From water-cooler chats to first dinner dates, we tend to get from a conversation what we put in. A two-way communication, after all, takes two.
When it comes to your relationship with your doctor, then, are you more than a good listener? Do you also ask questions and mention hings about your health that he or she might need to know? It matters a lot. Good communication can lead to better healthcare for you.
If you’d like to help improve your talks, here are some ideas:
Do share. Your doctor can check your blood pressure and more, but he or she won’t know a lot of other things without your help, such as:
- All the medicines you take. Make a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements. Let your doctor know of any side effects or bad reactions you’ve had to medicines.
- Symptoms you’ve noticed. Include what seems to trigger them and what ma
kes them better.
- Your health history and lifestyle habits. Paint an honest picture, including whether you smoke, exercise or eat well. Try not to be embarrassed about sensitive topics.
Ask away. Bring a list of your health questions and concerns to each appointment so you won’t forget. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about a diagnosis or about the medicines, tests or treatments that your doctor recommends. Feel free to take notes.
Would you repeat that, please? Ever nodded yes in a conversation, even though you really didn’t understand? Maybe you were too embarrassed to speak up. Don’t be. Speaking up is especially mportant if you don’t understand what your doctor is telling you. Ask to have something explained until it’s clear.
Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Office on Women’s Health