Make the most of your doctor's visit
I read a great book - Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely by Dr. Davis Liu - that said patients are lucky if they get a full 17 minutes with their doctors during a visit! If you have a health concern or problem, that isn't a lot of time. The author suggests that you use the four Ws in order to relay all the necessary info to your physician. They are:
• When: When did it start? How has the problem changed over time? When does it seem to occur? When was the last time you had the problem?
• What: What activities, treatments, or behaviors seem to make the problem better, worse, or no different? What does the problem feel like? How would you describe the pain (i.e. sharp, dull, burning, gnawing, pressure-like, tight, achy, constant, increasing, comes and goes). What other problems or symptoms have you noticed?
• Where: Where did the problem start? Did it move over time, and if so, where? Does the pain or condition move anywhere else in the body?
• Why: Why the problem is important to you: “I want to make sure it isn’t anything serious, like cancer or a heart attack;” “I wanted to make sure I don’t need to cancel my vacation;” “My husband is worried about it.”