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Ask your doctor these questions at your next visit

July 26, 2022
Your doctor is there to help you be your healthiest. However, even routine visits can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s why it can be helpful to plan ahead. Then you can leave each appointment feeling more confident about what your doctor said and how you should move forward.
Find out the best questions to ask your doctor before, during and after your visit.

Preparing for your visit

Whether you’re having an in-person or virtual visit, experiencing symptoms or simply need an annual physical, it helps your appointment run smoothly if you do the following things beforehand:

  • Make a list of prescriptions or products you take. Write down everything you take and how much you take each day, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Think about including a family member or friend. They can help you think of questions for your doctor or review information with you after your appointment. They may even be able to participate in a virtual visit.
  • Questions to ask: 
    • What can I do to prevent or delay health problems?
    • Should I make any changes to improve my health?
    • Are there tests or screenings I should have, based on my age or other risk factors?
    • Do I need to come back for another visit?

Understanding a diagnosis

If you go to the doctor for diagnostic care, make sure you understand your condition and your doctor’s plan of care before leaving.

Asking your doctor the following questions may help you better understand your diagnosis:

  • What’s the name of the condition?
  • What may have caused this condition?
  • How long is this condition expected to last?
  • How will this problem affect me long-term?
  • How can this issue be treated or managed?
  • Where can I learn more about this condition?

Still confused?

If your appointment is ending and you’re still unsure about your condition or what you’re supposed to do next, don’t leave without asking your doctor these questions:2

  • What is the main issue?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important that I do this?
It’s important that you understand what’s happening so you can feel confident in how to move forward.

1 National Institute on Aging website, What ShouldIAsk My Doctor Duringa Checkup? (accessed June 2021):
2 Institute for Healthcare Improvement website, Ask Me
3: Good Questions for Your Good Health (accessed May 2021):