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Published on February 17, 2022

Asking These Questions Helps You Take Charge of Your Health

Photo of a doctor showing his patient an image on a tablet in an examination roomSeeing a doctor and managing your health can be a stressful and confusing matter, but asking the right questions can help you get the answers you need. “The more involved you are in pursuing information about your health care, the more of an advocate you can be for yourself,” said Winston Lai DO, a family medicine physician for PIH Health.

You should never feel uncomfortable or ashamed to ask a question of a medical professional. Asking questions is the key to good communication and fully understanding your health. Here are questions to ask in different situations. This list is not all-inclusive and you may have other questions, too. If you don’t think you’ll remember what you want to ask, write it down before you go.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a health issue:

  • What is the name of the condition I have?
  • What does that word mean (if you don’t understand something)?
  • How will it affect me?
  • How serious is it?
  • What may have caused it?
  • Is there something else that can be causing my symptoms?
  • What is the treatment?
  • How long will it last?
  • Is there a cure?
  • How can I learn more about the condition?

About medications and treatments:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • How am I supposed to do something (if instructions aren’t clear)?
  • What is the name of the medication or treatment being prescribed?
  • Why is it being prescribed to me?
  • How long do I take it/do it for?
  • Does this medication interact with anything else I take?
  • What are the side effects? What should I do if I have any?
  • Are there other medications/treatments that would also work?
  • How will I know if the medication/treatment is working?
  • How much does it cost?

Before a medical test:

  • Why is the test being done?
  • What will it show?
  • How accurate is the test?
  • Are there any dangers or side effects?
  • What does the test involve?
  • What do I need to do to prepare for the test?
  • How will I get the results and when will I get them?
  • Do I need a follow-up visit after the test?
  • Are there other tests I may also need?
  • What does the test cost?

If you’re looking for a PIH Health physician to help you take charge of your health, visit PIHHealth.org/Physicians.

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