Talking with Your Doctor
Frequently Asked Questions
19. What should I consider before I make a decision about a medical treatment?
You will benefit most from a treatment when you know what is happening and are involved in making decisions. Make sure you understand what your treatment involves and what it will or will not do. Have the doctor give you directions in writing and feel free to ask questions.
Discuss choices. There are different ways to manage many health conditions, especially chronic conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol. Ask what your options are.
Discuss risks and benefits. Once you know your options, ask about the pros and cons of each one. Find out what side effects might occur, how long the treatment would continue, and how likely it is that the treatment will work for you.
Consider your own values and circumstances. When thinking about the pros and cons of a treatment, don’t forget to consider its impact on your overall life. For instance, will one of the side effects interfere with a regular activity that means a lot to you? Is one treatment choice expensive and not covered by your insurance? Doctors need to know about these practical matters and can work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.
Questions to ask about treatment:
- Are there any risks associated with the treatment?
- How soon should treatment start? How long will it last?
- Are there other treatments available?
- How much will the treatment cost? Will my insurance cover it?