A good doctor will work side by side with you to create a health regimen specific to your unique needs. We’re lucky to live in a world where modern medicine can provide us with an unprecedented degree of comfort and good health as we age. The doctor-patient relationship is a two way street, however, and if we don’t ask the right questions it can be hard to determine the best course of action. In this entry, we’ll look at a few questions that everyone, elderly or otherwise, should be asking their doctor.
Are treatment alternatives available?
Some ailments can be treated in a number of ways, and not all treatments affect everyone in the same way. If you’re concerned that your current treatment isn’t working, or that another treatment might be more effective, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about other options.
Could my symptoms be caused by something else?
Let’s say you’ve been suffering from chronic nausea and after a few visits to your doctor, he or she determines that it’s caused by an ulcer. You receive antibiotics for the ulcer, but after a few weeks the nausea is still persisting. At this point, you should ask your doctor what else might be causing the nausea. Be sure to consider your family medical history. Chronic nausea can be caused by all sorts of things, from Crohn’s disease to hyperthyroidism. If your treatment isn’t working, it could be because you’re not treating the right problem
What food and drug interactions should I be aware of on my medication?
Food and drug interactions aren’t always easy for patients to predict. Grapefruit juice, for example, should be avoided by patients on certain antidepressant drugs. It’s especially important to ask about drug interactions if you’re prescribed multiple medications by different doctors. If you are seeing multiple physicians, don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist about drug interactions as well, and be sure to read the literature that accompanies your new medication.
What side effects can I expect on my new medication?
Sometimes, adverse side effects from medications can be so debilitating that they necessitate a new treatment regimen. It’s important to know what these potential side effects are, so that you can identify them early and determine whether or not your medication is the right answer for you.
Be sure to bring a hard copy of your family medical history and a list of your current medication whenever you visit your doctor. Don’t trust this to memory. The more information you can give your doctor, the better your chances of obtaining an accurate diagnosis.
We also recommend bringing a trusted advocate along with you to your doctor’s appointment. Going to the doctor can be stressful, and sometimes that stress makes us forget to mention key details about our health concerns. By bringing an advocate such as a close friend or family member, you can help to ensure that the doctor receives all the information they need to help you. Your advocate can also work with you to make sure you have a clear understanding of the discussion you have with your doctor.
Want to learn more about important discussions to have with your doctor? Give us a call today to speak with one of the devoted caregivers at Your Own Home senior care.