What follows is a series of questions to take with you to your doctor’s appointment. These questions are designed to help you get the information you need to make important decisions about your condition.

Please note, depending on the condition you have and your own circumstances, you may not want or need to ask all of the following questions. We have not included any general answers to these questions because the answers to them should be specific to you as an individual.

  • Can you explain what my condition is and how it may affect my life day-to-day?
  • Can I carry on with life as normal or should I make changes, i.e., stop exercising, change my diet, take time off work, etc?
  • Why do you think I’ve developed this condition?
  • How common is my condition?
  • Can my condition cause other health problems for me (complications)? How may these affect me?
  • What should I do if I start to feel unwell? Are there any specific symptoms I should look out for?
  • Could my condition affect other members of my family? For example, is it a hereditary condition that can be passed down through families?
  • Should I see any other healthcare professionals or anyone else about my condition? If so, how often should I see them?

For questions to ask your doctor about any tests you may need, see our test questions.

For questions to ask your doctor about your treatment, see our treatment questions.

It may be helpful to read through these questions before you go to your appointment and add any additional questions you want to ask. Take along a pen and paper to your appointment to take notes if you’re worried about forgetting anything. It may be helpful to bring along a family member or friend for support and to help you take notes. Alternatively, ask your doctor to write down the information for you.

If you don’t understand something your doctor tells you, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify or explain it again. You can double check your understanding, for example, by asking “Can I just check that I’ve understood what you’ve said?” then recap what you’ve discussed.

Before you leave your appointment, make sure you are clear on what will happen next, for example, any follow-up appointments or when test results will be available. It may be helpful to ask who to contact if you have any problems or further questions.

Produced by Kerry McKeagney, Bupa Health Information Team, April 2012.

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