Approaching your doctor as a partner in your healthcare can result in more successful diagnoses and treatments. Be prepared and open-minded, but know that you don’t have to agree with everything the doctor proposes.

Partner with your doctor by being informed about your health. If you have ongoing health issues or something new comes up, keep a health diary of your concerns, symptoms and their timing, your diet, exercise and water intake. Also, note your response(s) to new medications.

Prepare a list of your questions and concerns ahead of time and take it with you. Please do not leave the office until you can tick off all of them. Instead, be willing to ask questions relating to your care, your expectations and the doctor's expectations. You may find them to be different, and clarifying it can result in a better treatment plan.

Your doctor may not know you are confused or got lost during their explanation. They may use words of which you don’t know the meaning. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification, a more straightforward explanation or more information. Speaking up can help to avoid some dangerous complications.

When a prescribed a new medication, before you leave the office, be sure you are clear about dosage instructions and potential side effects. Know who to contact if you have questions or you experience adverse side effects.

Your doctor will make an effort to tailor your care carefully. Once you are clear about your doctor’s plan and agree with it, follow the plan and document your experience(s) in your health diary.

Migraine is a puzzle. You provide the pieces, and the doctor will help you put them together.

Stay tuned for more in the next issue.

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