Medical Appointments: Working With Your Health Care Professional

man talking to woman doctor

One of the most important relationships you’ll ever have is the one you’ll develop with your health care professional.

But it’s not just about listening to what you’re told, it’s about asking the right questions — and asking again if you don’t get the answers you need.

Remember: Open communication builds trust. And if you feel like it’s not happening, get a second opinion. Don’t be shy — keep asking. If you need help finding a health care professional, check out these helpful tips on finding the right health care professional for you.

Take part in decisions about your treatment, follow the treatment plan you and your health care professional agree on, watch for problems and be actively involved in solving them to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Getting started

Feel a twinge or just have a sneaking suspicion that something’s not right? If you’re like millions of others, you may start looking online before you visit a health care professional. It’s important to know how to sort the authoritative science and medical advice from the junk. Instead of randomly searching, start with credible resources and learn to be a “smart searcher” when looking online for medical advice.

And whatever you do, don’t self-diagnose. We know: It’s tempting! Instead, rely on a trusted healthcare professional.

Make the most of your medical visit

Headed to see your health care professional for a checkup? It’s easy to get overwhelmed and tongue-tied. Preparing for medical visits can help you feel more in control of your health. The questions on that page cover most of the important topics you should discuss with your health care professional, such as heart and stroke health, diet, losing weight, cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical activity, quitting cigarettes and tobacco and medication.

What about screening tests?

How often should I get screened? Does age matter? Screening tests can be an important part of your medical care, but you may wonder why you need them. Here are some of the common screening tests you may want to ask your health care professional about.

Finally, if you’re not satisfied with what you’re hearing from your health care professional, get a second opinion. If you’re conflicted about which advice to take, ask yourself: ‟Which plan makes the most sense, involves the least risk and focuses on the medical issues that are most important to you?”

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