Tips On How To Talk With Your Doctor

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Being able to communicate openly, comfortably and assertively with your doctor can help you make good health decisions and stay well.

But some older people shy away from this approach and hesitate to ask questions or take the doctor's time.

How do you talk about a sensitive subject with your doctor? What if you forget to ask an important question? What if you feel rushed during your visit? How can you get the most out of your visit with your health care provider?

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The best patient-doctor relationships are more of a partnership, with both sides taking responsibility for good communication. To guide older patients in speaking with their doctors, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers Talking with Your Doctor, a newly released topic on NIHSeniorHealth.gov, a Web site developed by NIH with the needs of older people in mind. The NIHSeniorHealth.gov Web site is a joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which are components of the NIH.

"Most people know that communicating with their doctor is important to their health care, especially as they age and are more likely to have health conditions and treatments to discuss," says Judith A. Salerno, M.D., NIA deputy director. "The key is to know how to have that conversation."

Older adults can turn to this newest feature on the NIHSeniorHealth Web site for information on managing conversations with their doctor. How to prepare for a doctor visit, what to ask, what information to provide, and how to understand what the doctor says are among the many helpful tips older adults can find on the site.

One of the fastest growing age groups using the Internet, older Americans increasingly turn to the World Wide Web for health information. In fact, 68 percent of wired seniors surf for health and medical information when they go online.

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