What Your Doctor Should Know About You

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What your doctor should know about you. Talking to doctors can be stressful, but here are a few tips about what to say. Start by preparing what you want to say in advance. Make a note and list any symptoms you're having. Include details on when they started, how often you get them, and if they're getting worse. If you're going in for an annual exam, note any big life changes since the last visit.

Write down all medications, vitamins, and supplements, with how often you take them. Note any allergies or new reactions you have to your medications, and any that aren't working well for you. When it's time to talk to the doctor, be concise. Use your notes to guide you and repeat the diagnosis to the doctor in your own words, to make sure you understand it.

Be honest. Don't avoid bringing up sensitive issues, like alcohol use and mental health issues like depression, general feelings of unhappiness, and your sex life. If you're anxious or need extra support, take a friend or family member with you. Request an interpreter, if you need one.

And before the doctor exits the room, find out what the next steps are. If you talked about referrals, take down that information. And ask for a summary of the visit so you can review it later.