Be An Informed Patient - Questions You Need To Ask Your GP

Submitted on March 27, 2012
Get Health Conscious This Christmas! - Make the most of your visit to the GP with these useful tips
Get Health Conscious This Christmas!

Taking an active interest in your own health is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. This not only includes eating right, getting adequate rest and exercising every day, but also scheduling check-ups with your healthcare provider at regular intervals. Moreover, it is important that you visit your doctor as soon as you notice any unusual health symptoms.

In all probability, before setting up an appointment with a specialist, you may want to consult your General Physician (GP). In order to make the most out of your visit, we suggest that you prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask your doctor. However, be sure to describe exactly what you are experiencing, before you start an inquisition. It is also best to give the doctor a brief overview about your medical history, allergies, medication and so on. Given below are some of the common Frequently Asked Questions for general physicians that you may want to add to your list -

About the Symptoms

  • Are these signs a cause for concern?
  • Will these symptoms go away with lifestyle or dietary changes?
  • Is there more than one condition that could lead to these symptoms?
  • Are the symptoms likely to get worse, if left untreated?
  • What steps should I take in case the symptoms worsen?

About the Problem

  • How serious is the problem?
  • What could be the possible causes of the problem?
  • What is the probable course of this condition?
  • What could be the long-term outlook of this condition, with or without treatment?

About the Diagnosis

  • Which tests do I need to undergo in order to diagnose the problem?
  • How do I prepare for these tests?
  • How safe and accurate are the diagnostic tests?
  • Are there any side effects or complications that may occur because of the tests?

About the Treatment

  • What are the different treatment options?
  • How soon should the treatment begin?
  • What is the success ratio of the treatment?
  • What are the potential risks and side effects of the treatment?
  • Will the treatment be conducted by a specialist?
  • Is hospitalization required for this treatment? If yes, for how long?
  • Will the treatment interfere with any of the medication I am currently taking?
  • Can I go about my normal activities before and after the treatment?
  • Do I need to undergo treatment over and over, or just once?

About the Recovery and Aftercare Process

  • Can I follow my normal routine during and immediately after the treatment?
  • How often should I undergo a checkup?
  • What steps should I take to prevent this problem from occurring again?
  • Are there any restrictions that I will need to follow?
  • Will joining a support group help?

Of course, feel free to add any other questions that you would like to get clarified by your GP. In fact, do not be surprised if your doctor has a few additional questions for you, which could include -

  • How do these symptoms affect you? (Are you experiencing any pain or discomfort?)
  • When did you first start noticing the symptoms?
  • Do these signs come and go or are they constant?
  • What is your diet like?
  • How often do you exercise?
  • Do you drink alcohol and smoke?
  • Is there a history of any health problem in your family?

Remember that your questions will let your doctor know more about you. Therefore, do not hesitate to get any query clarified by your healthcare providers at any point.