Published on January 15, 2021

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

doctor with stethoscope

I am sure that all of us have some memory from childhood of being shown how to do something for the first time.

It may have been the first time we helped our mother stir cake batter or roll out cookie dough. It may have been the first time we had to hammer a nail or put a worm on a hook while fishing with our dad. No matter the instance, a common question was usually associated with these activities—“Am I doing it right?” Am I stirring correctly so all the lumps disappear in the cake batter, or am I getting the worm on the hook so it won’t fall off? Am I doing it right?

As we got older the experiences changed, but the question remained. With each new task we encountered, whether it was academic or leisure, we still had the same question, be it to our instructor, coach or ourselves: Am I doing it right?

Even now for us grownups, we still ask our fitness instructors, bankers, pastors and ourselves the same question. Am I lifting these weights safely? Am I saving enough for retirement? Am I serving my community as I should? Am I doing this right?

So what about our health? Are we as healthy as should or could be? What questions should we ask our doctor? Are we doing it right?

Are we eating as we should? We have always heard that we are what we eat. It seems everyone is on a diet these days. But, is it a healthy diet? Are we getting enough of the good stuff—vitamins, minerals and the right amounts of healthy carbohydrates, proteins and good fats? Are we staying away from simple sugars, animal fats and too much salt? Think about what you eat, and keep a mental or a written diary. On your next doctor’s visit, discuss your eating habits. Then ask, “Am I doing it right?”

What about exercise? Studies show that moving around is always better than not—even simply standing has been shown to have health benefits. Exercise is necessary for improving health, but what type and the intensity of your exercise routine needs to be directed and approved by your doctor. Your physician will take into consideration your physical condition and any medical problems, and may recommend a fitness trainer to help you with your exercise routine. Follow your doctor's recommendations and work hard. On your next doctor’s visit, tell your doctor what your exercise routine is like and then ask, “Am I doing it right?”

One of the most important issues in maintaining and improving one’s health is adherence to your doctor’s plan of care, especially the proper and consistent use of prescription medications. Skipping doses, adding doses or a combination of both often can lead to significant medical complications. It is always important to bring your medications to every visit and to tell your doctor how you have been taking them. Then ask, “Am I doing it right?”

It is also crucial to keep all scheduled appointments for screening procedures like mammograms, pap smears, bone density tests and screening colonoscopies. If your doctor recommends immunizations and other tests or studies, make sure you do your best to follow his or her directions. After you have kept your appointments and have gotten all your tests and immunizations done, the reports will post to your medical record.

When you see your doctor for follow up, having done your part, you can ask with pride, “Am I doing it right?” You just might get a smile out of your physician. Doing it right is the key to a healthier and more active life. Work with your physician, and over time, do it right.

Are we as healthy as should or could be? What questions should we ask our doctor? Are we doing it right?