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Stay focused when talking to your doctor

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ATLANTA -

If you've been to the doctor lately, you know it can be a little unnerving. Your physician is in a rush, and you're trying to remember all the questions you wanted to ask. There are some simple ways to make the most of your next appointment.

Most of us only get about 15 minutes of face time with our physician. Dr. Anthony Ferrara says there is no need to worry.

"First of all, 15 minutes is plenty of time to get your story across," said Ferrara.

The North Atlanta Urgent Care physician says you just need to stay focused on one complaint, not five.   

"That makes it much easier than if you've multiple complaints. It makes it harder to get the whole story in," advised Ferrara.

It's also easier if you write down what you want to ask the doctor ahead of time.

"People get nervous. They forget, and a lot of times afterwards they say, ‘Oh, I forgot to tell you one more thing,'" said Ferrara. "A lot of times if you know you have only 15 minutes and it's important to you, write them down, if you have concerns. I can listen to you, but also look at the list."

Ferrara says right out of the gate, cut to the chase.

"What is it you're worried about? By telling it up front, a lot of times that will make things go by faster," Ferrara said.
 
If you're seeing a new physician, bring your prescriptions in a bag.

"Rather than trying to guess, is it the right pill or the purple pill I take. Or, I have this disease, but I don't remember which one," said explained Ferrara. "Medications can be part of the problem. Or if the doctor has to prescribe medications it makes it much easier to see if there are any interactions, or overlap."

Finally, Ferrara says shoot straight with your doctor.
 
"Because a lot of times they leave information out that the patient might feel is embarrassing, they don't want to tell.  It just makes it hard to get the full diagnosis. Nothing can shock me. And not just me, any physician. We've heard it all," said Ferrara.

A lot of us lie, or at least fudge the truth, with our doctor. We say we consume two or three drinks a week when we really drink two or three a night. We say we don't smoke, when we do, or we say we exercise, when we don't. Ferrara says come clean because your doctor may be able to help you get back on track.

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