1. Make Sure You Choose The Right Appointment
When it comes to appointments, there typically isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Appointments are usually available in different lengths for different purposes, so communicating clearly the reason why you need to see your doctor is crucial to getting the most out of your visit. If your complaint is something fairly innocuous like a rash, you'll probably only need a shorter slot, whereas a full-body physical, for example, will require a substantial chunk of time. It's also a good idea to have a list of things you'd like to discuss with your physician, in order of importance. Don't expect to tick off the whole list in one appointment, but at least you'll know if you need to rebook and for how long.
2. Elaborate On Your Symptoms
Rather than just running through a laundry list of your symptoms, try and elaborate slightly and give your doctor some context. For example, if you are someone who suffers from regular headaches, be sure to include the details of this when telling your doctor that you've been experiencing severe nausea over the past few days. Giving context to your symptoms will help them form an accurate diagnosis.
3. Don't Be Embarrassed
We all know that we needn't be embarrassed to talk about anything with our doctor, but it goes against our nature to not at least feel a little bit shy, especially when it's a highly personal issue. Perhaps it involves an area of the body you feel uncomfortable revealing, or it's a subject matter that you'd rather not discuss, doctors fully understand that being open and honest can be difficult. However, they see and hear everything and would far rather you mention what's on your mind than keep it bottled inside.
4. Bring A Friend
A lot of patients would never consider the idea of inviting a friend to accompany them to their appointment because, as adults, we want to seem self-assured and in control of our personal situations - medical included. However, bringing a friend can be extremely helpful for properly understanding what your doctor is telling you, and they can be a sounding board for advice or simply provide support. If you're at the doctor because you're feeling unwell it can often be difficult to advocate for yourself, so having an extra ally in the room can be the difference between a satisfying outcome and an unresolved one. Just remember that your friend is with you for support, not to speak on your behalf.
5. We Know That Weight Is A Sensitive Issue
Doctors completely understand that weight can be a touchy subject and that the process of losing it isn't easy. They appreciate that food is a huge part of our lives, that it brings people together, and is often the highlight of any celebration or adventure. However, if you are overweight, losing even a relatively small amount can make a vast improvement to your overall health. Weight-loss can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and in some cases, even cancer. It'll also reduce the stress on our joints and help to lower blood pressure. Overall, losing weight can be a miracle cure and you'll feel so much better for it. So when doctors ask their patients to lose weight, they are doing so from a good place, as they fully understand the numerous health benefits that it will bring.
6. Not Everyone Should Take A Daily Aspirin
The aspirin-a-day theory is an extremely popular one within the medical community and lots of patients abide by this advice religiously. It's thought that taking an aspirin every day can ward off strokes and heart attacks, and there has been plenty of research done to prove this. That being said, this prescription isn't a one-size-fits-all formula and is a decision that should be taken on an individual basis. Some studies have shown that even a small amount of daily aspirin consumption can cause bleeding in the internal tract, which makes sense as aspirin actively thins the blood (to prevent heart attacks). But the thinner the blood, the more likely it is to cause bleeding in the gut, so for some people this risk actually outweighs the benefits that a daily dose of aspirin can bring. Speak with your doctor about this and they can offer the correct advice for you.