The Benefits of Becoming a Better Patient

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Most patients want the best from their doctor, but not everyone works with him or her to move the diagnostic process along. Here’s what you can do to be a better patient and why it matters.

 

Tell Your Doctor The Entire Story, Leave Nothing Out

When you’re in an accident, you tend to tell your personal injury lawyer everything. Why? Because it only helps your case. But, what about when you go to your doctor? most patients skimp on the details because they fear criticism from the white coat.

Symptoms that seem insignificant can actually be very serious. For example, say you’ve had a nagging cough for the last few weeks. But, it hasn’t been that bad and you’ve grown accustomed to it. What you’re really worried about is the fact that you’re tired all the time and are finding it harder to get out of bed – you get worn out during the day way too easily.

 

Why bother with an insignificant cough?

I your doctor knows you’ve been coughing, he can start piecing together your diagnosis. The cough could be a symptom of pneumonia or it could be your body trying to expel asbestos particles. If you don’t tell him this tiny, but crucial, detail, it could cost you your life.

 

Establish A Timeline and Take Notes For Your Doctor

Take notes about your symptoms. Write down everything, even if you think it’s insignificant. Your doctor needs to know. Create a timeline for him. The more information, the better. Ideally, you’ll be able to present your doctor with a chronological order of symptoms and complaints.

 

Keep All Medical Records

If you have medical records from your previous doctor or a hospital, bring them with you. Don’t assume that your doctor can pull them. He might not be able to. And, even if he can, it will take time. If you have them, it speeds up the process and could lead to early detection of whatever is ailing you.

Sometimes, lab results get buried in a hospital’s system, so when a small doctor’s practice goes hunting for them, it could take weeks for the hospital to find. Meanwhile, you’re waiting and suffering.

Bring In Important Medications, Including Vitamins and Other Supplements

Don’t forget to bring in your medications – including vitamins and other supplements. It might not seem that important, but herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals can sometimes interact with certain medications. Your problem could be an adverse reaction you’re unaware of. Or, your doctor might need to prescribe new medicines which don’t interact with what you’re currently taking.

 

Find a Doctor Who Listens

It’s unfortunate, but not all doctors have good bedside manners. Find a doctor who is willing to listen to you and who seems to care about your condition. With so many doctors out there, you have plenty of choices. Don’t settle.

 

Ask These Questions

“Is there anything which would contradict your diagnosis?”

“Is there something else that could be causing my problems?”

“Could I possibly have more than one thing wrong with me?”

Those three questions will get your doctor thinking more deeply about your problem if he or she seems to be fixated on the current diagnosis. While you do want an answer, your doctor shouldn’t be married to a particular diagnosis unless or until it can be confirmed.

 

Walter Barry earns his living by promoting wellness and likes to offer his insights to an online audience. He has an extensive background as a health researcher and his articles mainly appear on health related blogs.

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