What Doctors Wish You’d Ask Them

Write these down and ask them at your next doctor’s appointment. (Photo: Getty Images)

If you’re going to see your doctor, chances are it’s because of a specific reason. Maybe you have a pain that just won’t go away. Or maybe you’re sneezing and sniffling, and are worried it’s something a little more serious than a bad cold.

But aside from asking about the ills that brought you in to the doc’s office in the first place, there are other questions doctors wish you’d ask. Questions that pertain to your, or your family’s, overall health — and not just the ache of the moment.

Below, six doctors in different fields share what they wish you’d ask them:

(Photo: Getty Images)

“’What are the good fats I should be eating?’Where should I go to learn to cook?’What’s the difference between grass-fed meat and factory-farmed meats?’What do you think I am putting into or onto my body that is harming me?’”

- Frank Lipman, M.D., integrative and functional medicine expert and author of The New Health Rules

(Photo: Getty Images)

“’How can I get started with an exercise program?’”

- Steven Nissen, MD, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic

Related: 8 Ways To Fit In A Workout

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There’s a slogan that ‘an educated consumer is your best customer.’ I wish patients would ask: ‘What do you recommend for me that maximizes my chances of being healthy with minimal risk?’ With regard to testing and screening, it would be great if patients knew the name of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and ask if there are any screening tests that the task force recommends for them. The doctor will be thinking of this, but sometimes it falls through the cracks. Another key question for most patients: ‘How can I promote health in my family?’ Very often the family is overlooked. I’d also like young people to have a longer view: ‘What are the things I can do now to optimize my health in the long run?’”

- David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author of Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well 

(Photo: Getty Images)

I wish they would ask me more questions about their children’s sleep. A lot of them think their children sleep fine, but parents don’t realize how much sleep children need. The National Sleep Foundation just came out with new sleep recommendations for everybody, especially for kids. I think it will surprise people how much sleep kids really need. I would say the childhood obesity epidemic is absolutely related in part to the lack of sleep.”

- Michael Breus, PhD, sleep expert and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep 

Related: The Definitive Amount Of Sleep Needed At Every Age

(Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr)

“‘What vaccines should I be getting?’ The HPV vaccine [which protects against cervical cancer] being a huge one, and I think we’re not getting the word out to young women that it’s something they need to be getting. Also, ‘what should I be doing to prepare my body for pregnancy in the future?’ You don’t think about it until you’re ready to get pregnant, but women should be thinking about it in their 20s, even if they’re not ready to get pregnant yet. You want to take folic acid and protect yourself against infections that make it difficult to get pregnant, like STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia that can cause damage to the fallopian tubes and cause infertility.”

- Hilda Hutcherson, MD, gynecologist and associate dean of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and author of What Your Mother Never Told You About S-E-X 

(Photo: Getty Images)

“‘When should I come back for my next skin cancer check?’ ‘When should I have my kid’s skin check?’ As soon as you see a mole or brown freckle. ‘How can I get my kid to put on sunscreen?’”

- Neal Schultz, MD, New York City-based dermatologist and founder of DermTv.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz 

Up Next: The Weirdest Things Doctors Get Asked