12 Critical Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your DiagnosisPosted by Medicare Made Clear
You’re in the exam room nervously awaiting your diagnosis. The doctor walks in and casually blurts out the name of your medical condition. Now what? Well, it depends on the situation.
If you’re already familiar with your medical condition, then you may be ready to discuss next steps with your doctor. Most doctors appreciate it when patients actively participate in their own health care. The doctor-patient relationship is a partnership, and you can do a lot to make the most of your doctor visits.
If your condition is new to you, then you may want to do a little reading or other investigation to learn something about it. You may not understand everything right away, so be sure to write down questions and take them to your next doctor visit.
Tell your doctor how you feel, what you think and what you need. Ask questions so you understand what you’re being told. Obtaining knowledge about your condition and treatment may be helpful. Your level of understanding may affect your immediate health as well as your long-term health outcome. If you don’t ask questions, your doctor may think you don’t need more information or you don’t care. So go ahead and ask. Your health may depend on it.
Here are some questions to consider asking:
- What is the name of my medical condition?
- How did you come up with the diagnosis?
- How accurate are the test results?
- Do I need a second opinion?
- Are there other diseases or conditions that have similar symptoms?
- What are the causes of the condition?
- Is the condition curable, treatable or permanent?
- What will the short-term and long-term effects be on my body and life?
- What are my treatment options? Can my condition be treated with medicine, surgery or lifestyle changes?
- What are the possible risks and side effects associated with each treatment option?
- What would happen if I don’t have any treatment?
- Where can I learn more about my condition?
A desirable medical treatment outcome depends on a number of factors — including a clear understanding of your diagnosis and how to follow your treatment plan.
If you don’t understand everything your doctor is telling you, ask him or her to explain things more clearly or have a family member or friend join you at your next appointment.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People: What Can I Ask? Getting Information: NIH National Institute on Aging
Questions to Ask Your Doctor: Cleveland Clinic
Picking a Primary Care Provider for Yourself or a Loved One: Medicare Made Clear