Some Other Things to Consider

When Preparing for Your Doctor Appointment

There are things to consider before seeing a doctor, such as: is this an emergency appointment, follow-up or routine visit? You will need to be prepared to answer certain questions from your doctor depending on the type of appointment.

Consider the following questions if the visit is a routine check-up:

  • Have you had any changes in your lifestyle or conditions since your last visit?
  • How are you feeling on your current treatment?
  • Are you having any difficulties with your current medication regimen? Are you experiencing any side-effects from any of the medications? If you are taking a lot of pills, are you able to handle the size and quantity of pills you are taking?
  • Are there any activities you should avoid?
  • Are there activities that are recommended to help improve your condition?
  • If you are seeing your doctor for a specific condition (for example diabetes or hypertension) be sure you are able to provide "disease specific" information. For example, if you are diabetic, things to consider are: bring your glucose readings; know what your insulin pump settings are. If you are hypertensive, have a log of your blood pressures at different times of the day and know if you have gained weight. If you are asthmatic, you will want to know your pulmonary function tests. These are just a few examples of the "disease specific" information you should have with you at the time of your visit.


If this is an emergency or urgent appointment, be prepared to whip out your POLDCARTS and answer all of the following questions:

Have you Previously been treated for this condition? When did you notice the Onset of your condition? What is the Location of your condition? What is the Duration (how long do the symptoms last)? How would you Characterize the symptoms? Is there anything that Aggravates the symptoms? Is there anything that Relieves the symptoms? Is there a specific Time in your day when you notice it is better, when it is worse? If you were to use a Scale how would you rate your condition?

Things to consider asking your doctor are the following:

  • When can you expect to see an improvement in your condition?
  • Under what circumstances should you call your doctor (for example if your symptoms should become worse)?
  • Under what circumstances should you stop your treatment?
  • If you experience any problems, what is the best way of contacting him/her?
  • When should you schedule your next appointment (do you need a follow-up visit or just your routine checkup)?
  • Can you be treated at home? Will you need any help/assistance?


If your physician has requested you schedule a follow-up appointment, things to consider are:

  • How have your symptoms changed since your last visit?
  • Were you able to take your prescriptions as directed? Be sure to let your physician know if you had to skip a dose for any reason. Maybe you were nauseated or dizzy; whatever the reason is for missing a dose, be honest and tell your doctor!
  • How have you tolerated the treatment?
  • Have your symptoms completely cleared? If you are still experiencing some residual symptoms, what are you experiencing?
  • Have you changed your lifestyle in any way since your last visit?


If you are going to undergo a procedure, ask if there is anything that you need to be aware of before the procedure. Things to consider are:

  • Are there any food restrictions? Are you able to eat before the procedure? Should you have a liquid diet?
  • Should you take your routine medications prior to the procedure? Are there any vitamins, or over-the-counter medications you should avoid prior to the procedure, if so, when should you stop taking them? Some procedures or blood analysis requires that you stop taking any products which may extend the time it takes for you to stop bleeding (your bleeding time). Aspirin, Motrin (or other products containing ibuprofen) are just two examples of over-the-counter medications which can prolong your bleeding time.
  • Will you be able to drive yourself home after the procedure? If you are going for an eye exam, how long will your pupils be dilated?

  • Always ask for a printed instruction sheet!


Be sure your physician has a copy of your advanced directives and HIPAA release on file.


And that is about it; these are some of the main things to consider! See how easy it is to prepare for your doctor appointment?!

Now let's see how you can prepare for an appointment for an adult/parent or a child!

Please also check out our sections on "Preparing for a Doctor Appointment for a Children" , and "Preparing for a Doctor Appointment for a Friend or Family Member" .


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