The Doctor Appointment Checklist

The Doctors Appointment Diagnosis Checklist – Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Doctor’s appointments are already stressful. But when you get bad news, it can be damn near impossible to get your thoughts in order. That’s why I want to give you the Doctor’s Appointment Diagnosis Checklist so that you never have to be annoyed when things start popping into your brain on the way home from a doctor’s visit. It’ll layout the essential questions to ask your doctor.

From my own experience, I think it’s so important to ask your doctor the right questions. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to come up with the relevant questions on the spot. You’re most likely upset, in shock, and not thinking straight. When the medical system forces you into a small 10-15 minute time frame, you have to be prepared to find out all the information you possibly can in this short period. So coming prepared with a pre-set checklist of questions can be a huge help and help you cope with whatever your doctor has to tell you.  

The Checklist

So what’s on the checklist? Here are a few questions that should set you up for making sure you get a basic understanding of how to move forward after your prognosis.

What questions to ask at your doctors’ appointment?

– How will this affect my life in the short term?
– What is the long term prognosis?
– How to track changes going forward?
– How effective is the prescribed medication?
– What are the side effects of the given medicine?
– Are there possible alternatives?
– What lifestyle changes could help the situation?
– How can I find out more information?

Ok, so I’ve just given you a list of questions. Let’s walk through each of these points, one by one, and provide an overview of information to gather. And I’ll explain why these are important questions to ask your doctor.

Important: Remember to take notes in the doctor’s office. You will most likely be bombarded with information and have a lot of medical jargon thrown at you! It’s already hard to remember this stuff, especially if you receive bad news. If you don’t feel you could take notes or are incapable of doing so, ask a family member or friend to come along to take notes for you. 

Breaking Down the Questions

How Will This Affect My Life In the Short Term?

You may already be living with your diagnosis, but it’s still important to ask what you should be expecting in the short term. It can be easy to overlook symptoms or mistake symptoms with totally different causes. 

It’s also helpful and essential to know what to look for in the short term to help you track changes as you move forward.

What is the Long Term Diagnosis?

In some cases, your diagnosis may be hard to handle. All the same, knowing what your future holds is important. However, it’s important to remember that a diagnosis isn’t always set in stone. We can reverse Heart Disease and Type II Diabetes can be eliminated. Sometimes a diagnosis is purely a projection by a professional doctor and we should ask some questions at this point. We are all unique individuals and also have the power to change outcomes.

How to Track Changes Going Forward?

Keeping a log of how an issue is progressing is crucial information. It can help you decide when to adjust medicines, make firm lifestyle choices, or indicate when to check back in with the doctor.

Tracking these changes by keeping a personal diary and maintaining lab records makes it possible to monitor your diagnosis without relying on doctor’s visits. Part of the tracking involves what to look for, so you’ll have to learn test ranges of labs and patterns in the diaries. 

Tracking these results will become invaluable over time when being able to give accurate information about the progression or remission of the given issue.

Prescribed medicine

How Effective is The Prescribed Medication?

When prescribed medicine, first make sure you need it. I know it sounds stupid, but too often, drugs have side effects that are not worth the potential gain. 

Look at antibiotics, for example. You could replace anti-biotics with candy the way the current medical system uses them. Studies have shown that up to 30% of the prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary and likely cause damage to the individual taking them. Not to mention the future issues that are potentially befalling the human race because of oversubscribing antibiotics.

I am not saying that medicines aren’t necessary – because they definitely are! Sometimes they are imperative for your health. Just understand what medications you are taking and why. 

What Are the Side Effects of Medicine?

As a followup to the previous point, it’s essential to find out the side effects of any medicine you’ll be taking. I want to expand on this question by asking:

  • When should you start becoming concerned about any side effects?
  • At what point do you cease taking medicine?

Basically, find out how long you are expecting any ill effects to last from the medicine and whether there is any way to lessen the impact.

Are there Possible Alternatives?

Unfortunately, doctors and medical professionals are used to patients wanting an easy fix with medicine rather than fixing the root problem. Sometimes the simplest solution is to mask the symptoms so the individual can get on with their life in the short-term instead of fixing the long-term issue.

The easy fix is not always the best fix. I’ve found through my journey that to create a better life in the long term, I had to do the hard things in the short-term, which includes finding alternative solutions to quick-fix medication.

A great example of this is Type 2 diabetes. Many doctors would look to control the situation with insulin and anti-diabetic medicine. But in most cases, the condition is entirely reversible with lifestyle choices. The issue here is that the medical professionals are not even offering this information, or if they do, it’s an afterthought, not a primary solution!

Healthy food choices

What Lifestyle Changes Could Help the Situation?

Expanding on the previous point, lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. It should be evident that if you change the input (lifestyle), you transform the output (illnesses). 

What if I told you that lifestyle choices affect ALL (yes, I said ALL) illnesses. Take food quality and quantity, for example, by eating foods that nourish your body, and by eating the right amount, your body will be under less stress, allowing you to heal from illness. Other examples could be taking time to yourself, meditating, exercising, being social, it’s incredible the effects of a positive mind can have on illness outcomes.

It does not mean that there is a lifestyle cure for everything. However, it can mean there is a controllable impact that you can have on your health through lifestyle choices. 

Even if lifestyle choices can have a positive impact on 1% of your health, that is still 1% better than before. That 1% can make all the difference in your life and encourage you to make further changes and compound the results.

How Can I Find Out More Information?

This question may be last, but I feel these are also the most important. It’s all about education. How can you educate yourself to understand your situation better? More knowledge means more power and having power in your life gives you control. And who doesn’t want as much control over their health as humanly possible? So my advice for you going forward in your diagnosis or illness is to:

  • Ask for resources. Are there any online or self-help groups that you could attend?
  • Specifically, ask for keywords relating to the issue to make it easier to search at a later date.
  • Collate all the answers from the previous questions and specifically ask how you could find out more about each topic. 
  • Ask for book recommendations, inspirational stories, specialized medical professionals in the field, online medical journals, or any other sources that have more information for you to read and research. 
  • Do your research on your diagnosis. You know your body best, so you should also be well-informed about what’s happening to it. 


With this set of questions and analysis, I hope you can influence the outcome of your next visit to the doctor. Being prepared and ready will allow you to gather a ton more information than you might have otherwise. Hopefully, coming prepared, asking the right questions, and getting answers will help you have a positive outcome on the situations you face. 

I’d love to know what questions you ask in the doctor’s office! Comment below and share the ideas! 

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Nick helps aspiring runners learn how to take a healthful approach to their training and races so they don’t crash and burn before they achieve their goals.

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