Five Medical Questions and Answers You Should Know

  1. Should you keep track of your own medical history?

    Yes. Keeping your own medical history helps in tracking allergies, past illnesses, medications and so on. Why?

    • It’s helpful if you move to a new area and change health plans.
    • It also comes in handy when comparing your medical and insurance bills to your own records.

  2. When talking about current medications with your doctor, should you mention over-the-counter drugs you're taking?

    Yes. Mention all medications, nonprescription drugs and any other herbal supplements or vitamins. Make sure to mention any problems or allergies to past medications.

  3. What should you bring to the appointment?

    • A list of questions regarding your symptoms, condition and if you're on any ongoing treatment. Also, bring along your medical history and a list of your current medications.

    • Bring pen and paper to take notes.
    • Consider bringing a family member with you. Why? They can take notes, ask questions and act as an advocate on your behalf.
    • Always ask about things you don't understand (tests, procedures, symptoms, diagnoses, medications, etc.).

  4. It is necessary to use the same pharmacy each time you fill a prescription?

    It's not necessary but it is wise. Why? Choosing one pharmacy means your medications (and any reactions to meds) and other health information may be easier to track. This will help you, your doctor and pharmacist to better manage your medications and overall health.

  5. When should you seek a second opinion?

    • That is always up to you.
    • You may also want to consider a second opinion if you have been presented with a major diagnosis (heart disease, cancer, etc.) or treatment options (i.e. chemotherapy, drug therapy, surgery).
    • Most insurance plans cover second opinions; however, they might charge. Talk to your health insurance agent or review your policy.

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. These tips are from doctors, nurses and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with a doctor or other appropriate medical professional you trust before making any health care changes.

Updated 5/2009