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by Center for Personal Finance editors



Are you comfortable talking with your physician and nurse? Knowing what questions to ask and how to make the most of the limited time you have with health-care providers can help you maintain good health and wellness well into your retirement years.

The National Women's Health Information Center, Fairfax, Va., recommends that you:

    * Make a list. Before your appointment, jot down any questions or concerns.

    * Describe symptoms. When did they start? What triggers them? What makes you feel better?

    * Be honest. Share information about your diet, physical activity, smoking, drug—prescribed and otherwise—and alcohol use.

    * Give an allergy update. And mention if you're being treated by another doctor.

    * Don't hold back. Talk about sensitive topics and get answers to all your questions, including those related to test results.

    * Be proactive. Ask about lifestyle changes and recommended treatment options, and how long treatments will last. Ask about side effects and cost. And ask if the treatment is covered by your insurance.

    * Bring a family member or friend. Have someone else take notes, offer moral support, and help you remember key information from the discussion.

Published July 30, 2008

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