10 Things to Discuss with Your Doctor at Your Next Appointment

Getting on in years isn’t always as enjoyable as retirement and playing shuffleboard with friends. There are many things that ...

Getting on in years isn’t always as enjoyable as retirement and playing shuffleboard with friends. There are many things that can trouble you as you grow older–your well being and health being two of the most difficult things to cope with. It’s not easy learning that you can’t do what you once were able to or that you’ve developed an age-related illness.

Fortunately, your medical care providers can help to make the trials and tribulations associated with growing older a little bit easier to handle. On that note, it should be said that making regularly visits to your doctor as you age is exceptionally important, as they will allow you to stay in the best health possible.

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Instead of just going to your appointments and moving through the motions, make the most out of them by asking questions that will help you better understand your care and what it going on with your health and well being. Don’t know what types of questions to ask your doctor? Here are 10 very good suggestions.

1. Ask about tests. There is a very good chance that you will have to undergo medical testing at one point or another during your doctor visits. Instead of just saying, “OK” and going for the tests, find out what they are all about. Ask why they are being ordered, what the purpose of the tests are, and why they will benefit you.

2. Ask about medications. Perhaps you have a medical condition and your doctor has prescribed a medication to treat it. Before you start making it a part of your routine, ask what it does, if there are any adverse effects, and if there is anything that you should know about the medication.

3. Talk about a diagnosis. Have you been diagnosed with an age-related illness? If so, ask about it. Being as informed as possible will allow you to combat or at least cope with the illness. Ask how it will affect you, what causes it, what side effects are, what treatment options there are, and so on.

4. Ask about changes. While you may have passed a medical exam with flying colors, perhaps you’re noticing changes that won’t show up on such a test. If you are starting to feel depressed, like you are losing your memory or like you can’t do something you were once able to do, mention it to your doctor.

5. Ask about alternatives. If you have been told that you will have to take a medication or have surgery, but you don’t feel confident about the choice, ask about alternatives that are available to you. There may be holistic approaches available that could benefit your condition.

6. Discuss your habits. Habits that were once just fine may now be affecting you differently. Ask your doctor if there is any cause for concern, or if you should stop exercising those habits.

7. Talk about life changes. Major life changes can cause you to experience ups and downs in your health–both emotionally and physically.The death of a loved one, for example, may be something worth mentioning to your medical provider, as this may have a large effect on your well-being, and your doctor will be able to provide tips and advice for getting through the changes.

8. Discuss emergencies or accidents. If you were involved in an accident or had a medical emergency, talk about it with your doctor. A slip and fall may have a lasting impact on you, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, and is something that should be discussed.

9. Address concerns. If you are having concerns about your health, your thoughts, or your life in general, bring them up with your doctor. He can offer advice that can help you effectively deal with your concerns.

10. How to cope. If you are finding that it is difficult to cope with getting older, discuss this with your doctor, as well. He can offer your options and ideas on how to cope with the trials and tribulations that come along with aging.

Your doctor plays an important part in your life, especially as you grow older. He is there to answer any questions or concerns that you may have, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

– Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California. She often writes on health topics, and as she has a great deal of experience in elderly healthcare, she contributes to the Presidio

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