You’ve made an appointment to talk to your health care provider about skin symptoms that you’re concerned about. Before you head to their office, here’s a look at the information you should gather before you and your doctor meet.
Your doctor will want to know details about your symptoms, so be sure to take some time to track them ahead of your appointment. Pay close attention to any physical or mental changes and write them down using clear descriptions. Be sure to note things such as:
- How long they’ve been happening
- How they’ve changed since you first noticed them
- How intense they are on a 1-10 scale
- How they affect your daily life
- How they impact your mental health
- Anything you’ve done to manage them before now
Researchers have found that if one or both of your parents have psoriasis, your chances of also having it rise. So, if you’re not sure if it runs in your family, ask before your appointment so you can share this information with your health care provider.
Prescription Medicines and Supplements
Make a list of every prescription drug, over-the-counter medicine, vitamin, herb, and supplement you’re taking, the date you started them, and the amount you use. For prescription medications, your pharmacist can print out your file for you.
Your Current Skin Care Routine
Just like your medicines and supplements, it will help your doctor to know about how you take care of your skin. Make a list of the products you use, including cleansers, lotions, perfumes, and shampoos. It may be helpful to take pictures of the ingredient lists on the labels with your phone so your doctor can help you check for any that could cause a psoriasis flare.
Health Insurance and Payment Information
You’ll likely visit your primary care doctor first to evaluate your symptoms. They may then refer you to a specialist such as a dermatologist or rheumatologist.
If you have health insurance, check with your carrier to find out if there’s a dermatology specialist in your area and whether they accept your insurance. If you can’t see a doctor in person, find out if they offer telehealth.
This should include past or current illnesses and other conditions you have, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Include any diagnostic tests you’ve had, including biopsies, and treatments. If you have any medication allergies, make a note of them.
Be ready to give your doctor contact information for the offices of any other doctors you’ve seen in the past or see now, so they can request a copy of your records.
Questions and Concerns
If you have symptoms, you have questions. Make a list of them, starting with the ones that concern you most. Write the list down or put it on your phone so that you remember them all.
A Second Set of Eyes and Ears
It can be helpful to have a family member or close friend go to your appointment with you. They can help you make sure you have all the items you need before you go. At the doctor’s office, they can make sure you’ve asked all your questions and take notes on what the doctor says so that you remember accurately.
National Psoriasis Foundation: “Dermatologist.”
Mayo Clinic: “Psoriasis.”
National Institute on Aging: “How to Prepare for a Doctor's Appointment.”
Canadian Psoriasis Network: “Prepare For Your Appointment.”
American Academy of Dermatology: “Psoriasis: Causes,” “8 Ways to Stop Baths And Showers From Worsening Your Psoriasis.”
Brooke Jackson, MD, dermatologist, Durham, NC.