Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Note: We recommend that you consider using this page as a reference for your consultation with your doctor.

William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

  1. What do you think is causing my problem?
  1. Is there more than one condition (disease) that could be causing my problem?
  1. What tests will you do to diagnose the problem and which of the conditions is present?
  1. How good are the tests for diagnosing the problem and the conditions?
  1. How safe are the tests?
  1. What is the likely course of this condition? What is the long-term outlook with and without treatment?
  1. What are my treatment options? How effective is each treatment option? What are the benefits versus risks of each treatment option?
  1. If my symptoms worsen, what should I do on my own? When should I contact you?
  1. Are you aware of each of the medications that I am taking? Can they adversely interact with the medications you are prescribing for me?
  1. Should we monitor for side effects of the medications that you are prescribing or for their interactions with other medications I am taking?

Important Reminder: Establishing an accurate diagnosis is key to proper treatments. You are the most important person in this process by accurately describing to your doctor the character, location, duration, and time of onset of your symptoms. You should also inform your doctor about vitamins, herbs, and medications you are taking. For example, long-term use of certain vitamins and non-prescription medications may be the cause of your abnormal liver tests; magnesium-containing antacids and supplements may be causing your diarrhea; certain blood pressure medication can be the reason for constipation.

Reference: Kasper et.al., Harrison's Manual of Medicine; McGraw Hill, 2005.


Last Editorial Review: 9/28/2009



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