Things to Mention to Your Doctor

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by Adam's Apple, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
    Offline

    Adam's Apple Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    4,092
    Thanks Received:
    445
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +447
    11 Things You Should Discuss with Your Doctor
    By Harvard Health Publications

    It’s easy to suggest that you talk to your doctor. It’s much harder to know what to say.

    Some of us are fortunate enough to have built up a relationship with a physician over many years, so there’s some genuine rapport and trust to bank on. But it can be a difficult exchange to navigate. Often you don’t feel great to begin with. The doctor seems hurried and speaks in jargon. You’re intimidated and reluctant to talk about personal issues. Besides, even in the best of circumstances, it’s hard to know what’s important to mention.

    We asked several members of the Health Letter’s editorial board to suggest topics and issues that patients should discuss with their doctors. We were particularly interested in things that patients should bring up, but usually don’t. Here are 11 of their suggestions for things you should tell your doctor:

    What you want to do or used to do but can’t do any longer
    Either out of stoicism, denial, accommodation, or some combination of all three, people often come to accept a certain level of disability, especially if it’s the result of a condition that has come on slowly or involves something private like sex. Lab tests or a physical examination aren’t going to reveal the compromises you’ve made along the way. If you don’t tell your doctor about them, you may be missing out on treatments that would ease the problem, or even solve it.

    What you’re afraid of
    Particularly after the diagnosis of a serious disease, many people dwell on the worst. Even without a diagnosis, some people carry around pretty wild fears about medical conditions. Your doctor can’t become your psychotherapist. But a thoughtful, attentive doctor (not all of them are, of course) might reassure you by giving you some facts or a calmer, more objective perspective on your situation.

    Where you’ve traveled
    Inexpensive airfare has made travel even to formerly remote places in Africa and Asia so common these days that we tend to take it for granted. But especially if you have those notoriously vague "flu-like" symptoms, it’s essential to tell your doctor about any recent trips. You may have caught something that can be treated — and could be disastrous if it isn’t. Dr. Peter Braun, a member of the Health Letter’s editorial board, recalls two such cases. In one, a woman with fever and other flu-like symptoms didn’t tell doctors that she had been to Africa to visit her son. She eventually died of an undiagnosed malarial infection. In the other, a man didn’t mention that he’d been on an archaeological dig in New Mexico. It turned out that he had contracted plague, a bacterial disease that can be treated with antibiotics.

    If a family member has been diagnosed with a serious disease
    Family history is critical information for any doctor. As genetic and other forms of testing advance, people are getting diagnosed with new conditions or "preconditions" more often. Last year’s family history may be out of date. Keeping it current will help your doctors make all sorts of decisions, not the least of which is whether you should be tested for a condition.

    Over-the-counter pills and supplements you take
    Patients often forget to tell doctors about nonprescription medications they’re taking regularly, and they’ll deliberately keep them in the dark about herbal medicines because they think a mainstream doctor will be critical, ignorant, or — worst of all — both. But over-the-counter medications and supplements can have dangerous interactions with conventional medications.

    Medications you take prescribed by other doctors
    To put it mildly, American health care is not very well coordinated. Especially if you’re seeing several specialists, you can’t assume that they have conferred (indeed, they probably haven’t). Medical records are often balkanized, with information collected at one office or institution never reaching another. The form you fill out in the waiting room usually asks you about the medications you’re taking, but the doctor might not have had time to look at it carefully. So to be on the safe side, you should tell a doctor about medications that other doctors have prescribed for you. Bring a list or even the pill bottles themselves.

    Medications you’re supposed to take but don’t
    More than a few pills never leave the bottle. Sometimes side effects are to blame. Other times ple never really intend to take the medicine. If you discuss the situation with your doctor, maybe the prescription can be changed. If you just don’t like taking pills, perhaps there’s a perfectly good nonpharmacological approach to your problem. Either way, you won’t find out unless you come clean about not taking your medications.

    If you smoke or drink heavily
    Most smokers know they shouldn’t, so they’re sometimes ashamed to tell a doctor about it. If you’re asked about smoking, don’t lie — and if you aren’t asked, bring it up yourself. The same goes for heavy drinking, although denial is obviously a problem.

