Here are top 5 questions to ask your GP:
Q: What is my diagnosis and what does it mean?
Some GPs don’t tell the patient what’s wrong with them; they prescribe a medication or schedule a test. Make sure they’re specific; you need to know what’s going on in your body and how your doctor plans on helping you to get better.
Q: What is the primary cause of my health condition?
Your GP might not always be able to pinpoint a specific cause of your health issue, but they can at least offer a range of potential causes. It’s important information as you may be able to provide insight that will aid in your treatment. For example, is your abdominal pain related to an athletic injury, a spicy food you recently ate or a medication you’ve been taking for another condition? Knowledge is indeed power for both you and your doctor.
Q: How will medication help my condition, and can I do something instead of (or in addition to) taking drugs?
You need to know how a medication is supposed to help your condition; don’t let your GP prescribe something without understanding its action on the body, both good and bad. You could also ask your doctor about nondrug treatment options.
Q: I’m also taking nutritional supplements. How could they interact with the medication you’ve prescribed?
Many people take nutritional supplements, whether a daily multivitamin/multimineral or specific nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium or magnesium. GPs rarely inquire about such use and patients rarely tell them. Many medications can interact with nutritional supplements, which can impact how the medication works.
Q: What is the next step if my condition does not improve within x number of days?
This is always a great question to ask. Will they try another medication? Will they order blood work? Will they schedule a scan? Or “wait and see”? Knowing what your GP is thinking and understanding your potential course of action can reduce the stress.