encourage your desire to understand as much as possible about your condition and will welcome your active participation in your care.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 30, 2013

Today on WebMD

blood pressure
Symptoms, causes, and more.
headache
Learn the causes.
 
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
Exercises that help.
 
heart healthy living
ARTICLE
Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
VIDEO
Compressed heart
Article
 
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Heart Foods Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Low Blood Pressure
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections