- Ask your doctor about the immunizations you should have and take action to ensure your immunizations are current.
- Discuss your risk of getting certain health conditions. What lifestyle choices and changes might you need to make to lower your risks or prevent illness?
- Speak to your doctor about appropriate health screenings according to age, weight, and heredity and obtain regular screenings for such conditions as high/low blood pressure, high/low blood cholesterol, high/low blood sugar, etc.
- Be familiar with, and regularly practice, self-examinations to detect skin cancer, and breast or testicular cancer.
- Ask about the risks and benefits of tests and treatments. Tell your doctor what you like and dislike about your choices for care.
- Make sure you understand and can follow your doctor's instructions. You may want to bring another person along or take notes to help you remember things.
- Do I need testing? If so, what? How much do these tests cost? How much will my health plan pay?
- How often should I have these tests? Should I call to schedule the test or will the doctor's office do it for me?
- How do I prepare for any tests I may need?
When and how will I get my test results?
- What will today's office visit cost me?
- Will there be fees for other services?
- Why do I need to take this particular medication?
- What is the name of the drug? Is there a generic alternative?
- How and when should I take it?
- Are their foods, drinks, or other things I should avoid while taking this medication?
- What should I do if I forget to take it?
- What are the known side effects? Is this drug known to cause birth defects? (Important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.)
- How long will I need to take this medicine?
- How will this medicine interact with other drugs I am currently taking?
- Are there any non-drug measures that work as well?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Can you recommend a specialist? Is he or she board certified?
- Does the specialist work out of more than one office?
- How soon should I be seen by a specialist?
- What if I can't get an appointment for a month or more? Should I see someone else?
- What's wrong with me?
- What treatment should I follow, including medical treatment or dietary and lifestyle changes?
- What are the risks?
- What medicines are you giving me? What are they for?
- How should I expect to feel during treatment?
What side effects, if any, can I expect to have?
- How will this problem affect me in the future?
- Where can I find emotional support for myself and my family?
- How can I expect this to affect my marriage and other intimate relationships?
- Are there clinical trials I could participate in?
- Do I need surgery at this time?
- Who will perform the surgery? How many times has this surgeon performed the procedure?
- When should I have this surgery?
- Do I have any alternative options or non-surgical alternatives? (Ask about minimally invasive procedures versus major ones.)
- Do I have choices outside of surgery?
- What are the benefits of this surgery?
- What are the risks?
- Where will I have this surgery?
- Can I have surgery as an out-patient?
- Where can I get a second opinion?
The Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality also lists several
Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before You Have Surgery.