Friday, November 21, 2008

Helping Your Doctor Help You !

The medical profession must rely on the information we as patients provide them  with to help guide our possible diagnosis, necessary diagnostic testing, treatment options and care. It is important that you communicate as clearly and as honestly as possible with your healthcare team at all times.

Doctors need your full medical history as well your family medical history because some thyroid cancers have a familial or genetic link. Some medications you are currently taking may interfere with your treatment and more. Sadly, what you don't share with  your doctor may be as just as important, or even more important, than what you do tell him or her.

Sometimes we fail to share important information about alternative therapies or natural supplements we are currently taking for other medical conditions, or we are not completely honest  about our illness onset, signs, symptoms or medication and treatment side effects because we don't realize they are very important to the doctors' ability to help us.

Here are some tips on how to best help your doctor help you!

1. Pay attention to your presenting sign(s) and symptom(s). Pay attention to the location, duration, and character of the discomfort. Also record what brings the symptom(s) on, what relieves them, and what makes them worse.

2. List past and current medical diagnosis such as other malignancies, renal failure, hypertension, heart failure, or diabetes.

3. List past surgeries, diagnostic procedures (mammogram, chest X-rays, CT scans, etc.), and hospitalizations. Bring all diagnostic films, clinical and hospitalization records, and procedure reports if you have.

4. List all medications and their dosing information. You should include all prescription and over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, herbs, and vitamins. If you have any questions about the medications you are taking, bring the medications with you to show your physician.

5. List all drug and food allergies if you have. Describe the detailed symptom(s) (skin rash, edema, etc.) of the allergy to your physician.

If you are not sure about something talk it over with our healthcare team --there is never a stupid question or concern when it comes to your medical treatment.

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