How to talk to your doctor

Your doctor can help you if you have questions about your health. When you find and treat kidney damage early, you can often prevent it from getting worse.

Here are some tips to help you work with your doctor before, during and after your appointment.

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Before your appointment
  • Write a list of questions and concerns you'd like to discuss with your medical team.
  • Pack a notebook and pen to write down answers to your questions.
  • Bring a list of all the medicines you take, even ones that aren't prescribed or are prescribed by another doctor. Include what dose you take, the number of times per day that you take it, and why you take each medicine. If you take a certain medicine and you don't know why, ask your team!
  • Bring your insurance card, driver's license or ID, and a form of payment. Depending on your insurance policy, you may have to pay for a portion of the doctor's visit.
  • If you're visiting this doctor for the first time, plan to arrive early for your appointment, so that you have time to complete any paperwork required for new patients. Memorize your Social Security Number or write it down just to bring to this appointment.
  • Plan to have transportation to and from the appointment.
  • Ask a friend or family member to join you at the appointment. It's helpful to have emotional support, as well as to have someone else taking notes while the doctor talks.
Download our
printable guide to
talk to your doctor
Download and print this handy guide with specific questions and kidney health tracking to help you make the most of your next doctor's appointment.
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Before your appointment
  • Write a list of questions and concerns you'd like to discuss with your medical team.
  • Pack a notebook and pen to write down answers to your questions.
  • Bring a list of all the medicines you take, even ones that aren't prescribed or are prescribed by another doctor. Include what dose you take, the number of times per day that you take it, and why you take each medicine. If you take a certain medicine and you don't know why, ask your team!
  • Bring your insurance card, driver's license or ID, and a form of payment. Depending on your insurance policy, you may have to pay for a portion of the doctor's visit.
  • If you're visiting this doctor for the first time, plan to arrive early for your appointment, so that you have time to complete any paperwork required for new patients. Memorize your Social Security Number or write it down just to bring to this appointment.
  • Plan to have transportation to and from the appointment.
  • Ask a friend or family member to join you at the appointment. It's helpful to have emotional support, as well as to have someone else taking notes while the doctor talks.
During your appointment
  • Ask the questions on your list and write the answers in your notebook. If you have a friend or family member with you, ask him/her to take notes for you.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your doctor to explain anything you don't understand.
  • Tell your doctor about anything that has come up in your life or with your health since your last visit. Even things that seem like small issues to you could affect what type of treatment your doctor thinks is best for you.
  • Ask for phone numbers and clinic hours. Find out who to call if something happens after hours or on the weekend. Doctors' offices often have someone on call who can help you when the clinic is closed.
  • Use the Kidney Health Tracker to write down what your test results are and what they need to be.
After your appointment
  • Take all of your medicines exactly how your doctor tells you to. This is how they work best to help you!
  • Follow any other instructions your doctor gives you about how to take care of yourself until your next visit.
  • Call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns!