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Questions to Ask the Doctor

En español | Trips to the doctor’s office can leave you harried and overwhelmed. As a result, important questions can be forgotten. Here is a list of suggested questions to consider bringing with you to your loved one’s next appointment.

See also: How to talk effectively with health care providers.


Here are the symptoms my mother is experiencing. What could be causing them?


  • What illness or condition does/could my loved one have?
  • How is the condition or illness diagnosed?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What is the most effective treatment?
  • What are the causes of this condition or illness?
  • What is likely to happen with and without treatment?
  • Are there common complications associated with this illness or condition?


  • What is the name of the medicine you are prescribing?
  • What is its benefit?
  • Is a generic drug available?
  • What are the risks and side effects?
  • How often should my loved one take the drug?
  • How long should he take the drug?
  • What foods, other medicines or activities should he avoid while taking this drug?
  • Could this medicine interact with any medications he’s currently taking?

Diet and Exercise

  • Are there foods that my loved one should avoid?
  • Should my loved one eat more of a certain type of food?
  • Do you recommend vitamins or supplements?
  • How often should my loved one exercise?
  • What types of exercise are safe?
  • What types of exercise are not safe?


  • Are tests necessary?
  • What will they show?
  • What preparation is needed?
  • When will we get the results?
  • What do the test results mean?

Next: Questions about costs»


  • Why does my loved one need surgery?
  • How is the surgery performed?
  • Where will the surgery be performed?
  • Are there alternatives to surgery?
  • What risks are associated with this operation?
  • What kind of anesthesia will be used?
  • What is the average recovery time?
  • How much experience do you have performing this type of surgery?


  • What costs can we expect?
  • Will my loved one’s insurance cover this test or treatment?
  • What can we do to reduce costs?

Written Instructions

  • Do you have any written information that we can take home?

Follow-Up Care

  • Is a follow-up visit necessary?
  • If so, when should we follow up?
  • If we think of questions later, how can we contact you?

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