Seeing a Doctor
You should tell your doctor as much as you can about your health and the way you live. This way, together, you can find out what’s wrong.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your doctor’s visit. These tips may also help when you need to take your parent to the doctor.
Make a list of your symptoms
- What you’re feeling
- When it started
- When it happens and how long it lasts
- How often it happens
- What makes it worse or better
- What it keeps you from doing
Make a list of ALL your medications
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter drugs that don’t need prescriptions
- Vitamins, herbal remedies or supplements
- Eye drops
Some doctors like to see the medications and ask you to bring them with you. Others prefer to see a list. It’s always good to have a list handy, just in case someone else needs to take you to the doctor.
Dosages, frequency, side effects
- If you make a medication list, write down the dosage (measured in mgs, which can be found on the pill bottle), how much you take and how often you take it.
- Make sure to tell your doctor if a dose has changed, or if you are taking a new medicine.
- Write down or bring all your medications. You may think some medications are not important, but they are because they need to work together. Also, sometimes a medicine you take for something like a headache can cause other problems.
- Write down any allergies you have to medication and any side effects you’ve had with the medicines you take.
- Write down what medications work best for you.
Make a list of your daily activities
- Where you live
- How you get around (driving, bus, walking)
- What you eat
- How well you sleep
- Things you do every day
- Things you like to do
- If you smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs and how much, how often
- If you use a walker, cane, hearing aids or anything else to help you in your daily activities
Make a list of anything that has changed in your life
Has anything changed that has made you sad or stressed or maybe very happy? Maybe you got divorced, lost your home, or joined a new community group and have made friends. Share this with your doctor because life changes can affect your health.
List any other doctors you’ve seen
- Write down the doctor’s name and phone number
- Write down if you’ve gone to the emergency room, when and what for
- Write down if you’ve seen a specialist, when and what for
Bring with you
- Your insurance cards
- Names and phone numbers of your other doctors
- Name and phone number of your pharmacy
- Medical records if your doctor doesn’t have them