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InterView Magazine

Be Prepared for your Doctor appointment

One of the goals at Inter Valley Health Plan is that our members take an active part in their health care. Making sure that you are well prepared for your visit to the doctor is one way you can help accomplish that goal.

Make a list of your concerns
Put them in order of importance and ask the most important question first.

Take information with you
Medications (prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal remedies or supplements) you take; names of other health care providers you see; and previous medical records, your current doctor doesn’t have.

Things to discuss with the doctor

Recent events or changes in your health
Any emergency room visits or changes in your appetite, weight, sleep, energy level, or any other symptoms.

What you want to do or used to do but no longer can
Because people often accept a certain level of disability, especially if it’s private, like sex, they may miss out on treatments that would ease or even solve the problem.

Over-the-counter pills or supplement
Tell your doctor about any non-prescription medications or herbal remedies you take regularly. Over-the-counter medications and supplements can have dangerous interactions with conventional medications.

Medications prescribed by other doctors
If you see several specialists, or you visit a hospital or urgent care, tell your primary doctor about any medications prescribed for you.

Medications you should take—but don’t
Side-effects are often to blame, or people never really meant to take the medicine. Discuss any concerns with your doctor, maybe the prescription can be changed. If you don’t like taking pills, perhaps there’s a good nonpharmacological approach. Either way, you won’t know unless you tell your doctor first.

If you smoke or drink
Most smokers & heavy drinkers know they shouldn’t, so they’re sometimes ashamed to admit it. Don’t lie to your doctor.

Depression or Stress
Even with the stigma fading many people won’t admit they’re depressed and stress is hard to pin down.  Both conditions have symptoms of fatigue, insomnia,
or irritability, so the real cause can be missed. Tell your doctor what you’re feeling, it could lead to a treatment that makes you feel better.

Problems with Incontinence
Urinary or fecal incontinence may be manageable conditions—but you must tell your doctor.

Your preventative health care
Make sure you’re current and your doctor has a record of all vaccinations and health screenings like your flu shot, pneumonia shot, etc. Ask about annual screenings, including a cancer screening.

Specific screenings/tests
*Know your Body Mass Index (BMI) —a healthy weight is important to your well being
*Ask how to increase your exercise or maintain your current exercise routine
*Ask about an Osteoporosis screening to detect bone issues, especially if you have fallen.
*Schedule your annual flu shot and one-time pneumonia shot
*Make sure that you’re current on all your labs if you have diabetes.

Your test results
Have your doctor explain the results and what they mean. Maybe, ask that a written copy be sent to your primary doctor, if the test was done by someone else.

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