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Education and Training

Guidelines for Reporting New or Changed Symptoms

It is especially important for you to think about, and even write down, symptoms for any new medical condition or change in the way you are feeling. The following points may help you to describe your condition. Please use the PACE Guide Sheet you printed to write down the answers to any points that help you to describe how you are feeling.

  • Do you experience pain? If so, where?
  • Is the pain constant, or does it come and go?
  • Is it a sharp pain or an ache?
  • When did you first experience these symptoms?
  • How often and when do you experience the symptoms? For example, before or after eating, when you get up in the morning, only after exercise?
  • How long do the symptoms last (e.g., a few seconds, minutes, days)?
  • Does your discomfort increase with certain activity? If so, what activities?
  • Have you taken any prescribed or over-the-counter medication for the problem? If so, what have you taken? Did you feel better? How did you take the medication(s), for example, how much and how often?
  • Have you used other therapies for the problem, such as vitamins, massages, acupuncture, physical therapy? If so, what and with what result?
  • Does anything you do help this condition (for example, eating or not eating certain foods, doing or avoiding certain activity)? If so, what?
  • Have you seen a doctor before about this condition? If so, when did you see the doctor? What was his/her name? How was the condition treated? Did you feel better?
  • Are any of your symptoms related to problems, worries, or stress about events in your personal life at home, work, or elsewhere? If so, please share your thoughts about these matters with your doctor, as they may be important to your condition and how to treat it.
  • Are you concerned that your symptoms may be a sign of a particular illness like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes? If so, be sure to express this to the doctor and state the reasons why you are concerned.

Table of Contents

Presenting Detailed Information
Guidelines for Reporting New or Changed Symptoms
Tips About Medications
Medication Record Form
Stating What You Expect
Asking Questions
Sample Questions About Diagnosis and Prognosis
Sample Questions About Tests or Procedures
Sample Questions About Medications
Sample Questions About Other Treatments
A List of All Sample Questions
Checking Your Understanding of Information
Expressing Concerns
Tips About Making Appointments
Tips About Medical Records