Tip #2 for becoming an empowered health consumer: Ask a lot of questions. Don’t sit quietly in the doctor’s office or hospital

Before you go to an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare professional, write down any questions you may have. Ask questions about your diagnosis, medications, tests, and follow-ups. Be in charge and know what’s going on. Ask for a copy of your test results.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What are the causes of my symptoms?
  • Will the symptoms go away?
  • How long will they last?
  • What tests are needed to determine the cause of this condition?
  • How is this condition diagnosed?
  • What are the criteria for diagnosis?
  • What is the treatment?
  • Are there alternative therapies?
  • What over-the-counter medications would be helpful?
  • What prescription medications would be helpful?
  • Will my present medications interfere with any of these new medications?
  • Should my diet change?
  • Are there certain foods that I should be eating?
  • What lifestyle changes should be made?

Too many of us have left an appointment only to remember a question we planned to ask. By writing down your questions in advance you won’t leave without the answers you need necessitating a follow-up visit or a string of phone-tag calls with your doctor.

Published on: January 13, 2010
About the Author
Photo of Barbara Ficarra RN BSN MPA

Barbara is an award-winning journalist, media broadcaster, media trainer, medical blogger, speaker, and health expert. She is creator, executive producer and host of the Health in 30 radio show, a live 30-minute program that brings listeners the latest health and medical news and information with leading medical experts, and empowers listeners to take charge of their health.

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