    If you’ve been depressed or under stress
    The stigma is fading fast, but many people still don’t like to admit they’re depressed. Stress isn’t considered shameful, but it’s hard to pin down. And both get channeled into fatigue, insomnia, or irritability, so the root cause may get buried under the symptoms. Broaching the subject with a doctor is a good way to start sorting through these issues. Particularly for depression, it may lead to treatment — antidepressants, talk therapy, or some combination — that makes you feel a whole lot better.

    If you’re having incontinence problems
    Urinary or fecal incontinence is a prime example of a condition that people learn to live with because they’re embarrassed by it or see it as an unavoidable consequence of old age. There are no guarantees, but these days they’re often manageable conditions — but only if you tell your doctor first.

    If you’re experiencing sexual dysfunction
    Everywhere you turn these days, it seems like there’s an ad for Viagra or Levitra, the erectile dysfunction drugs. Haven’t we talked about sexual dysfunction enough? It’s different, though, when it’s you and your problem. Many people clam up when a doctor really could help them with sexual dysfunction.

    Of course, you’re probably not going to have time to talk about all of these topics in one appointment. So you need to make the most of it by thinking ahead. Writing down some details, like your travel dates and destinations, the over-the-counter medications you’re taking, and family history of disease can be a major timesaver. That way you won’t be there in the doctor’s office trying to remember it all. Many people find it helpful to identify the three or four most important issues they want to discuss with a doctor. Make a list of your priorities or have someone do it with you. And then "stay on message".
     
  2. speederdoc
    Offline

    speederdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    258
    Thanks Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Houston
    Ratings:
    +28
    Good advice that ^^^.

    I would also add that it is important to let your doctor know if there is any difficulty obtaining the prescriptions he/she has written for you. Meds and even copays are so expensive these days, and docs can get carried away writing prescriptions forgetting that you have to pay for them.

    If money is a factor, then the physician may be able to choose less expensive meds, or tell you which ones are most important.
     
  3. Mr. P
    Offline

    Mr. P Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    11,329
    Thanks Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South of the Mason Dixon
    Ratings:
    +620
    Or better yet...give ya a bag of the free samples they have tons of. (Of course that's not always possible).:)

    Welcome to the board.
     
  4. Joz
    Offline

    Joz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    3,392
    Thanks Received:
    221
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +221
    What doctor takes THAT much time with a patient?
     
  5. Mr. P
    Offline

    Mr. P Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    11,329
    Thanks Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South of the Mason Dixon
    Ratings:
    +620
    A good one. :)
     
  6. speederdoc
    Offline

    speederdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    258
    Thanks Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Houston
    Ratings:
    +28
    A lot of it could be done with a checklist/questionairre given at the first visit. As mentioned in the article, some could be spread out over several visits.
     
  7. Joz
    Offline

    Joz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    3,392
    Thanks Received:
    221
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +221
    Yeah, I've been to the doctor before. I wait 25 minutes for him to take 10. And then he charges me $65.
     
  8. krisy
    Offline

    krisy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,919
    Thanks Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Ohio
    Ratings:
    +112
    Joz.I think you go to my doc!!!
    Nothing like waiting in the waiting area with a hyper 4 year old and a bunch of old people that she is probably driving crazy. Then,you go to the room,wait another 10-15 minutes,and the doc comes in and diagnoses you in 30 seconds. Thank God my doc never seems to mind my kids ebing there(a sitter isn't always available),my doc is a guy too. One time he wasn't there and we had this nasty female doc,she was nasty as crap to the kids and obviosly didn't approve of them being there. Apparently,she didn't realise that sick moms don't always have sitters!!!
     
  9. Joz
    Offline

    Joz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    3,392
    Thanks Received:
    221
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +221
    I hate sitting in that little room. Never mind having to sit in there with a puking, crying kid. I can't think of anything better I'd rather do than to sit in that room, naked!
    See, I don't understand this. I'm PAYING them for a service, to help me or my child(ren) back to health. I've come up against this in the past too. Why they have to be nasty is beyond me. I get called on the carpet when I'm not friendly at work. Mind you, I understand that looking down throats and up people's butts day in & day out, isn't all that appealing. But if they're burned out, they need to change jobs, just like the rest of us.
     
  10. manu1959
    Offline

    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    13,761
    Thanks Received:
    1,625
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    california
    Ratings:
    +1,626
    my doctor made me wait two hours once....i sent him a bill for $500...hey that is waht my client's pay for my time....oh he sees me promtly now
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

my doctor ignored my abnormal lab results and then didnt charge me for the office visit