Preparing to Talk to Your Doctor About High Blood Pressure
By working with your doctor, you will be able to better understand your condition and treatment options, which in turn may lead to more control. When you’re organized and prepared with questions to ask your doctor you may find that the feedback you receive is much more useful. Using the tips below can help you stay actively involved during your doctor visit.
Bring someone else along
If at all possible, bring someone (eg, your spouse or a good friend) along to see your doctor. Other people bring different insights and perspectives, and may notice things you haven’t. Not only is a friend or relative great for emotional support, they may also notice things that you don’t, and can remind you of anything you may have forgotten. They can also take notes while you speak to your doctor, leaving you free to be fully engaged in the conversation.
Bring your medical records
If you have a record of your medical history, bring it with you. If you don’t, pull together all of the information you have about your medical history so your doctor can review it. The history should include past procedures, operations, illnesses (eg, allergies and other chronic conditions), and health conditions that run in your family.
Bring a notebook and write things down
Your doctor provides you with valuable information every time you visit. The easiest way to keep track of what was said is to take notes. You can then refer to them later when you’re home and at subsequent doctor visits. Your treatment notebook can be a very useful resource when you need to remember all of your doctor’s instructions and advice. If a friend or loved one accompanies you to your appointment, they can also take notes. Together you can capture the details of your visit.
Speak clearly and listen closely
If your doctor doesn’t answer a question you have, be sure to ask it again until you get an answer. If you don’t understand something your doctor says, ask for the information to be rephrased. If you can repeat the information back in your own words, you probably understand it. If not, your doctor should find another way of explaining.
Learn your doctor’s schedule
Not only should you know your doctor’s office hours, you should also know what time of day (and which day) is best to get your doctor on the phone. Also find out who fills in when your doctor is unavailable or on vacation, and what number to call in an emergency.
Next: Questions to ask your doctor