The Top Ten Questions You Should Ask Your General Practitioner
We want you to ask questions.
In today’s busy world, everyone is rushing from one event to another. However, time with your internal medicine doctor or general practitioner should never be hurried. Seeking — and heeding — health care advice is vital for your health.
However, some patients may not know what to ask. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten questions you should ask your Raleigh Medical Group physician.
1. What can I do to improve my health?
The common standbys are always true: Diet and exercise are key ingredients in a healthy lifestyle. But did you realize that getting a good night’s sleep is also vital for good health? Your general practitioner will help you identify positive behaviors you may have overlooked that are pertinent to your well-being.
Often, health improvements aren’t just the result of major changes, they are also the result of several small changes every day, and these add up to make a big difference. According to Harvard Medical School, some changes to consider are:
- Skip the soda. Even if you reduce your intake by one regular soft drink, this will save 100 to 200 calories.
- Eat nuts that are good for your heart health. This includes walnuts, almonds and unsalted peanuts.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Make sure you have a serving of whole grains or fruit.
- Wash your hands often to avoid infections.
- Find ways to relax, whether it’s through deep breathing, yoga or meditation. These can help you beat stress and lower your blood pressure.
Your Raleigh Medical Group physician can give some suggestions that will make the biggest difference in your health.
2. Which medical tests should I have and how often should I have them?
Your age, gender and family history all play an important part in deciding which annual screenings you should have. Be sure that you have access to your medical history, and let your doctor know if certain diseases run in your family.
3. What do these lab results mean?
Lab results can be confusing. Do you know the difference between HDL and LDL? What should your fasting glucose be?
Our internists have decades of experience — take advantage of it! There’s simply no reason to Google any unfamiliar terms. We’ll take time to go over every item on your test and explain what it means and any actions you need to take.
4. Can I take this medication with…?
Even over-the-counter medicines and natural herbal remedies can interact with prescription medications. Be sure to tell us about all the medication you’re taking, including special vitamin supplements.
5. What side effects should I watch for?
Medications affect everyone differently. This is why it is so important to know which side effects are more common and which ones signal an emergency. This will vary, of course, depending upon your medication, your age, your dosage and other factors.
6. What symptoms should I watch for?
Certain symptoms can indicate a serious health problem. We’ll look at your lab work and your family medical history to determine your risks for certain diseases.
There are some symptoms that every patient should be aware of, because these serve as warning signs for potentially life-threatening conditions:
- Increased thirst and urination: These could indicate diabetes.
- Difficulty speaking and moving in addition to numbness on one side of the face: These are the warning signs of a stroke. If you’re having a stroke, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately in order to minimize the likelihood of brain damage.
- Blood in urine: This is an indicator of bladder and/or kidney infections.
- Chest pain and numbness in the left arm: This is one of the “classic” symptoms of a heart attack. However, if you’re a woman, you may be less likely to experience chest pain. Instead, you may have jaw pain, nausea or lightheadedness. You can learn more about women’s heart health from the American Heart Association.
- Severe abdominal pain: It’s difficult to determine the exact cause of abdominal pain because there are so many organs in that area. However, extreme pain could indicate an inflamed appendix or another serious condition.
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive. Your best course of action is to schedule an appointment or, in the case of a heart attack or stroke, dial 9-1-1 immediately.
7. How can I lose weight?
More than one-third of American adults are obese, according to information from the CDC. Obesity places you at risk for several conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
At Raleigh Medical Group, we have dedicated dietitians who help our patients make healthier lifestyle choices that can help them lose weight and dramatically reduce their chances of developing these diseases.
8. What are some reliable internet sources?
While knowledge is power, incorrect information can be worse than no information at all — especially when it comes to your health.
Instead of heading straight for “Dr. Google,” get your information from the following, reliable websites:
- The Centers for Disease Control
- The Mayo Clinic
- The American Cancer Society
- The American Heart Association
- MedlinePlus at the U.S. National Library of Medicine
If you have any questions about what you’ve read or you’d like a more extensive explanation, please ask us.
9. How can I keep this from happening again?
When you have a health problem or a troubling diagnosis, it can be overwhelming. You’re often only thinking of the immediate situation. However, it’s equally important to put safeguards in place to ensure that your issues don’t reoccur. We’ll be happy to provide suggestions and a plan tailored to your needs.
10. Where will this surgery/exam/test be performed? Will it be in your office or a hospital/surgical center?
It’s important to know exactly what is involved so you can be prepared the day of the procedure. Some procedures, such as bone density scans and stress tests can be completed in our office. In-office procedures are less expensive than those that must be performed at a hospital.
Examine your health insurance benefits carefully so you can better understand your coverage.
Our general practitioners in Raleigh are always here to help you. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.