Know Your Health

Tips for Better Doctor Visits and Care

Allergy & Asthma Network’s Not One More Life Trusted Messengers project aims to empower with practical information and guidance so you can take charge of your health. It’s important to understand factors that impact your health so you can better manage your health in partnership with your doctor.

Factors That Impact Your Heath

Graphic of a black woman standing while there are lines that point to her that say: relationships, neighborhood, education, healthy foods, health insurance, work. These are all factors that impact health.

For people of color, systemic bias can

  • limit access to healthcare
  • cause delays in diagnosis and treatment
  • increase your risk of getting sick or dying from preventable and treatable diseases
  • result in worse outcomes during disease outbreaks like COVID-19

This is wrong. That’s why we’re giving you specific tips and questions to ask when you meet with doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. If they understand the factors that are both in and out of your control, they can help you get and stay healthy.

Know Your Health

Information I should share with my doctor at each visit

Cartoon graphic of a red cross sign for health Current Illnesses
or conditions

Graphic of a prescription bottleList of medicines
I take (prescription & over-the-counter)
Graphic of a magnifying glass over a cartoon body with green dots of where their symptoms appearMy symptoms
(when they started, how they feel)
Cartoon graphic of a Black doctorUpdates
from other doctors taking care of me
Graphic of the letter 'i' to signify 'information'Information
about my life that may impact my health

Types of questions I should ask my doctor during each visit

  • Ask what your vital signs are (blood pressure, weight, temperature), and if they are in the normal range.
  • If your doctor orders tests, ask why they are being ordered and how you should prepare for them.
  • Ask about the benefits and potential side effects of prescribed medicines and how to take and store them.
  • If your doctor recommends a treatment, ask why and if it is the only treatment option available.
  • If there are two or more treatment options, ask about the pros and cons of each and which is right for you.
  • Ask for a visit summary and patient education materials (pamphlets, videos) to learn more about a diagnosis.
  • Ask when you should schedule a follow-up visit. Make an appointment prior to leaving the doctor’s office.
Photo of Black woman wearing a medical mask. She's dressed in a sweater and hat. There's a yellow background behind her.

Tips for better doctor visits

Icon of a document Before a visit, write down your symptoms and questions. Bring all medicines you take with you.
Icon of a clockDon’t be rushed. Go over your questions at your own pace and be clear about what you need.
Icon of hands shaking hello to each otherBe honest about your health and habits so your doctor can provide the best care.
Icon of pencil taking notesTake notes during the visit. If helpful, ask someone to come with you to write down important information.
Icon of cell phoneAlways follow up. Call your doctor to ask more questions or get test results after your visit.
Icon of scales of justiceIf you are discriminated against during your visit, report it to your state’s medical board or health department.

To learn more about your healthcare rights and protections, visit Health Care Law Protections