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How to Make Sure Your Doctor Understands Your Medical Condition

Your doctor isn't just a health care provider. She's also part detective, using all the clues and evidence you provide to arrive at a diagnosis and then using that determination to develop an appropriate treatment protocol. It's not always a straightforward process, and it's important that you provide as much information as you can to facilitate arriving at a suitable diagnosis and treatment.

1. Write it Down

Before you visit your doctor, give some thought to what you're experiencing and what information the doctor might need to know. Dr. Kecia Gaither, an OB-GYN and director of perinatal services at NYC Health+Hospitals/Lincoln in Bronx, New York, says that includes being as detailed and thorough as possible in your reporting of your medical history, surgical history and any allergies to medications.

Being detailed in explaining your symptoms and how they're impacting your life is also critical. In describing symptoms, Gaither says she likes "for patients to tell me how the symptom affects their daily activities of living. For instance, does it impair sleeping? Walking? Does it occur with eating? That type of information is helpful."