Being a partner in health care means helping your doctor help you. It begins with speaking up -sounds simple? But many people skip important details.
“A person doesn’t think that they’re very significant, but it can lead to something else,” says Lee Memorial Health System nurse practitioner Arlene Wright.
Here are some things to think about; things you should be telling your doctor.
“An unintentional or unplanned weight loss or weight gain, because that could be a sign of something else going on. Skin lesions, anything new or old, non-healing wounds, pain, chest pain, or any prolonged joint swelling or pain or inflammation, vision changes or changes in a headache pattern,” says Wright.
Certainly topics you’d want to share. Others may slip your mind.
“Bring a list of your medications; current medications which is not just prescription, but also over-the-counter. Oftentimes people forget that over-the-counter medications certainly can interact and have a chemical; cause a chemical reaction.”
Many people fall victim to what’s called ‘white coat anxiety’. They have a lot of things to tell their health care provider- but when they see that white coat, they forget everything. Best advice is to keep a running list and jot down any changes or symptoms as they happen.
“So that you can participate in the routine screenings and anything else that would help detect something early on,” says Wright.
One more thing: before you take off on a trip, pencil in a visit with your provider.
“If you’re planning to travel outside of the country where certain diseases might be prevalent, you might need immunizations.”
So as you hop up on the exam table- be prepared to share it all.