By Dr. Amanda Vitko
Department of Family Practice
Whether you are seeing your primary care provider or a specialist, it’s important to get the most out of your visit to the doctor’s office. We know that seeing the doctor can be stressful for some people. Often, there is a lot to cover during the visit, and it’s easy to forget to ask an important question. The following tips will help you get prepared for your next visit.
- Complete all testing. If you have been advised to get tests (such as blood work or an X-ray) before your appointment, be sure to get them done.
- Do some research. If you are having pain in your joints, for instance, you may want to learn the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure you utilize websites that provide accurate information, such as com and cdc.gov.
- Write down specific questions. Having a list of questions a good way not to forget asking them. Common questions could include: What is my prognosis? How long will treatment last? What are the possible side effects? What is the best way to learn more about my disease or condition?
- Document your visit. You may want to jot down notes while your doctor is answering your questions.
- Bring a family member. You may want to consider bringing a family member or friend with you to your visit. Another set of ears and someone else to ask important questions can be very helpful.
- Be accurate with medications. Always let you caregiver know if you have stopped taking a certain medication, have started taking a new prescription, or are taking a dietary supplement. Your doctor needs to know everything you are taking in order to avoid potential drug interactions. If you take multiple medications, it is helpful to bring all of your pill bottles to your visit with you. This is will give your doctor a chance to accurately review your medications and answer any questions you may have about your specific medications.
- Don’t be shy. In order to give an accurate diagnosis, your doctor needs to know every symptom you are having. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about a particular problem – remember they are professionals and have seen it all before.
About Amanda Vitko, MD
Dr. Amanda Vitko enjoys being a primary care doctor because it allows her to get close to her patients and develop long-lasting relationships, often with entire families. “I really enjoy medicine, it’s a fascinating discipline”, she explains. “But what makes it special for me is that you get to interact with people on a daily basis and make a difference in their lives – and I find that very satisfying.”
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