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Questions to ask your doctor

According to the data reports offered by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, the average time spent with a doctor in the United States during an office visit is 22 minutes. Arriving prepared can help ensure you have all of your questions answered, and it will help enable you to feel reassured upon leaving your appointment.

Use these questions as a guideline for talking with your doctor.

For a particular condition:

• What is wrong with me?

• What causes this type of problem?

• Is this condition serious?

• Is this condition contagious?

• Are there any activities, foods or medicines I should avoid while I have this condition?

• How can I prevent this from happening again?

• What type of treatment do you recommend?

If testing is recommended:

• What is this test and why is it needed?

• How long will the test take?

• Is it painful?

• Do you perform this test in the office or do I need to go to a lab?

• Are there any risks involved?

• How do I prepare for this test? Are there any foods or activities I should avoid?

• What side effects should I look for, if any?

• How long does it take to receive the results?

When given a prescription:

• What does this medicine do and why is it being prescribed?

• What are the side effects?

• What happens if I do not take this medicine?

• How long do I need to take this medicine?

• Should it be taken with or without food?

• What do I do if I miss a dose?

• If I don't experience any improvement, how long after taking this medication should I call you?

• Are there any foods, beverages or other medications I should avoid while taking this medicine?

• Are there any alternatives to medication?

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