Going to the doctor can be a nerve wracking process, even when you’re in perfect health. One of the best ways to put your mind at ease and get the most out of your visit is to ask good questions.
Whether you’re a twentysomething shopping around for a new doctor or a grandparent going in for a routine checkup, asking the right questions will help your doctor deliver the best healthcare, according to NIH Senior Health. Here’s a list of 10 questions to get you started — no matter what your age.
1. This is what I found online. What do you think?
In the age of digital information and mobility, almost everyone searches their symptoms online before contacting their doctor. In fact, 1 in 20 of all Google searches is medically related. While it’s certainly useful to give you an idea, make sure to ask your doc what she thinks and keep an open mind. Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true (or false, either) in your specific case.
2. What online resources do you trust?
In the same vein, find out what websites and resources your doctor trusts. Nowadays, anyone can make a health blog — but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. You’re going to use the internet anyway, so you might as well go to the most accurate sites.
3. Why are you giving me this medication? Why do I need this treatment?
It’s easy to just take the medications or treatments your doctor prescribes without any thought. Asking “why” helps open the door to honest and candid communication between you and your provider, giving you an opportunity to understand multiple perspectives on a recommended treatment.
4. How many patients like me have you treated?
This is a great question to help you screen potential doctors and get an idea of their past experience. Having confidence in your doctor is important not only for your peace of mind, but because you’re more likely to follow her instructions as well.
5. Do I (or does my child) really need an antibiotic for this?
As bacteria become more antibiotic resistant, this is a vital question to ask to help prevent superbugs, bacteria resistant to most antibiotic treatments. Moreover, antibiotics can cause harmful side effects in the delicate immune systems of children, according to KidsHealth as they kill of many different kinds of bacteria, including ones that our bodies depend on.
6. How can I prevent this from happening again?
While getting over your sickness is great, not getting sick in the first place is much better. From exercise to healthier eating, there is always something to work on to improve your well-being. Charting out preventative habits and developing a strategy will help keep the doctor away.
7. How do you personally take care of yourself?
Hopefully your doctor is a healthy person with healthy habits. Learning how she takes care of herself can give you some ideas for your own health plan, and it just might give you enough inspiration to kick into gear.
8. What should I work on before my next visit?
Discuss potential areas and lifestyle choices that need improvement — there’s almost certainly something specific you could change. Having and executing a good general health plan will help make the next visit less stressful and could keep you out of the doctor’s office altogether.
9. How much will the treatment cost?
Unfortunately, medicine is not cheap. Get an idea of the cost so you can best plan with your doctor and your family on paying for treatment. It’s worth it.
10. Are there any alternative treatments?
Flexibility and options for treatment are important when it comes to your health. Having all the information will let you make the most appropriate decision and could save you a lot of money or spare you potentially unnecessary side effects.
Having a list of questions prepared can ease some of the stress of going to the doctor, but first you need to have a doctor to go to regularly. SingleCare offers members a trove of doctors in its searchable network and the pay-as-needed system can save you an average of 48% on medical care. When it comes to your health, there are no stupid questions. So go ahead — find the right doctor and ask away.
(Main image credit: lzf/Thinkstock)