How to make the most of your doctor visit and what to expect
Preparing for your appointment
Dermatologist appointments can be brief, and there’s often a lot to cover, so it’s a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to let you know what to expect from your doctor. What you can do:
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs that you’re taking. You can even take the original bottles and a written list of the dosages and directions with you.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to speak up when you don’t understand something your doctor says.
- List your questions from “most important” to “least important” in case your time with your doctor runs out. For psoriasis, some basic questions you might ask your doctor include:
- What might be causing the signs and symptoms?
- Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- What is the best course of action?
- Is this condition temporary or chronic?
- Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
- What are the alternatives to the approach that you’re suggesting?
- What skin-care routines do you recommend to improve my symptoms?
- Questions regarding treatment may include:
- What treatment would be right for me based on the severity of my psoriasis, and how would this choice affect my lifestyle?
- What are the key benefits of this treatment?
- What are the possible short-term and long-term side effects?
- Will I have to use this medication on a continuous or intermittent basis?
- Is there any chance of my disease worsening or rebounding with this medication?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will probably ask you several questions. Having your answers prepared will give you more time to go over any points you want to discuss further. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- How often do you experience these symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Is there a family history of psoriasis? If so, who has it?