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Going to the Doctor? Four Things to Consider

doctor's visit

Many people get nervous before a visit to the doctor. Remembering questions you want to ask, or how to prepare for a test can be difficult, even ahead of a regular checkup. Being prepared for the visit can make the experience less stressful and more efficient for you, your family and the clinical team. Robert McLean, MD, regional medical director, Northeast Medical Group, New Haven, suggests a few things you should and shouldn’t do when planning for an office visit.

Write it down 

“I suggest that patients write down important questions and bring them to the appointment,” Dr. McLean said. “Many times you’re at the office because something is wrong, and you may be nervous. That’s quite normal, but it can also make it easy to forget what you wanted to ask. The notes app on your phone can be great for this because it’s secure, and we almost always have our phones with us.”

Medication lists are a must

“Some patients keep updated lists of all the medications they are taking,” Dr. McLean said. “It is really important to bring that to every visit so it can be compared to the list in your medical record. There are a number of reasons your medications or doses may have changed, and your doctor will want to confirm your lists with certainty. If you have any questions, bring your medication bottles to the visit." 

Consider pausing OTC meds 

“Over-the-counter medications can be great for treating things like congestion and allergies, but if you can, you should stop taking them the day of your visit,” Dr. McLean said. “Some of these medicines can raise your blood pressure and we might not know right away what’s causing your blood pressure to go up. If you absolutely must continue over-the-counter medications, be sure to include that on the complete list of everything you’re taking, including vitamins and supplements.”

Follow your routine on day of visit

“Take your regular prescription medications on your regular schedule,” Dr. McLean said. “We don’t want to find your blood pressure or heart rate to be off just because you didn’t take your regular medications on the morning of your visit. When it comes to eating, we’ve learned that fasting is no longer needed for certain tests like those for cholesterol and blood sugar. Overall, try to keep things simple and follow your normal eating patterns unless your doctor advises something different.”

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