Questions you should ask your doctor

  1. What is my blood pressure? Is it OK?
  2. Have I been checked for diabetes?
  3. How is my cholesterol? Is that OK?
  4. Am I due for any vaccinations?
  5. Do I need any cancer screening, such as PSA, colonoscopy, mammogram, pap smear?
  6. How is my weight? What is my body mass index (BMI)?
  7. Here is my medication list–does it match yours?
  8. What is my overall cardiac risk? (e.g. see this link).
  9. How do I quit smoking?


  1. D. C. Sessions

    Insert standard BMI rant here. BMI may correlate to overall risk, but unfortunately the increase with height isn’t really under individual control. For instance, my chance to be 5’7″ tall expired more than 40 years ago.

  2. CanuckRob

    These are things my doctor does for me (I am 55). I assume that there is a correlation between having these tests and early dectection of problems and that this should result in imporoved health outcomes and, in the long run, less need for major procedures (like bypass surgery). Do you know if there are any studies relating having these tests done and universal healthcare? In other words do patients in countries with universal health care make more use of these types of early tests and as a result reduce future health care costs?

  3. Screw BMI. Get your treadmill performance checked.

  4. Regarding number nine, if any patient of mine asked it that way I’d be forced to answer with “stop putting cigarettes in your mouth.”

  5. Regarding BMI… the primary care doc who taught my nutrition class said that he measures waist-to-hip ratio instead, since that correlates better with obesity-related diseases.

  6. minimalist

    10. Can I… Can I have a hug?

  7. My doctor’s answer to question 9 would have to be “you’ll need to start smoking first”.

  8. This is such an important list to take with you to your doctor. Too many people simply go when they don’t feel well, and they don’t ask any questions… Ever. They just assume their doctor knows everything about them, or that their doctor will have time to research each patient before each appointment.

    …As for #9, I just did this a little over a month ago, using the patch and an unbelievable amount of support from my friends and family. I didn’t even think to involve my doctor and I realize now that I probably should have.

  9. Questions:

    Should I have a regular doctor?

    What kind should s/he be?

    How the heck do I find one?

  10. Rogue Epidemiology

    Here’s a question to ask parents of patients over the age of 13: Can you please go have a seat in the waiting room?

    As soon as mom’s gone, you assure the kid that all information is confidential. Then ask about drug use and sexual activity. Ask the kid of s/he has any questions about drugs or sex. And don’t be afraid to tell the kid. Otherwise, they’ll just get their info from their friends…or worse: Yahoo! Answers.

  11. BMI is a good “population” measure… and most individuals with poor BMIs are only fooling themselves trying to convince themselves that they are not fat, but

    if BMI is high, and you think you are picture of fitness, then have the talk with the doc. many ways to do body fat measures and risk assessments.

    of course what I like is a doc that asks me questions:

    can your pee a strong stream

    any problems getting it up

    any blood in your stools

    any general complaints etc.

    I like my doc because we have a nice 10-15 minute conversation while he does the “rounds” around my body. and beside my BP I bet the conversation tells him and me more about my health than anything he measure or examines. Too bad he is leaving his practise…its such a pain finding docs in rural america.

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