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Making full use of a valuable resource: Your doctor

When it comes to staying healthy or living with a medical condition, your doctor is one of the most valuable resources you have. A recent survey of Canadians found that most consider their family doctor to be their major source of health information. But a visit to the doctor's office is a wasted opportunity if you are uncomfortable bringing up your health concerns, if you don't bring them up because you don't think there's enough time, or if you walk out of the office feeling like you and your doctor just had conversations in entirely different languages.

When you go to the doctor for a routine checkup, your doctor may use a variety of tests to monitor your health and disease risk factors and may also ask you about lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking, and sexual activity. But your doctor isn't a mind reader. Many medical problems don't show themselves clearly in ten minutes seated in a room, and your doctor can only see and hear physical signs then and there, not how you feel or what has happened to you in the last few weeks.

So if you have any symptoms or health concerns, make sure to bring them up at your checkup. Or, if you aren't due for a visit, schedule an appointment to discuss the specific issue at hand. Remember, your doctor is there to help or to refer you to someone who can.

And when it comes to discussing your concerns, don't be afraid to speak up no matter how personal or private your problem may feel. Even if your problem is a sensitive one, chances are your doctor has heard it before. So rather than feeling embarrassed through your whole visit and then blurting out your concern as your doctor is wrapping up, broach the subject early so your doctor can understand how important your concern is to you and give the discussion the time it needs.

If your doctor is extremely busy or running behind and your appointment feels too rushed to have a meaningful discussion about your concerns, ask if you should schedule a follow-up visit to address the particular problem in greater depth. If a particular concern is extremely important and immediate, make sure it's the first thing you discuss with your doctor. Making clear that an issue is a priority for you can go a long way towards getting it addressed during your visit. You can help to explain why a problem is a big concern to you by being specific about your symptoms and how they affect your life.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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