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How to Discuss Health with Your Physician

discussing health with your physician

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Your Lifestyle and Well-Being

When you visit your physician, it’s important to share as much information as possible in order to receive the most complete care. That means being truthful and discussing anything that may be affecting your health (that your physician may not know).

Physicians are wonderful resources for a wide range of health-related and lifestyle matters.

Sharing is Caring

The more your physician knows about you, including your hobbies, the more they can help and properly diagnose.

Consider discussing your:

  • Drinking and/or drug use. Not only can physicians determine if your recreational habits may negatively interact with your medications or supplements, they can also help guide you to counseling or therapy if you find yourself becoming more reliant on drinking and/or drugs to get through the day.
  • Habits. Physicians can encourage you to develop positive health habits and rid you of bad ones.
  • Health goals. Physicians can work with other health experts to guide you toward your health goals, such as weight loss and nutrition. Having support from someone invested in your health can make the journey to your goals easier.
  • Herbal supplements or alternative medicine. If you’re interested in adding supplements or alternative medicine to your health regimen, your physician can discuss what might benefit you the most.
  • Current prescriptions. A physician often needs a reminder about the medications you’re taking, especially, if other physicians are involved who might not share that information
  • Hobbies. Repetitive stress injuries can be tied to hobbies that involve the repeated use of certain body parts, such as hands, elbows and shoulders. Your physician can discuss physical therapy and assistive devices that might help you remain healthy.
  • Over-the-counter medicines. Physicians can help you understand which medicines can help with your condition without the need for a prescription.
  • Physical or sexual questions. Don’t worry, physicians have seen and heard it all. So go ahead, bring these more personal questions to discuss in confidence.
  • Mental health. Stress and exhaustion are just two psychological issues that can greatly affect your health. Your physician may not know you’re suffering, if you don’t openly discuss it.

Tips for Improving the Relationship with Your Physician

These tips will help you take a proactive approach toward your relationship with your physician:

  • Remember this is a collaborative relationship, not just a one-sided conversation with your physician talking the entire time.
  • Come prepared for your visit. Bring your questions and concerns. Feel free to bring any articles, research or advice from other physicians that you want to discuss with your physician.
  • Speak up. Be proactive and ready to have an open discussion.
  • Follow up after the appointment with any questions or concerns you may have expressed or if there are answers you need from your physician.
  • Use MyChart and other patient portals to stay in touch and be informed about your health.

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