When you visit the doctor’s office have you ever felt intimidated or unprepared? Perhaps you’re embarrassed to disclose certain symptoms or simply have trouble communicating what exactly the problem is. Here are 8 things doctors secretly want you to know so that you can maximize the time spent with your physician and ensure you get the best care possible.

1.  “Be honest. If you have been prescribed medication and are not taking it regularly or at all, tell me”

  • There are many reasons patients do not take their prescriptions, it could be that they decided upon another method of treatment, or only take their medication intermittently. Whatever the reason, providing complete and detailed information about your medication usage is vital to receiving accurate care.

2.  “If you are taking herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs, or using alternative therapies, let me know”

  • It is important that the use of any over-the-counter, alternative or herbal medications is disclosed to your doctor so that he/she can get an accurate idea of your health practices. This is particularly important in countries like Nigeria, where patients have easy access to a multitude of over-the-counter and herbal medications.

3.  “You need to lose weight.”

  • According to a study published recently in the National Institute of Health database, in Nigeria the prevalence of overweight individuals ranges from 20.3%-35.1% while obesity ranges from 8.1%-22.2%. Obesity is a problem because it is a precondition for about 35 different health issues, such as heart disease, cancer, depression and many more.

4.  “Tell me what you’re worried about right away, not when you’re leaving.”

  • It is important to make the doctor aware of the issues that bother you the most so that such issues are given the most attention. It is also advisable to ask your doctor how he prefers to work.  A recent nationwide survey of Canadian doctors showed that doctors are divided between those who prefer to hear a list of symptoms and those who prefer to approach one problem at a time.

5.  “You don’t need a prescriptionat every visit”

  • Whether it is caused by past history, media, or friends; there is a tendency for patients to expect prescription medication after a doctor’s visit, otherwise they feel under-treated. A good physician knows that not all treatment methods require medication. Patients must trust their physicians to do what is best for them.

6.  “Treatment is individualistic. If a method of treatment worked for a family member or friend it doesn’t mean it will work for you”

  • It is important to remember that people are different. Therefore, a one-size-fits all treatment is simply not ideal. As mentioned above, trust you doctor to provide you with a treatment regimen that works for you.

7.  “Think carefully about your symptoms before coming to the doctor’s office”

  • Be as direct, concise, accurate and as prepared as you can. A full description of your symptoms allows doctors to determine the best place to start. Questions patients can ask themselves are:
  • When did the pain start?
  • Is it getting better?
  • Where is it located?
  • What makes it worse?

8.  “Please wash your hands before coming to see me“

  • Washing hands is one of the first and most important steps in preventing the spread of disease causing bacteria. Washed hands and basic hygiene in general are basic requirements when going to see your doctor. However, this goes both ways so remember to ask your doctor if he has washed his hands before he touches you.

Adapted from best health magazine -10 things doctors secretly wish they could tell you.

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