When patients and doctors communicate effectively, the patient has the best result. Not every doctor asks the critical question that can cinch a diagnosis. Yet good communication, coupled with good diagnostic skill can be worth more than $10,000 in tests and referrals to consultants.
You can help your doctor figure out what is going on by thinking and communicating like a physician. Whether you have a new problem or something that has been bothering you for a long time, here are some things that the doctor will want to know:
1. What are the symptoms? Be specific. Don’t just say “Sometimes I have a pain in my stomach.” Since more than 80 percent of health problems can be diagnosed based on information that you provide, make sure you can verbalize what you are feeling. Is it crampy? Does the pain come and go? Where is it located? Is it sharp or more like an ache? These specifics are giving information that your doctor can use as she thinks of the anatomy, physiology and causes of pain.
2. How long has it been going on? Try to be specific. “Awhile” doesn’t mean anything to a doctor. That could be two days or two years. Did it come on gradually or suddenly? There is a different cause for any symptom that is chronic (over several weeks) vs. sudden or acute. Did anything precede the symptoms? Travel, trauma, or life stress can point to different causes. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*