If we fail to ask questions when we have an appointment with a medical professional, we may not be getting the full value from the visit. Asking direct, relevant questions of a doctor is not an imposition. It is our right and is also in the best interests of the doctor to provide all of the information we need.
Forgetting to ask questions during an office visit is a common occurrence. This can be a stressful and hectic time and being distracted is normal, especially if we are not feeling well. It is helpful to write down any questions that you may have before your appointment so that you do not forget to ask. You may also want to discuss these questions with a friend or family member. Another person may be able to add insight by seeing things more clearly than we can at the time.
Don’t assume that you are causing a problem by asking questions. Most doctors appreciate patients who ask good questions. Feelings of fear, embarrassment or inadequacy are not good reasons for failing to ask the about things you really want to know. If you don’t ask, your doctor may assume that you understand, or that you do not care to know more. He or she cannot guess what your concerns are.
As you know, television and magazines are saturated with advertising for various medications. Such conditions as high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, high cholesterol and even erectile dysfunction are being targeted by pharmaceutical companies with new medications. The information supporting these products encourages viewers and readers to “ask your doctor about (name of product).”
Essentially, these companies are putting pressure on doctors to prescribe their medications. But, in a way, the pharmaceutical companies have made it much easier to initiate a dialogue with your doctor. It is no longer unusual for patients to ask doctors about something they have read or heard about. Consequently, the dynamic between patient and doctor is changing. Doctors are becoming conditioned to hearing questions from patients and they are obliged to respond.
Finally, if you forget to ask a question or think of one later, call back and ask! Your doctor should prefer, if you do have health questions, that you get the proper answer rather that guess. Guessing could be hazardous to your health.
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