This is a continuing series using information from the booklet written by the National Institute on Aging working with the National Institutes of Health called: Talking with Your Doctor. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIH Publication No. 05-3452 August 2005 (Reprinted April 2010)
Once you have established good communication, the kind that involves not only getting information but also giving it, you will need to work with your doctor on a plan of action.
Keeping in mind the two way communication…
Ask about different treatments.
Whether it is medication or surgery you will need to ask questions. Let’s say that your doctor is prescribing medication for diabetes. Ask, “What are the pro and cons of the medication?” “Do I have any other choices besides this or any medication?” The same questions are good for the surgery. Most doctors will probably be discussing this with you anyway but in the event they don’t you need to ask. If you are uncomfortable with the treatment prescribed then practicing good communication, you need to let your doctor know that.
Here is a summary of ideas to help with your discussion:
Ask about different treatments:
• Are there any risks associated with the treatment?
• How soon should treatment start?
• How long will it last?
• Are there other treatments available?
• How much will the treatment cost?
• Will my insurance cover it?
Ask about prevention:
• Is there any way to prevent a condition that runs in my family—before it affects me?
• Are there ways to keep my condition from getting worse?
• How will making a change in my habits help me?
• Are there any risks in making this change?
• Are there support groups or community services that might help me?
Next article: Speaking of Exercise